the happy prince questions

Question # 1 what type of life did the Happy Prince lead?
The Happy Prince lived in the palace of Sans-Souci where he led a life full of
pleasure and delights. There was a wall around the palace that made it impossible
for him to have a look around to know the true realities of life. His whole life circled
around different joys. He led the dance parties in the palace and led the hunting
parties in the forests. He did not know what the cares and worries were. He
remained engrossed like all the other members of royal families in his pursuit of
pleasure. He was so happy that his courtiers gave him the title of the Happy Prince
and happy indeed he was. So he lived and so he died. After his death his statue
was erected on a high column above the city so he could see the ugliness and
misery spread around him and for the first time he became aware of the life led by
poor people.
Question # 2 what did he see from the high column above the city?
Happy Prince stood high above the city and could survey the whole city from that
high position. He could notice all the misery and suffering of poor people. He could
see the deprived people dying without a morsel of bread. He could register the
agony of sick and helpless kids. The sapphires in his eyes reflected to him the
miserable young men who were pining under the slabs of want and hunger. His
mortal eyes were closed after his death but his eyes made of sapphire could take
these dismal scenes directly to his soul. His heart made of lead was wrung with
helplessness because he was tied to a pedestal and could not move. He wanted to
relieve the people of their wretched state of life but could not do so. His heart wept
with his feelings for the poor folks and their hard life. So there, above the column,
he was in a better position to survey the true meaning of living in this world and
then he understood the cost of existence paid by the poor and downtrodden
majority of human population throughout the world.
Question # 3 how did the little swallow helps the Happy Prince?
One day there came a little swallow to take rest in the feet of Happy Prince. The
winter had started and all the other swallows had flown away to Egypt by this time
of the year but the little swallow was left behind because he had been in love with
a little marine plant that was the most beautiful reed. His attachment with the reed
was gradually weakened by his sense of loneliness as his friends and family had
flown away and moreover the reed was very silent by nature. He loved to travel but
the reed was a homespun creature and did not like to travel so he left her and
decided to follow his clan to Egypt.
Though when the little swallow came to the city it was already night and he
had no choice but to sit under the feet of the Happy Prince. As soon as he
prepared to sleep a large drop of water that was followed by some more drops fell
on him and drenched him fully. The swallow was astonished as there was no cloud
on the sky but when he looked up he was even more astonished to see the statue
of the Happy Prince crying. He asked the Happy Prince about the reason of his
woe, and the Happy Prince told him about the sufferings of people that had
harrowed his heart. He wanted to help these helpless people but couldn’t do so as
his feet were fastened to a pedestal.
The Happy Prince told the swallow that he could see a sick boy and his helpless
mother through an open window. The boy was tossing with fever and asking for
oranges but the poor mother had nothing to give him. The Happy Prince requested
the swallow to stay with him for one night and take the ruby out of his sword hilt
and convey it to the unfortunate house. The swallow hesitated as the winter was
setting in swiftly and it was impossible for a swallow to stay alive in such
conditions. The repeated requests of the Happy Prince however melted his heart
and he was ready to comply with his demand so he took out the ruby and
consigned it to the sick boy’s home.
The next day when he tried to set out for Egypt again the Happy Prince detained
him by telling the story of a distressed student whose room was very cold and he
was very hungry. The prince was so sad about it that the swallow was compelled
to stop again at the risk of his life. The Happy Prince urged the swallow to pluck
out the sapphires from his eyes but the swallow hesitated. The Happy Prince
insisted so much that he plucked out the eye and delivered it to the young student.
In the same way, the other sapphire from his eye was given away to the girl who
had thrown her matches in gutter next day.
At this stage the little swallow decided to stay with the Happy Prince
because he had become blind by then. He flew round the city and told the painful
stories of poor people’s distress to Happy Prince who asked him to leaf out the
gold from his statue so that the misery of people can be lessened to some extent.
During all this time the swallow had become very weak and cold. One day he flew
up to the shoulder of the Happy Prince and asked him to let him kiss on his hand
as he was going to the House of Death. After saying these words he fell dead in
his feet. In this way he laid down his tender life to alleviate the misery and
sufferings of poor people.
Question # 4 what is the end of this fantastic story?
The swallow and the Happy Prince collaborated to reduce a little bit of people’s
troubles by giving those jewels and gold that was gilded on the statue of the Happy
Prince. During this time the Happy Prince had been blinded. The extreme winter
had set in and the streets were full of silver cover of snow. The wind was
extremely cold and the little swallow was without any sort of protection. He didn’t
have much to eat or keep himself warm. He tried a lot to hold on but at last he
knew that he was going to die. He sat on the Happy Prince’s shoulder and told him
that he was going to say ‘Good Bye” to him and that he wanted to kiss his hands.
The Happy Prince thought that he was going to Egypt after all but the little swallow
corrected him by saying that he was going to the House of Death. He said these
words and fell down dead in Happy Prince’s feet. At the same moment the heart of
the Happy Prince snapped right in two. The authorities of the town surveyed and
declared that the Happy Prince didn’t look any better than a beggar so his statue
should be removed from the column. The Mayor and the Councillors quarrelled
because each of them wanted a statue of his own at the place of the Happy
Prince. They melted the body of the statue but no furnace could touch his heart so
they threw the broken lead heart on a heap where the dead body of the little
swallow was already lying. The God ordered his angels to bring the most precious
things of the world and they took the broken lead heart of the Happy Prince and
the dead little swallow to the Eden garden where they would live forever as the
reward of their true love and sympathy for the helpless people. They had sacrificed
their lives for the poor people so they attained the eternal life in paradise.
Question # 5 this story is a social criticism wrapped in the mould of a fairy
tale. Discuss.
Oscar Wilde is a socially conscious writer who presents a mirror to the society
and highlights its ugly reflection. Basically this story is written in the form of a fairy
tale. The atmosphere, setting and the characters are unreal and fantastic. The tool
of pathetic fallacy has been masterfully employed on a larger scale. The statue is
made to behave like a living man and the bird also plays the role of a
compassionate helper to the prince as well as the people. The attachment of the
swallow with a reed also is a funny exaggeration but it affords a hidden satire
when the writer talks about the reasons of swallow’s desertion of the reed. He
quotes swallow’s friends and family saying that they didn’t like their union, as the
reed didn’t have any dowry and had too many relations. This is truly a mirror to the
lovers who have their vested interests in the matter of love. Then the swallow
makes lame excuses like any disinclined lover and accuses the reed that she flirts
with air and doesn’t submit to his wishes of traveling and talking.
The town Councilor who wishes to be considered artistic and practical at the
same time calls the Happy Prince as beautiful as a weathercock that is a ridiculous
allusion. The Mathematical master scolds the Charity Children as he disapproves
of their having dreams. A disappointed man murmurs that he is glad that at least
someone in the world is quite happy. The ornithology professor has also been
ridiculed at his concern for the presence of a swallow in winter and his use of
difficult words in his letter to the local newspaper. The Queen’s maids-of –honor
are also described as being worldly and selfish. The apathy of authorities has been
mentioned indirectly by depicting the suffering of the poor people.
The swallow wants to fly away to Egypt with his family who will be diving in
the Nile and making nests in the Pyramids but he stays with the Happy Prince. In
this way the writer lashes the human conscience that the hearts of a little swallow
and of a statue are stimulated to see the human suffering but the people in
authority don’t pay any attention to the distress of public. The life of the Happy
Prince when alive is the exact description of the reality because in this world some
people revel in extreme joy and pleasure while the others groan under the extreme
suffering and poverty. This fantasy conveys the true purpose of the writer and
depicts all the aspects of life in this world such as poverty, hypocrisy and
The end of the story also is ironic as the statue of the Happy Prince becomes
ugly in appearance but it achieves the spiritual beauty. The bird loses his earthly
existence but gets the cheerful eternal life and becomes a timeless symbol of love
and sacrifice. So the story “mirrors the modern life in a form remote from reality”.
Q.1. Describe the statue of the Happy Prince
Ans. The statue of the Happy Prince stood on a tall pillar. He was covered with
gold. He had sapphires for his eyes. He had a large ruby on the hilt of his sword
Q.2. what made the statue of the Happy Prince cry?
Ans. The statue of the Happy Prince was on a high pillar, He could see the
sorrows and misery of people. He saw a seamstress. Her son was ill. But she had
nothing to give her except the river water. This made the Happy Prince cry.
Q.3. Why was the statue called the Happy Prince?
Ans. This was the statue of a Prince. When he was alive he lived in a palace. He
did not know what tears Were. There was no sorrow in his life. He was always
happy He lived and died as a Happy Prince. So his statue was called the Happy
Q.4. Why did the Happy Prince request the swallow to stay with him for the
night ?
Ans. The Happy prince was very kind. He saw that the poor seamstress was very
sad. Her son was ill. She had nothing to give him except the river water. The
Happy Prince wanted to help her. He wanted to send her a ruby. But he could not
move. So he requested the swallow to stay with him for the night
Q.5. How did the swallow give comfort to the son of the seamstress?
Ans. The swallow came to the house of the seamstress. He found that her son
was suffering from fever. He took pity on him. He fanned the boy with his wings.
The son felt comfort. He fell asleep.
Q.6. What was the last wish of the swallow?
Ans. The swallow knew that her end had come. He ew on to the shoulder of
the Happy Prince and said, “wish to kiss your hand.” The Happy Prince asked him
to kiss him on the lips. He kissed on his lips and then died.
Short Answer Type Questions (30 to 40 words)
Q1. Describe the statue of the Happy Prince as depicted in the beginning of
the story.
Ans:-The statue of the Happy Prince was mounted on a tall column high above
the city. It had thin leaves of ne gold gilded all over. Two bright sapphires were its
eyes and a large red ruby glowed on its sword hilt.
Q2. Where was the swallow going? Why did he decide not to go there?
Ans:-The swallow was going to Egypt to join his friends who had already reached
there six weeks ago. Initially he had stopped by only for a night to break his long
journey but later got so attached to the Happy Prince that he could not bear to see
him crying. He stayed back to be his messenger.
Q3. Why did the swallow stop at the city? Where did he put up for the night?
Ans:-The swallow stopped at the city to break his long journey to Egypt. His
friends had already reached there. He alighted between the feet of the statue of
the Happy Prince for a night’s stay.
Q4. What happened when the little swallow was getting ready to sleep?
Ans:-A large drop of water fell on the little swallow when he was getting ready to
sleep. He considered it a curious thing because it was a clear, bright, starlit, and
cloudless night with no indication of rain.
Q5. What were the drops of rain actually? Why did they fall?
Ans:-The drops of rain were actually the tears that rolled down the Happy Prince’s
sapphire eyes. The Prince’s sapphire eyes shed them because he was sad to see
the poverty and misery of the city dwellers.
Q6. What made the statue of the Happy Prince cry?
Ans:-The Happy Prince had never seen or experienced sorrow all his life. But after
his death, his statue was put up on a high pedestal from where he could see the
ugliness and misery of his land. This made him cry with sorrow.
Q7. When did the Prince rst ask the swallow to stay on? Why?
Ans:-The Prince rst asked the swallow to stay on for the night when he had
seen the poor seamstress and her sick son. The Prince’s feet were fastened to the
pedestal and he could not move. So, he needed the help of swallow in bringing
relief and joy to the seamstress and her hungry and sick son.
Q8. Why did the swallow refuse to carry ruby to the seamstress? Why did he
nally agree to do it?
Ans:-The swallow rst refused to carry the ruby to the seamstress because he
wanted to be with his friends who were in Egypt. Moreover, when the Happy
Prince expected help for the little boy of the seamstress, the bird said that he
did not like boys. However, he agreed to stay for the night on seeing the
Happy Prince in such a sorrowful state.
Q9. How did the swallow reach the seamstress’s house?
Ans:-The swallow ew over roofs of the town and passed the cathedral tower
with white marbled angels sculptured on it. He ew over the palace and the
river before he nally reached the seamstress’s house.
Q10. What did the swallow overhear while going to the seamstress’s house?
Ans:-As he passed by the palace, the swallow saw a beautiful girl come out into
the balcony. The swallow overheard her saying that she hoped her dress would be
ready for the state ball and that she had ordered owers to be embroidered on it but
the seamstresses were a lazy lot.
Q11. Why and how did the Happy Prince help the seamstress?
Ans:-The Happy Prince decided to help the poor seamstress who was dead tired
and whose son was hungry and lay in fever. The poor woman had no money to
feed her son and get him medicine. She only gave him water to drink. The Prince
wanted the swallow to carry the ruby from his sword hilt so that the seamstress
could get rid of her poverty and buy her son food and medicine.
Q12. Why does the Happy Prince send a ruby for the seamstress?
Ans:- What does the swallow do in the seamstress’s house? (Textual) The Happy
Prince sends a ruby for the seamstress to help her get over her poverty so that
she could buy food and medicine for her son. The swallow laid the great ruby on
the table beside the woman’s thimble and ew round the bed, fanning the boy’s
forehead with his wings.
Q13. Why couldn’t the poor seamstress sit beside her ailing son?
Ans:-The poor seamstress had to work endlessly to complete a gown that had to
be worn by the Queen’s loveliest maid of honour at the court ball. Tired and
hungry, she fell o to sleep while her ailing son tossed on the bed alone.
Q14. What change came over the bird on his return from the seamstress’s
house? Why?
Ans:-After returning from the seamstress’s house, the swallow felt curious that
despite the cold he was feeling quite warm. The Happy Prince told him that it was
so because he had done a good deed.
Q15. What did the swallow do before planning for his ight towards Egypt on
the second night?
Ans:- The swallow bathed in the river at dawn and then spent the day to visit the
city’s monuments. He also sat for a long time on top of the church steeple. Finally,
he went to the Prince to ask him if he had any commissions for Egypt. had gone
blind. The Prince would then tell him to take o the gold from his body, leaf by leaf,
and give it to the poor and needy.
Q16. How did the swallow become the Prince’s eyes?
Ans:- The swallow stayed back with the blind Prince. He would y over the city and
see its people in all their colors. He would report their miseries and sufferings to
the Prince. Then, on the Prince’s orders, he would pluck the golden leaves from
his statue and give them to the needy.
Q17. The little swallow grew colder and colder but kept up his determination.
How did the bird show his great strength and courage?
Ans:-The bird grew cold because of the snow and the frost but he did not leave
the Happy Prince. He would eat crumbs from a baker’s shop and keep himself
warm by apping his wings. He showed great strength and courage by staying on
beside the Happy Prince in spite of the bitter cold and the consequent risk to his
Q18. What did the swallow do when he realised that he was going to die?
How did the Prince respond?
Ans:-On realising that he was going to die, the swallow gathered his remaining
strength and ew up to the prince’s shoulder. He bid him goodbye and sought
permission to kiss his hand. The Prince thought that the swallow was going to
leave for Egypt. He welcomed this decision and asked the swallow to kiss him on
his lips instead, as he loved him.
Q19. Why a cracking sound was heard when the swallow died?
What happened when the little swallow fell down dead at the feet of the
Happy Prince?
Ans:-The Happy Prince loved the swallow dearly. So when the bird kissed the
Prince and fell down dead at his feet, the latter’s leaden heart broke into two with a
curious cracking sound.
Q20. What happened to the Prince’s heart? Why?
Ans:-As the swallow fell dead at the Prince’s feet, the latter’s lead heart broke into
two. This happened because the Prince loved the bird dearly. Although it was a
dreadful winter, still the heart broke, for it was deeply hurt.
Q21. What made the Happy Prince look shabby and beggarly?
Why did the Mayor and Town Councilors comment that the Prince looked
‘little better than a beggar’?
Ans:- The gold leaves that covered the statue of the Happy Prince were gradually
given away in charity by him. His sapphire eyes and the red ruby on the sword hilt
too were given away. This made him look shabby and beggarly
Q22. Why did the Town Councilors decide to pull down the statue of the
Happy Prince?
How did the Mayor and his Councilors react on seeing the statue of the
Happy Prince?
Ans:-The Mayor and the Town Councilors were shocked to see the dull looking
statue of the Happy Prince bereft of his sapphire eyes, ruby studded sword hilt and
gold leaves. They decided to pull it down because it looked much too shabby and
beggarly, and was no longer beautiful or useful.
Q23. What strange thing was observed by the overseer?
Ans:-The statue of the Happy Prince was pulled down and put to melt in a
furnace. The overseer at the foundry noticed a strange thing at this time. The
broken lead heart of the Prince did not melt and had to be thrown away in dust.
Q24. What happened to the leaden heart of the Happy Prince after it was
thrown away?
Ans:- Because it did not melt in the foundry, the Happy Prince’s lead heart was
thrown away on a dust heap where the swallow also lay dead. Later on God’s
Angels chose the heart as well as the dead swallow as the two most precious
things in the city.
Q25. What are the two most precious things mentioned in the story? Why are
they precious?
What did the Angel consider the two most precious things in the city? Why?
Ans:-The two most precious things mentioned in the story are the kind lead-heart
of the Happy Prince and the dead swallow. They are precious because the Angel
chooses them for their virtues and noble deeds, and God gives them a place in his
garden of Paradise.
Q26. What is the moral of the story “The Happy Prince”?
Ans:- The moral of the story is that charity and compassion can endear us to God.
Love, sacrifice and pity should be the governing virtues of mankind. Outward
beauty is superficial and a heart that feels for others is the noblest heart.
27. Describe the statue of the Happy Prince.
Ans.The statue was covered with thin leaves of ne gold. It had two bright
sapphires for its eyes. There was a large red ruby on its sword-hilt.
28. What made the Happy Prince cry ?
Ans. The Happy Prince could see all the misery of the city. He cried on seeing the
sorrows of the poor people.
29. To whom did the prince send his ruby and why ?
Ans.The prince sent his ruby to a poor seamstress. Her son was ill. He was asking
for oranges. But his mother had no money. So the prince wanted to help her.
30. How did the prince and the swallow enable the playwright to nish his
work ?
Ans.The playwright was feeling very cold and hungry. He could not nish his play.
The prince asked the swallow to take one of his sapphires to the playwright. Thus
they helped him to nish his work.
31. How did the prince help the match-girl? What was the result?
Ans.The prince sent the sapphire to the match-girl. She became very happy. She
ran home laughing.
32. Why did the swallow decide not to leave the prince?
Ans. The prince had given the sapphires from his eyes to the poor. He was now
completely blind. Therefore, the swallow decided to stay with him.
33. How did the prince and the swallow help the poor?
Ans. The swallow told the prince about the misery of the people. The prince asked
the swallow to pluck gold and jewels from his body. He asked the swallow to give
all these to the poor.
34. What did the angel consider ‘the two most precious things in the city’?
Ans. He considered the lead heart and the dead swallow the two most precious
things in the city.
35. When the prince was alive, he did not know what tears were. Why?
Ans.The prince lived in a palace. No sorrow was allowed to enter there. The
prince never had the taste of sorrow. So he did not know what tears were.
36. What was the boy’s mother doing when the swallow ew into the room?
Where did he put the ruby? Why did the boy feel cool?
Ans.The boy’s mother had fallen asleep. The swallow put the ruby on a table near
the woman. He fanned the boy with his wings. The boy now felt cool.
37. What made the playwright happy ?
Ans.The playwright saw a sapphire lying near him on the table. He thought it had
been sent by some great admirer. This made him happy.
38. Describe the sufferings of the poor people in the city. How did the Happy
Prince help them?
Ans. The poor people in the city lived a miserable life. There was a poor
seamstress. She had nothing to give her son who was sick. So the Happy Prince
sent a ruby for her. There was a playwright who had no rewood to keep himself
warm. The prince sent him a sapphire. There was a match-girl who had no shoes
or stockings. Her matches had fallen in the gutter. She was crying. The prince sent
her his second sapphire. There were hungry and homeless children. The prince
sent them all the gold leaves he had on his body.
39.. Give a brief character-sketch of the Happy Prince .
Ans. The Happy Prince saw the misery of the poor people. His heart melted with
pity for them. Their sufferings brought tears in his eyes. He gave away his ruby,
sapphires and all the gold for the poor. He became blind. His body looked ugly.
But he was happy at heart because he had given away his all for the poor. The
Happy Prince came to know that real happiness lay in the service of the poor. God
blessed him and kept him in His city of gold.
40 Give a brief character-sketch of the swallow.
Ans. The swallow was every inch like the Happy Prince. It had a very kind heart. It
saw tears in the prince’s eyes. Its heart melted with pity. It wanted to help the
prince. Therefore, it gave up its idea of going to Egypt. It stayed with the prince in
cold nights. When the prince became blind, the swallow, decided to live with him
forever. It died one day. But even the death could not separate it from the prince. It
was taken to heaven along with the prince.
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