NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Chapter 5 - The Happy Prince
Chapter 5 - The Happy Prince Exercise 36
The courtiers call the prince 'the Happy Prince' because he does not know what tears are, as he lives in the Palace, where sorrow was not allowed to enter. No, he is not really happy. He sees the ugliness and the miseries of his city and although he is dead and his heart is only made of lead he cannot help but weep.
The Happy Prince sends a ruby for the seamstress because she lives in a little street in a poor house. Her face is thin and worn, and she has coarse, red hands, all pricked by the needle, while she embroiders flowers on a satin gown. In the corner of the room there is a bed in which her little boy is lying ill. He has a fever, and is asking his mother to give him oranges. His mother has nothing to give him but river water, and he is very thirsty so he is crying.
When the swallow reaches the seamstress’ house the boy was tossing feverishly on his bed, and the mother had fallen asleep, she was so tired. The swallow hops in, and lays the great ruby on the table beside the woman's thimble. Then he flies gently round the bed, fanning the boy's forehead with his wings.
The Happy Prince sends a sapphire for a young man in a garret who is leaning over a desk covered with papers. His hair is brown and crisp, and his lips are red as a pomegranate, and he has large and dreamy eyes. He is trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre, but he is too cold to write any more. There is no fire in the grate, and hunger has made him faint. The young man will be able to sell the sapphire to the jeweller, and buy firewood, and finish his play.
He sends the other sapphire to a little match girl. She has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. If she has the sapphire her father will not beat her.
When the swallow flies over the great city, it sees the rich making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars are sitting at the gates. He flies into dark lanes, and sees the white faces of starving children looking out listlessly at the black streets. Under the archway of a bridge two little boys are lying in each other's arms trying to keep themselves warm. They are hungry and have no shelter but the watchman shouts and chases them out and so they are left wandering in the rain.
The swallow realised that because of the prince’s generosity he had given away both his eyes to people who were in need. The prince was now blind and so the swallow decided not to leave him and go to Egypt. Even when it grew very cold he did not leave the prince because he loved him very much. It fed itself on the crumbs outside the bakery and kept itself warm by flapping its wings. When the swallow could not bear the cold any longer and knew it was going to die, it flew to the Prince, said goodbye, and asked if it could kiss his hand. It then kissed the Prince’s lips and fell down dead at its feet.
The precious things mentioned in the story are the leaden heart of the happy prince and the dead bird. They are precious because both the happy prince and the swallow were very kind, generous and selfless. The prince could not bear to see the ugliness, misery and suffering in his city and so gave away all his precious stones and gold to make his people happy.
Similarly the swallow sacrificed his trip to Egypt and acted as the prince’s messenger carrying the precious stones and gold to the needy spreading happiness around. When the prince was blind he still loved him so much that he never left him even though it kept getting colder and colder with winter approaching. Finally when he could no longer bear the cold he died at the feet of the statue and the statue loved him so much that its leaden heart broke into two.
That is why when God asked one of the angels to bring him the two precious things in the garden the angel took the leaden heart and the dead bird and God said that in his garden of Paradise the little bird shall sing for ever more and in the city of gold the Happy Prince shall praise God.
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