One of the Saints
In one of my worldly travels, I came upon the city center; there was the golden statue of the Happy Prince. From his lofty place, the Happy Prince could survey the kingdom that he once ruled. Those in his kingdom felt secure that he still could protect them even as a statue. On sunny days or during a full moon, the Happy Prince had a wondrous golden glow, due to the gold leaf applied to the statue. He had a sword with a ruby placed at its hilt and had two sapphires for his eyes. The Happy Prince was a wondrous sight to behold.
For years, the townspeople loved to look upon the statue. However, this year things began to change. The change began in the fall; all the various birds began to fly to warmer climes except for one swallow. He delayed his departure for he was in love with a beautiful yellow-crested bird.
The swallow's love of his life was not interested in his love for her though. Sadly, he flew off knowing that the winter chill would soon arrive. Therefore, he headed reluctantly to a warmer environment for the winter. As the swallow began his flight dealing with his winter of discontent without his love, he had only flown several days when he arrived in the town over which the Happy Prince kept his eye on his village. Since it was nearly evening, the swallow paused to rest that night.
As with all the townspeople, the swallow saw the statue of the Happy Prince, flew over to it, and decided to sleep at its feet. He cuddled up next to the Happy Prince's feet and settled in to sleep. As the swallow looked up at the Happy Prince reflecting a golden glow into the clear sky, he drifted off to sleep. However, it was not two minutes before the swallow awoke as a single drop of water fell upon his feathers. Startled, he looked up and could not determine from whence the water drop came; the sky was without even the slightest cloud. Then another drop landed upon him. Again, the swallow looked up. What did he discover?
The Happy Prince was crying. Thus began the conversation between the Happy Prince and the swallow. He told the swallow that he had lived in a type of golden ghetto. Everything was happy, beautiful, and without pain. The Happy Prince was sheltered from all sorts of pain and discomfort that the townspeople had to face. Over time, the Happy Prince died, and the townspeople decided to construct a statue in his honor.
While that might have been a nice tribute to the Happy Prince, the statue was now able to see all the problems that were present in his kingdom. He saw hunger, abuse, hatred, misery, and decay from which he had been excluded. The Happy Prince said, "Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow, take the ruby from the hilt of my sword to a poverty-stricken mother caring for her infant child." The swallow does as he is asked and returns with good news. The Happy Prince's gift had resolved her problems. With the swallow's report, it went to sleep.
The next morning, the swallow got ready to begin the next leg of his flight to warmer climes when the Happy Prince said, "Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow, take a sapphire from one of my eyes, there is a young writer who is suffering from hunger in a cold apartment for which he cannot afford even the barest of necessities."
At this request, the swallow objected due to the Happy Prince would lose an eye. The Happy Prince said that he could still see by using his remaining eye. So, reluctantly, the swallow took one of the Happy Prince's blue eyes to the suffering writer. Again, the swallow returned after a couple of hours and assured the Happy Prince that the sapphire eye would provide food and warmth for the young writer. Again, the swallow went to sleep.
The next morning, as the swallow again prepared to fly to a place that was warm, the Happy Prince uttered again, "Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow, take my other sapphire eye to an abused little girl so that she could escape her suffering." Again, the swallow objected pointing out that the Happy Prince would then be totally blind. Nonetheless, the Happy Prince demanded that the swallow would do as he had been commanded. So, the swallow removed the other blue eye and flew off with the sapphire.
Again, after a couple of hours, the swallow returned and reported that the little girl will be safe. However, instead of leaving the Happy Prince to continue his flight to warmer climes, the swallow remained with the blind Happy Prince. The swallow would be his eyes as the days get colder. He tells the Happy Prince about needs in his village and the swallow then would take sheets of gold-leaf from his body and gave it to the needy. This is repeated for several weeks until the Happy Prince has nothing more to give. By then, it is very cold; the winter had finally arrived.
The Happy Prince tells the swallow that he must leave quickly to which the swallow flew to the face of the Happy Prince, kissed his cheek, fell to his feet, and died. At that moment, there is a loud metallic sound from within this statue. His leaded heart had cracked. Both the swallow and the Happy Prince had died.
It was not long before the townspeople noticed just how shabby the Happy Prince had become and decided to melt the statue down. They would create another statue of one of their leaders as a tribute to that person even though none of the leaders cared anything about the poor, the hurting, and the disenfranchised residences of the town. So they took the statue to the foundry, including the swallow. The foundry workers saw the swallow and threw it out on the scrap heap as they melted down the statue. However, the leaden heart would not melt. Therefore, it too was thrown onto the scrap heap and landed next to the dead swallow.
Far from the city, God told an angel to go to the village and return with the two most precious things that it could find. That evening the angel returned with the dead swallow and leaded heart. God saw what the angel found and said, "Well done. I only regret that my children are not as wise as you."
PS Oscar Wilde, you have written well. I hope that I have done as well in my redaction.
This is a video of the Happy Prince.
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