In a country far away lives a Happy Prince. In the palace where he lives, nothing is sad. He never thinks about the other people. When he dies the people in the palace make a statue of him. Everyone calls him “The Happy Prince”. The statue is beautiful and stands on a tall column.
In the town square a town councillor, a mum with her son, a sad and tired man and two young and poor boys talk about the statue.
A swallow meets a reed by the river and immediately falls in love with her. Two children tease him. They throw stones on him.
The swallow asks the reed if she wants to go to Egypt with him. But the reed answers no, and the swallows flies away.
By the end of the day the swallow arrives in a big city. He thinks he can sleep at the Happy Prince Statue’s feet. The statue is on a tall column and is all gold.
Suddenly a big drop of water drops on the bird. It is no rain, but tears, coming from the statue. The Happy Prince is crying.
The swallow asks him why he is crying. The Happy Prince replies that he is crying because he sees all the poor people and all the bad things in the city.
In a house in a little street there is a tired woman at a table; she is making an evening dress for one of the young ladies at the palace. In a small bed, her young son is sick. The Happy Prince asks the swallow to pull out the ruby from his sword and take it to her.
This chapter is about the swallow that takes the big red ruby to a poor ill boy.
When the swallow flies past the palace, he sees the sad people without the prince!
When the swallow arrives, he leaves the sapphire on the table, then he swings his wings to refresh the air and the poor boy. After that he flies back to the statue.
A poor young man, a writer, works at a table in an attic room. He’s cold and hungry. The swallow takes out a sapphire from the prince’s eye and brings it to him, while the young man is sleeping.
The next day the swallow flies down to the sea. He wants to go to Egypt, but the prince asks him to stay one more night, because in the town square there is a poor little girl who sells matches. But her matches are wet and she can’t sell them. She’s very sad and hungry. The swallow accepts. So the prince asks the swallow to pull out his other eye and to take the red stone to the poor girl.
The swallow gives the sapphire, the Happy Prince’s eye, to the poor girl.
He flies back to the Prince and tells him stories about Egypt, but the Happy Prince wants to hear stories about the people in the city.
So the little bird flies out over the city and sees how people live. There are rich and poor people.
The Happy Prince tells the swallow to take off his gold leaf and give it to all the poor people. With it they can buy things to eat and to wear.
Now the poor bird feels very cold in the snow but he wants to stay with the Prince.
The swallow is about to die and is aware of it. He says goodbye to the Prince and falls dead on the ground. Suddenly the statue’s lead heart breaks.
Soon after that the mayor arrives in the square with his councillors and decides to burn the prince’s statue because it is ugly now. So the furnace workers put the statue into a big furnace, but the lead heart doesn’t melt, so they decide to throw it away. It falls in the dump near the dead bird.
Then the mighty God orders one of his angels to bring him the two most important things; the angel flies to the dump and takes the dead swallow and the statue’s heart and brings them to God.
God says that now the Little swallow and the Happy Prince can live forever in Paradise.
This book is part of the reading project “Reading is Fun!” addressed to all students in their first year at V.E. Orlando Junior Secondary School in Palermo.
The students read “the Happy Prince” short story by Oscar Wilde, published by Oxford University Press.
Text adapted by Bill Bowler in an A1 level version.
Illustrations by Andrea Wicklung inspired the students drawings.
Teachers: D. Amato – G. Cordovana