The Happy Prince & Other Tales

by Oscar Wilde

Read time: about 4 minutes

Oscar Wilde is known for his expansive body of work spanning across different genres that have made him a favorite among bibliophiles with diverse palettes. First published in 1888, The Happy Prince & Other Tales is a compilation of short stories appealing to the child in everyone.

With life infused into inanimate objects and voicing the thoughts of birds and animals, my copy of The Happy Prince & Other Tales was a compilation of five short stories.


My kindle copy has a simple maroon and beige cover that is standard to most Public Domain Books . However, The Happy Prince & Other Tales has been published with many different cover pages over the years, most of which are depicting the Prince and his companion.


The book – a compilation of short stories has many different characters in it. ‘The Happy Prince’ has the Prince and the swallow as its main characters. The next story is of ‘The Selfish Gaint’, where the protagonists are the Gaint and a child. The third story is of ‘The Devoted Friend’, where the story of Hans and the Miller is narrated. The next one is of ‘The Remarkable Rocket’ which is a tale about fireworks brought to life. The last one is ‘The Nightingale and The Rose’, which is a tale about a love struck boy, a rose and a Nightingale.

While there are some characters that you will love, there are some others that are plain annoying and hate-able, and though most characters are whimsical the conversations and insights they have make them rather realistic and humane.


With animals and birds talking and inanimate objects brought to life, The Happy Prince & Other Tales comprises of stories that explore varied emotions that we are subject to. Each story comes with a moral – a thought conveyed in a very crisp manner making one question his actions.

These stories touch upon how we often manipulate others to our benefit, how self-patronizing some of us can be and how we often oversee the sufferings and pain that one endures, and how our actions influence others.

My favorite would be ‘The Happy Prince’ out of the five.


Though written many years ago, the simplicity of the language comes as a surprise to me. With whimsical dialogues between inanimate objects which are sometimes endearing and sometimes displaying the ironic humor of Wilde, the language is simple and engaging and written very crisply and the message is conveyed in simple words without beating around the bush.

Good points

The Happy Prince & Other Tales has stories have an appeal to a wide age group. Anyone from a child to an adult can read this book. While it might work as a way of setting an example to children, these stories come as a reminder to adults that time and again our actions need to be retrospected on , and such books work as gentle reminders that good always wins over evil and that good deeds go a long way in benefiting us and the people around us.

Bad Points

Though the stories are not age specific and can be read by all age groups, for some people who find it silly to read about talking birds and crackers this book might seem far from reality (which it is) and boring as compared to realistic non-fiction.


It is necessary that from time to time we seek reminders and lessons from the most unreal and whimsical sources.Whether it is from that favorite cartoon show that you loved as a child, or from a song that talks about another world or maybe its from a book like this that gives us life lessons through these short stories, each of these leaves a part of it in us shaping us into who we are.

Who do I recommend this to?

Whether you are a serious book lover, or have an occasional fling with reading, pick up this book, forget about the reality of it all and dive in for a light read.

Quotable Quotes

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, nor can it be weighed out in the balance for gold.

I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that I sometimes don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.

Friendship never forgets.That is the wonderful thing about it, but I am afraid you do not understand the poetry of life .

I am very glad I have traveled. Travel improves the mind wonderfully, and does away with one’s prejudices.

But love is not fashionable anymore, the poets have killed it. They wrote so much about it that nobody believed them, and I am not surprised. True love suffers, and is silent .

As he is no longer beautiful, he is no longer useful.

Gazala Amreen

Logophile, bibliophile, writer, designer, high on wanderlust and all things pretty.

Bangalore, KA