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The Happy Prince

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  25,595 ratings  ·  863 reviews
More than a hundred years ago, Oscar Wilde created this moving story for his children. Now shimmering illustrations, as bejeweled and golden as the Prince himself, give glowing life to the many dimensions of his tale. His story of friendship, love, and a willingness to part with one's own riches may be more important today than ever before. Full color.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Dutton Books (first published May 1888)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  25,595 ratings  ·  863 reviews


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Petra-X
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, reviewed
I've always liked Oscar Wilde's prose, if not his drama, but I thought this was an exercise in hypocrisy, or perhaps it was just Oscar Wilde, locked out of the gates of the wealthy aristocracy, just venting his spleen on them. You would think a man who lost everything because of the prejudice against his homosexuality might just not drop casual anti-semitism into what purports to be a children's story, wouldn't you? But perhaps he was so angry and bitter against Society that he could only see th ...more
Ahmed  Ejaz
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, 2017
There is no Mystery so great as Misery
Stories like this are the reason I still love Classic short stories. I loved the concept. But again, this story has a bitter-sweet ending. Like it's the rule of classic literature to not give happy endings. I understand, I really do, that they just show reality. But don't know why they just make me over-sad.
The living always think that gold can make them happy.

OVERVIEW
There is a statue of a prince called 'Happy Prince' at the place where
...more
Nick
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a heartwarming story. Simple yet so powerful.
A tale of friendship and love.

It is a bit about dying but much more about being alive.
Sarah
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and dearer than fine opals. Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set forth in the marketplace. It may not be purchased of the merchants, for can it be weighed out in the balance for gold.”
Maria Espadinha
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
To Be or Not to Be Kind


A swallow embarks in a good deeds kind of mission, instead of proceeding with its own life, and... sooner then later ... it enters the House of Death!

If I didn’t know Oscar Wilde from his witty sarcastic plays, I would have thought that this beautiful sad tale was written to bring out the best in children.
However, since I know how ironic he can be, I have a strong feeling that he wrote what he wrote to show the little ones how short is the life of pure, kind beings on plan
...more
Carlos De Eguiluz
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
El precioso espejo de lo que representa la amistad, el altruismo y la verdadera felicidad.

La prosa de Wilde, es, sin duda alguna, una bocanada de aire fresco.

"My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness. So I lived, and so I died. And now that I am dead they have set me up here so high that I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city, and though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot chose but weep."
Jon Nakapalau
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is a sadness that permeates all of Oscar Wilde's work...but it is a sadness that helps us find joy with who we are. This story is one of my favorites; a beautiful tale for children.
Lorraine
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This book is about the friendship between a swallow and a statue of a Happy Prince. The Happy Prince truly was just that- happy- in life because he lead a sheltered existence. "My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness." This distinction foreshadows the story's intent to outline for us a deeper meaning in happiness. In life, the Prince was shielded from all misery. He passed, and was immortalized in the statue, which looked down upon the city.

We m
...more
Duane
Metaphors abound in this Oscar Wilde fairytale. A swallow delays his migration to help the statue of the Happy Prince correct some wrongs that were overlooked when he was alive.
Calista
I thought this was Oscar Wilde’s story, but this is retold by Elissa Grodin. I assume this is still his story. Oscar wrote this fairy tale for his students and kids. They loved it. He thought this would be a good story for all ages. I agree.

A sparrow finds a beautiful park with a statue of the Happy Prince. The mayor is proud of this beautiful statute. The prince never left the palace when he was alive and he never knew the sadness in the world around him. He is high in the air so he can see his
...more
Gary
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A heart-warming tale about little Swallow who has been separated from his flock, which has flown down to Egypt, befriends a magnificent golden statue in an unnamed Northern European city, and bejewelled statue, and the statue asks the Swallow to take his jewels and use them to help the poor of the city.

Beautifully written some magnificent passages which describe Egypt through the eyes of the Swallow:

" All the next day he sat on the Prince's shoulder, and told him the stories of what he had seen
...more
Khush
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this short story after a long time. The story is as beautiful as I found it on my first reading. However, this time I noticed something important that I missed before– the theme of 'same-sex love' – quite a fete in England of the times, even if it is subtly dealt with. This story has been written before Wilde's other significant and longer works such as 'The Picture of Dorian Grey', his brilliant plays and 'De Profundis.' Clearly, he is struggling to put across in his ingenious style what ...more
Sarah Brownlee
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The most beautiful story I have ever read in my life. I cried reading it as a child and I still cry reading it as an adult. The Happy Prince, a short 'children's' story, tells the life of a prince who was made into a golden statue after he died. In life, he lived a sheltered happy/ignorant life, but in death he saw all the suffering throughout the city. The relationship between the prince and the sparrow is incredible - furthermore, the shallow greed and hypocrisy of the town officials and autho ...more
Laysee
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laysee by: Winston
The Happy Prince led a privileged and sheltered life and knew only pleasure. In the city, his image as the Happy Prince was immortalized in the form of a bejeweled statue covered in fine gold leaves, set aloft on a tall column. But a transformation came over the Happy Prince when his new vantage point opened his sapphire eyes and leaden heart to the suffering of the poor in the city. The Happy Prince began to weep.

Oscar Wilde wove an uplifting story of friendship, loyalty, compassion and sacrif
...more
Olivia-Savannah  Roach
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow, what a fairytale.

I really liked it. It was longer than some of the other fairytales I have been reading and I think it gave it more time to pack more messages in there, to show more examples and really develop.

In the beginning I was confused about the point of the story. But it added to the Bird's character development - seeing what he used to be like and how the Happy Prince changed him. It went to show the power of friendship and the good influence that a good friend can have.

I also re
...more
Sketchbook
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Written for children, between 1882-1891, these beautiful
stories of delicate charm are for literate adults who alone
can perceive the irony and awareness of life's cruelties.
A poetic wistfulness also mingles with the artless musical
imagery. One critic says they remind him of Fragonard and Rossetti. Another is impressed by the simplicity of Biblical language.

Reviewing the fables a rather hysterical GR slams OW for
anti-semitism because of a perfunctory aside 100 years before
Political Correctness. S
...more
Maria Espadinha
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life is Short for Saints


A beautiful sad tale enclosing a simple message:

The ones who sacrifice their own benefit for the sake of others are doomed to a very short life on Earth.
Like in the story, I do hope there’s a Heaven where their goodness shall be rewarded.

Gosh!... Did I fool anyone else but me?!... 😉
Piyangie
Trust Oscar Wild to convey a powerful message in a few short pages. This work is a good example for his amazing skill.

This short story exposes a few themes: poverty, the negligence of the authorities to facilitate the poor, the convenient ignorance of the rich. The story is simple but the underneath irony cannot be missed. If you look deep, you can see how with simple words Wild brings out an ugly and dark side of a hypocritical society.

Reading Oscar Wild is always a pleasure and here, there is
...more
[Name Redacted]
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Having now re-read this, I still feel as though I cannot be sure if I read it once before. It's possible! But it's also possible that I only heard it read! Odd.

In any event, it is a lovely, simple fairy-tale about sacrifice, selflessness and the responsibility of rulers to care for their subjects -- but also about the ways in which good deeds can go unappreciated, and about the blindness which charitable people can exhibit in their desperate quest to serve the needy.

Also, here is the line which
...more
Dani
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Very cute little story
Kathleen
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
“My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness.”

This wasn’t a feel good story for me, but perhaps that’s not the point.

On the one hand, it has many familiar fairy tale elements. A statue and a swallow are given human feelings. There is silliness. (The part where the swallow falls in love with the reed was some gorgeous humor.) There is also heartbreaking sadness—poverty and suffering and death. And in the end, we have a moral takeaway.

There is somethi
...more
Amelia Oswald
I have read this story when I was at middle school but I had like zero feeling for the book. Now I get to reread it and wow I cry. The sacrifice for love, for friendship is really admired. Five stars from me !!
Olivia
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
"I am going to the House of Death. Death is the brother of Sleep, is he not?"
Katy
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful tale. Service & love conveyed in a few wonderful words. ...more
Antonella
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story about the cruelness of life
Krisha
(view spoiler) ...more
Churin
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, classic
As a child, I was a very annoying one. My mom told me that when she read this to me I keep complaining,
"Why does a statue talk?"
"I think they don't build statues with hearts!"
"Well, that wasn't nice. Why don't he let the swallow go? It will die! Or maybe he is stupid?"
"It's weird. Why the town councils don't think of thieves?"
Yep, I was that kind of kid.

I don't remember this story at all so I decided to re-read (re-listen? Hahaha) this. While some of those questions still come through my mind w
...more
Alexander
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This story follows the friendship between the Happy Prince and a Swallow. The Happy Prince as a boy lived in complete luxury and happiness, unaware of the suffering outside his palace walls. The swallow by chance meets the prince after deciding not to migrate yet, because of his love of a reed. Upon meeting the bird the Prince tells the Swallow his story and of his sorrow for the suffering he now sees in his city. The Prince asks the Swallow to help different people in need by stripping away val ...more
Mounir
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very beautiful stories. This collection was first published in 1888, so apparently represent his earliest writings. I liked mostly the first "The Happy Prince" and the last two, "The Devoted Friend" and "The Remarkable Rocket". The remaining two; "The nightingale and the Rose" and "The Selfish Giant" are also beautiful. An element of criticism of social injustice and of human folly is evident in all stories, and Wilde's characteristic sarcasm and witty epigrams - which characterize all his later ...more
Linda
Whatever I read by Oscar Wilde I really like, and it always gives me a bittersweet feeling. The pattern in Wilde's literature is so beautiful. This one is no different. Similar to "The nightingale and the rose" this one is about great sacrifices for people in need, sacrifices that go unnoticed by the shallow and rich people - which could really make a big difference.

My review
http://thereaderdiary.blogspot.com
...more
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Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet, and author of numerous short stories, and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being ...more

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