The Happy Prince And Other Tales by Oscar Wilde
This book by the Irish writer Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde includes five short stories: The Selfish Giant The Happy Prince The Nightingale and the Rose The Devoted Friend The Remarkable Rocket.
I had a lovely time reading these five short fairy tale like stories. I find Oscar Wilde's writing style engrossing and beautiful. He focuses a lot on aesthetics. His stories seem to always touch on the nature of beauty and art. One can also find Christian undertones in them.
The Happy Prince - 5 Stars
The story speaks about a regal, golden, bejeweled statue in the likeness of what was once a real young rich prince. And one night, a sparrow on the way to Egypt happen to take refuge on the statue, and the two struck a bargain on several occasions, and which eventually led into an enduring friendship. This is my favorite because it is heartbreaking and touching and will just make you weep with sadness and then happiness.
The Selfish Giant - 3 Stars
There was once a selfish giant who forbid any children to play in his beautiful garden and thus nature punished him by coating his garden with coldness and bleakness all year round. It was a winter that stayed on for forever. Until the giant brought in the children again that the garden miraculously and instantaneously bloomed into Spring. While this was yet another touching story, it isn't anything new or remarkable or out of the oridinary. I still enjoyed it, but to a lesser degree. I was surpsied though, to find a Christian undertone in the ending, just as I was with The Happy Prince.
The Nightingale and The Rose - 5 stars
A story about a student madly in love with a girl, who was promised a dance upon the condition of procuring a red rose for the latter. A nightingale happen to take it upon himself to get the said rose for the student despite having to give his own life in the process. In the end, the student was rebuked by the girl. So the sacrifice of the nightingale was a waste. This is my second favorite because I thought it was a lovely ironic and sad sort of story. A discourse on true love and beauty.
A story about Little Hans, a gardener who went out of the way to become a so-called devoted friend to a Miller who was a bit conceited and took advantage of the little guy to the point of the latters death. This quite frustrated me. I just couldn't believe how gullible Little Hans was that he allowed the Miller to take advantage of his friendship to no end. I mean, he'd endure starvation, rain, cold, poverty, anything really, just to help out the Miller who is clearly a conceited and mean person and is in nowhere near a good friend. Argh. I hated his guts. And the ending I did not quite like. I was waiting for closure (or justice for Little Hans). But I got none. I didn't get the moral of the story, save for do not be a trusting fool.
The Remarkable Rocket - 2 Stars
A story about a rocket (firework) who bragged all day long to his fellow fireworks about how he is the star of the fireworks display, of the prince and the princess getting married, in honor of the day of his being lighted and released to the skies, as opposed to the other way around. He has a penchant for the dramatics so he wept with joy at that thought and made himself wet and thus the pyromancers were unable to light him and had to throw him into a gutter. I was not overly fond of this one. It just felt lost on me. Although I thought the remarkable rocket and the other fireworks characters had some funny one liners that deserved the 2 stars.
Like I said, I had a lovely time reading these short stories. And while I still cannot find it in myself to read an honest to goodness, full length Oscar Wilde novel, I'll just settle for his short stories, in the mean time. And I definitely had a pleasant experience with these particular 5. They are wonderful 'fairy tale like' stories, and I believe that we can never be too old for fairy tales.