The Happy Prince and the Selfish Giant - Oscar Wilde

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PART ONE

The Ruby

On a tall column in the city there is a statue of the Happy Prince. He is covered with gold. He has two blue sapphires for eyes. On his sword there is a big red ruby. He is very beautiful.

Everyone in the city likes the statue of the Happy Prince.

'Look at the Happy Prince,' says a mother to her little boy. 'He never cries. He is always happy.'

One night a little Swallow flies over the city. His friends are in Egypt and he wants to go there too. He sees the statue on the tall column.

'Oh, what a beautiful statue! I have a golden bedroom. I can sleep here, near the Prince's feet,' he says to himself. He puts his head under his wing. Suddenly a big drop of water falls on him. Then another drop falls.

'How strange! There aren't any clouds in the sky. But it's raining!'

Another drop falls and the Swallow looks up. The Happy Prince is crying. There are tears on his golden face. His face is very beautiful. The little Swallow is sad.

'Who are you?' he asks.

'I am the Happy Prince.'

'Why are you crying?' asks the Swallow.

'The people in the city call me the Happy Prince. In the castle I was happy. Everything there was beautiful. But now I am on this high column and I can see all the misery of my city.

My heart is made of metal but I cry.

'Look over there! There is a poor house. One of the windows is open. I can see a woman. She is very poor. There is a boy in bed. He is not well. He wants some oranges. His mother has nothing to give him except water. He is crying. Swallow, little Swallow, can you take her the ruby from my sword?'

'I must go to Egypt,' says the Swallow. 'My friends are there. They fly up and down the Nile river. They talk to the flowers. They sleep in the tomb of the great King.'

'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' says the Prince, 'can you stay with me for one night and be my messenger? The boy is very ill and his mother is very sad.'

The Happy Prince is sad. The little Swallow is sorry. 'It is very cold here,' he says, 'but I can stay with you for one night and be your messenger.'

'Thank you, little Swallow,' says the Prince.

The little Swallow takes out the red ruby from the Prince's sword. Then he flies away with the ruby. He flies over the houses of the city. He passes by the church and sees statues of white angels. He passes by the palace and hears lovely music. He flies over the river and sees the ships. At last he comes to the poor house and looks inside. The sick boy is in bed and his mother is sleeping.

The little Swallow puts the ruby on the table.

Then he flies back to the Happy Prince and says, 'The night is cold, but I am warm now.'

PART TWO

The Sapphire

The next day the little Swallow has a bath in the river. There is a professor walking over the bridge. 'What a strange thing. A swallow in winter,' says the professor. 'Tonight I go to Egypt,' says the Swallow. So he visits the public monuments of the city. When the other winter birds see him they are surprised and say, 'What a beautiful bird!' This makes the little Swallow very happy.

In the evening the Swallow looks at the Happy Prince and says, 'I am going to Egypt.'

'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' says the Prince, 'can you stay with me another night?'

'My friends are waiting for me in Egypt. Tomorrow, they are flying up the river.

They are visiting the statue of the god Memnon. At midday the yellow lions go to the water and drink. They have big green eyes and a terrible roar.'

'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' says the Prince, 'I can see a young man in an attic. He is a writer. He can't write because he is too cold and hungry.'

'Well, I can stay with you another night,' says the Swallow. 'Must I take him another ruby?'

'I haven't got a ruby,' says the Prince. 'I only have my eyes. They are made of blue sapphires. Take one of the sapphires to him. He can sell it and buy food and firewood. Then he can finish his book.'

'Dear Prince,' says the Swallow, 'I can't do that.' The Swallow begins to cry.

'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' says the Prince, 'do as I say.'

So the Swallow takes out the Prince's eye and flies to the writer's attic. When the writer sees the sapphire on his desk, he is very happy. 'Now I can finish my book!' says the young man.

The next day the little Swallow flies to the port. He looks at all the ships. In the evening he returns to the Happy Prince.

'I am here to say goodbye,' he says. 'I am going to Egypt!'

'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' says the Prince. 'Can you stay with me another night?'

'It is winter and it is cold here. In Egypt the sun is warm. My friends are making a nest. Dear Prince, I must leave you. Next spring I can bring you a ruby and a sapphire.'

'In the street below,' says the Happy Prince, 'there is a little match girl. Look, her matches are falling in a puddle of water! Now she can't sell them. She is crying. She is poor and has no shoes. Take my other eye and give it to her.'

'I can stay with you another night,' says the Swallow. 'But I can't take out your other eye, because then you can't see.'

'Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,' says the Prince, 'do as I say.'

So the Swallow takes out the Prince's other eye. He flies to the little match girl and puts the sapphire in her hand.

'What a lovely piece of glass!' says the little girl. She laughs and runs home.

The Swallow returns to the Prince. 'You can't see now. I want to stay with you always.'

'No, little Swallow,' says the poor Prince. 'You must go to Egypt.'

'I want to stay with you always,' says the Swallow.

PART THREE

The Broken Heart

The next day the Swallow tells the Prince stories about strange places. 'In Egypt there are red birds called ibises. They stand by the river Nile and catch fish. There is a Sphinx, too. It is very old and lives in the desert. It knows everything. There is a big green snake. It sleeps in a palm tree.'

'Dear little Swallow,' says the Prince, 'you tell me about marvelous things. But misery is the biggest mystery. Fly over the city and tell me what you see.'

So the little Swallow flies over the city. He sees rich people in beautiful houses. He sees poor people in dark streets. He sees hungry children with white faces. They are very cold. He flies back to the Prince and tells him everything.

'I am covered with gold,' says the Prince. 'You must take it off. Then we can give the gold to the poor.'

The Swallow takes off the gold, leaf by leaf. He takes it to the poor. Now the Prince looks dull and grey. The children's faces are happy. They laugh and play in the streets.

'We've got bread now!' they say.

It is winter and it is very cold. There are some little boys skating on the ice. They are wearing red caps.

The poor little Swallow is very cold. He does not want to leave the Prince. He loves him very much.

'Goodbye, dear Prince. I am dying,' says the poor little Swallow. He kisses the Happy Prince and dies near his feet.

At that moment there is a strange noise inside the statue. The Prince's metal heart is breaking. It is certainly very cold.

The next morning the Mayor of the city looks at the statue.

'Dear me! The Prince looks very ugly!'

'Yes! He looks very bad,' say the Mayor's friends. They always agree with the Mayor.

'There is a dead bird near his feet! Birds must not die here!'

So they pull down the statue of the Happy Prince. They melt the statue in a furnace. But the broken heart does not melt.

'How strange!' says a worker. 'The broken heart does not melt in the furnace. We must throw it away.'

The worker takes the broken heart and puts it near the dead Swallow.

'Bring me the two most precious things in the city,' says God to his angel.

The angel brings him the broken heart and the dead bird.

'Very well!' says God. 'In my garden of Paradise this little bird can sing and the Happy Prince can live forever.'

THE SELFISH GIANT

PART ONE

Winter

Every afternoon the children play in the Giant's garden. It is a big, lovely garden with green grass. Beautiful flowers grow there. There are twelve peach trees with delicate pink blossoms. The birds sit on the trees and sing sweet songs. The children listen to the birds.

'How happy we are here!' the children say.

The Giant is away. He is visiting his friend the ogre. After seven years the Giant returns home. When he arrives he sees the children in his garden. They are playing.

'What are you doing here?' he says in a loud voice. The children are very scared and run away.

'This is my garden! My garden!' says the Giant. 'Only I can play here.' So the Giant builds a high wall around the garden. Then he puts up a sign:

NO ONE MUST ENTER!

He is a very selfish Giant.

Now the poor children have no place to play. They can't play on the road. There are big stones on the road and the children don't like them.

After school, the children walk near the high wall. They talk about the beautiful garden inside.

It is spring and there are little blossoms and little birds everywhere. But in the garden of the Selfish Giant it is still winter. The birds do not sing there because there are no children. There are no blossoms on the trees.

A beautiful flower puts its head out of the grass. It looks for the children. It sees the sign and goes back into the ground. It goes to sleep.

Only the Snow and the Frost are happy. 'Spring doesn't come to this garden,' they say. 'We can live here all year!'

The Snow covers the grass with her big white cloak. The Frost paints the trees silver. The Snow and the Frost invite the North Wind to stay with them. The North Wind comes and blows all day in the garden. He has a big warm coat and a hat.

'This is a wonderful place,' says the North Wind. 'We must invite the Hail.'

So the Hail comes. He is dressed in grey. For three days he runs around the garden. Then he dances on the roof. There is a lot of hail.

'Why doesn't the Spring come?' asks the Selfish Giant. He sits at the window and looks at his cold, white garden.

The Spring never comes and the Summer never comes. The Autumn gives fruit to all gardens. But it doesn't give any fruit to the Selfish Giant's garden.

'He is too selfish,' the Autumn says.

So, it is always winter there. The North Wind, the Hail, the Frost and the Snow live in the Selfish Giant's garden.

PART TWO

Spring

One morning the Giant hears some lovely music. 'It must be the King's musicians!' says the Giant.

A little bird is singing a lovely song. The Hail stops dancing on the roof. The North Wind stops blowing. There is a sweet perfume in the air.

'I think Spring is here at last,' says the Giant. He goes to the window and looks outside. What does he see?

He sees something wonderful! There is a little hole in the wall. Now the children can enter the garden. There is a little child on every tree. The trees have beautiful blossoms. They are very happy to have the children. The birds are flying in the sky and singing. The flowers are laughing. There is happiness in the garden.

But it is still winter in one corner of the garden. In that corner there is a little boy. He is very small and he can't climb the tree. He is walking around the tree and crying. The tree is covered with snow. The North Wind is blowing.

'Climb up, little boy!' says the Tree. But the boy is too small.

When he sees the little boy the Giant's heart melts.

'I am very selfish!' he says. 'Now I know why the Spring does not come here. I must put that little boy on the tree. Then I must knock down the wall. My garden must be the children's playground forever.'

The Giant opens his door and goes out into the garden. When the children see the Giant they are afraid. They run away. The Winter returns to the garden.

The little boy does not run away. He is crying. The Giant takes him in his big hand and puts him on a branch of the tree. Suddenly, there are blossoms on the tree. The birds come and sing. The little boy is very happy. He kisses the Giant.

When the children see this, they come back to the garden. The Spring comes back too.

'It is your garden now, little children,' says the Giant. He takes a big axe and knocks down the wall.

PART THREE

White Blossoms

At twelve o'clock people go to the market. They see the Giant playing with the children in the beautiful garden.

The children play all day. In the evening they say goodbye to the Giant.

'Where is the little boy?' asks the Giant.

'We don't know,' answer the children.

'You must tell him to come tomorrow,' says the Giant.

'We don't know where he lives,' say the children.

The Giant is very sad and says, 'He is my little friend and I want to see him.'

Every afternoon, after school, the children play with the Giant. The Giant is very kind to the children. But he wants to see his first little friend. 'Where is he?' he says to himself.

Many years pass and the Giant grows old. He can't play with the children. So he sits in an enormous armchair an watches the children play. He looks at his garden and says, 'I have many beautiful flowers, but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all.'

One winter morning the Giant looks out of his window. He does not hate the Winter now. He knows that the Spring is sleeping and that the flowers are resting.

Suddenly, he sees something marvelous. He looks and looks. He is very surprised. In a corner of the garden there is a tree with lovely white blossoms. Its branches are golden and there is silver fruit on them. Under this tree there is a little boy. It is the Giant's little friend.

The Giant runs to the garden. He is very happy. He runs across the green grass and goes to the child. When he is near the child he becomes angry. He says, 'What are these wounds?'

There are the marks of two nails on the child's hands and feet.

'What are these wounds?' says the Giant.

'These are the wounds of Love,' says the child.

'Who are you?' asks the Giant. The Giant has a strange sensation. He kneels in front of the little child.

The child smiles at the Giant and says, 'You let me play in your garden. Today you can come with me to my garden. It is Paradise.'

When the children come to the garden they find the Giant dead under a tree. He is covered with white blossoms.

— THE END -

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