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The Happy Prince and Other Stories (Puffin…

The Happy Prince and Other Stories (Puffin Classics) (edition 2009)

by Oscar Wilde (Author)

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6971124,662 (3.97)1
A haunting, magical fairy-tale collection, in which Oscar Wilde beautifully evokes (among others) The Happy Prince who was not so happy after all, The Selfish Giant who learned to love little children and The Star Child who did not love his parents as much as he should. Each of the stories shines with poetry and magic and will be enjoyed by children of every age. A perfect collection for children young and old, introduced by Markus Zusak, bestselling author of The Book Thief.… (more)
Title:The Happy Prince and Other Stories (Puffin Classics)
Authors:Oscar Wilde (Author)
Info:Puffin Books (2009), 192 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Happy Prince and Other Stories [Nine stories] by Oscar Wilde


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English (10)  Croatian (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Wilde's anthropomorphizing parables are beautifully written, emotionally moving and exquisitely poignant; praising the laudable virtues of the Catholic Church and warning of the shameful outcomes of the seven deadly sins. Themes of friendship and charity feature heavily with Christian overtones, which normally I find off-putting, but I didn't here. (I'm an athiest.) I think my favourite would have to be The Nightingale and the Rose. I'd definitely give this to children despite the unhappy endings.

The Happy Prince - Sins & Virtues: humility & charity

A formerly human prince is now a gold plated, jewel-encrusted statue watching over the city. His privileged human life didn't prepare him for the misery of the poor and unfortunate. Despite his nickname as the Happy Prince, he is sad and wishes to bring joy to those in need but is unable to as an inanimate object. A migrating swallow comes by on his way out of the city for his annual migration south to Egypt for the winter and is taken by the Prince's tears, feeling compelled to act out the statue's wishes by taking the Prince's decorative riches and delivering them to those in need. When the Prince is left blind and unadorned having given up his treasures for the greater good, the swallow vows to stay and become the Prince's faithful companion despite the deadly cold.

The Nightingale and the Rose - Sins & Virtues: lust & charity

A kind, charitable and beloved nightingale makes the ultimate sacrifice for what she thinks is love between a young man and a well-off young woman. If the man can produce a red rose out of season then the woman will dance with him. Only a heart's blood can create a red rose. The nightingale dies believing she has done a good deed, producing an everlasting legacy. The young lady lied and the rose is discarded without a second thought. What a waste.

The Selfish Giant - Sins & Virtues: greed & charity

A beautiful garden is the playground of children until a selfish giant shoos them out.

'The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom.'

Spring visits everywhere but the garden, leaving it barren and in the throes of winter. Until a child enters the garden and birdsong and blooming, perfumed flowers return stunning the giant into realising the repercussions of what he's done, and again allows children to play and share in the joys of his garden.

The Devoted Friend - Sins & Virtues: pride, acedia, sloth & diligence

A Linnet tries to teach a self-important Water-rat about the reciprocity of relationships via a story about an unequal friendship between two friends with radically different beliefs in what what friendship means. Hans is hardworking but poor. He is generous to a fault and never asks for anything in return. The other, is the wealthy and selfish Miller. His one generous act towards his so-called friend is used as blackmail for further favours, favours that Hans cannot afford to fulfil but does anyway because he doesn't want to let the Miller down. The Miller takes advantage and believes he's the best friend a man could ever have; sitting in his large, warm house sitting on his butt with a full stomach while Hans is impoverished and hungry, working his fingers to the bone, struggling to survive the harsh winter.

"Why, if little Hans came up here, and saw our warm fire, and our good supper, and our great cask of red wine, he might get envious, and envy is a most terrible thing, and would spoil anyone's nature. I certainly will not allow Hans' nature to be spoiled."

The Miller stands by while he works Hans into his grave. And the moral entirely escapes the Water-rat.

The Remarkable Rocket - Sins & Virtues: pride & vainglory

A vain and an unjustly boastful rocket believes he is better than every other firework and rebuts any indication that he is not with more prideful boasting, and is met with a most undignified end still under the delusion that he is the best of the rest.

*Available for free from Project Gutenberg. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
The stories include a wide variety of characters and settings, but all share a common thread – love, sacrifice, kindness, and the possible dangers of not having them. On the surface, these may appear as simple fairy tales to a child, but Wilde packed each story with heartfelt meaning. There are tales of true friendship, as seen in The Happy Prince, and false friendship, in The Devoted Friend. The same selfless love and sacrifice that is received with gladness in The Selfish Giant, is sadly spurned in The Nightingale and the Rose. If only the rocket in The Remarkable Rocket had read a few of these tales, his life might have been a great deal happier.

Wilde’s eloquent and poetic writing makes the stories a joy to read out loud. They are an excellent read for any little dreamers or future romantics you may know. However, a word of warning: expect to shed a few tears. ( )
  RGatti | Dec 17, 2013 |
Probably a mistake to read these for the first time as an adult. I couldn't avoid becoming tired of Oscar's languid boys, lolling about the place with their alabaster skin and violet eyes. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the female characters were so utterly lacking in any 3-dimensionality, often only described in one brief sentence, that it started to piss me off.

I can imagine having been moved by these if I'd read them as a child, or even as a self-absorbed melancholy adolescent: indeed they would resonate most strongly with the latter life-stage. At the very least I would have been less cynical.

Oscar wrote these for his sons, and they couldn't have been older than 6 when he published the second of the collections. I'm all for a bit of light-hearted gore in fairy-tales, but Wilde takes it over the top on just about every occasion.

The second collection (something something Pomegranates) seemed to hold together and work better as children's stories than the first, but holy MOLEY way to make small children cry with the ending of the last story, Oscar! Gor blimey!

Favourites were the one about the grumpy giant and his garden (where nobody died, I seem to recall--amazing, me think it! Edited to add: I was wrong.), 'The Fisherman and his Soul' (some gruesome, and methought gratuitous for a kiddy's story, killing as well as a few deaths) and 'The Star Child'... until that last sentence, which just made me laugh it was so bloody nasty! ( )
  Vivl | Nov 16, 2013 |
  GentleAnarchist | Sep 21, 2012 |
Read "The Selfish Giant", which is included in the stories. A lovely message from a wonderful writer. ( )
  ewdavies | Jul 30, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Oscar Wildeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bo, LarsIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mac Liammoir, MichealIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This edition contains nine stories (see description for exact contents) including the contents of the original The Happy Prince and other stories and A House of Pomegranates. Please do not combine with other collections unless the contents are the same. Thanks.
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A haunting, magical fairy-tale collection, in which Oscar Wilde beautifully evokes (among others) The Happy Prince who was not so happy after all, The Selfish Giant who learned to love little children and The Star Child who did not love his parents as much as he should. Each of the stories shines with poetry and magic and will be enjoyed by children of every age. A perfect collection for children young and old, introduced by Markus Zusak, bestselling author of The Book Thief.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141327790, 0141195193


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