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Why do the courtiers call the prince ‘the Happy Prince’? Is he really happy? What does he see all around him?
The courtiers called the prince ‘the Happy Prince’ because he was always happy. When he was alive, he did not know what tears were for he lived in a palace where sorrow was not allowed to enter. However, when he died and was made into a statue, he was not happy and tears flowed down his eyes on seeing the state of his city. He could see all the misery and ugliness of the city around him.
Why does the Happy Prince send a ruby for the seamstress? What does the swallow do in the seamstress’ house?
The Happy Prince sent a ruby for the seamstress as she was extremely poor and could not feed her child who was suffering from fever.
The swallow picked out the ruby from the Happy Prince’s sword and flew to the seamstress’ house. On reaching the house he saw that the seamstress had fallen asleep because she was tired and the little boy was tossing feverishly on the bed. The swallow laid the ruby on the table and flew gently round the bed, fanning the boy’s forehead with his wings. The boy immediately felt cool, thought the fever must be improving and fell off to sleep.
For whom does the prince send the sapphires and why?
The Happy Prince sent the sapphires for two people: the young writer across the city and the matchgirl.
The young writer was trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre. However, he was too cold to write anymore, there was no fire in the grate and hunger had made him faint. He sent the sapphire to the young playwright so that he could sell it to the jeweller, buy firewood, and finish his play. On seeing the sapphire, the young man felt appreciated and believed that he could finish his play.
The Happy Prince then saw a little matchgirl who was standing in the square just below him. She had let her matches fall in the gutter because of which they were all spoiled. The prince knew that her father would beat her if she did not bring home some money. When the swallow slipped the jewel into the palm of the little girl’s hand, she ran home happy and laughing.
What does the swallow see when it flies over the city?
When the swallow was flying over the city, it saw the rich making merry and the beggars sitting at the gates of the rich men’s houses. It flew into the dark lanes and saw the white faces of starving children. Under the archway of a bridge, it saw two little boys lying in each other’s arms trying to keep themselves warm in the rain. They were extremely hungry and on top of it, they were asked by the watchman to vacate the archway. The swallow went back and told the Prince about all it had seen.
Why did the swallow not leave the prince and go to Egypt?
When the Happy Prince had given both his sapphire eyes to the needy, the swallow decided to stay with him as he was blind. It did not leave for Egypt even though the Prince urged him to. When the snow came, followed by frost, the little swallow grew colder and colder. However, it did not leave the Prince as it loved him very much. It fed itself on the crumbs outside the bakery and kept itself warm by flapping its wings. However, at last, it knew it was going to die. It flew to the Prince, said goodbye, and asked if it could kiss his hand. It kissed the Prince’s lips and fell down dead at its feet.
What are the precious things mentioned in the story? Why are they precious?
There are two precious things in the story: the Prince’s leaden heart and the dead swallow.
They were both precious because they were kind and selfless. The Prince was sad as he saw so many people suffering in his city. He gave away his ruby, sapphires and all his gold to them. He did not think about himself for once. He was more concerned about the well-being of his people even though he was dead.
The little swallow was precious because it showed kindness by carrying the Prince’s messages to the poor and deciding to stay back for the Prince when he was blind, though he knew that he would face difficulties in winter, which was fast approaching. It actively participated in helping the poor and needy in the city. The swallow was so precious that when it died and fell down at the Prince’s feet, the Prince’s leaden heart broke into two.
When God asked one of his angels to bring him the two most precious things in the city, the angel brought him the leaden heart and the dead bird. God said that the little bird would forever sing in His garden of Paradise and the Happy Prince would praise Him in His city of gold.