IL Principe FELICE – Oscar Wilde
Once upon a time there was a prince who lived in a castle where sorrow wasn’t allowed, so he lived all his life in happiness, but as he die, they built a statue of him, with precious sapphires in his eyes, a ruby in his sword-hilt and with golden leaves on his body.
From his high place he could see all the selfishness and the misery in his kingdom; so as a little swallow perched on his shoulder, he asked him a favour. Even if the swallow had to migrate in Egypt, as the winter was coming, he accepted. The Happy Prince ordered him to bring the ruby of his sword-hilt to a poor seamstress and his little ill children, and so he did.
the Swallow’s plan was to leave the next day, but the statue asked him to stay a night longer and prayed to put off a sapphire from his eye and bring it to a student who hadn’t food and wood for the fire, and in these conditions he couldn’t write a play for the Director of the Theatre; so he did what the Prince asked him. The third day the statue asked him if he could bring his other eye to a match-girl whose father would have beat her if she hadn’t brought him the matches she has just let fall in the gutter. When the little swallow did so, he decided to stay forever with the Happy Prince because he was blind now, even if the winter was so cold and he wasn’t accustomed to snow.
One day the Happy Prince asked him the latest favour: to take off al the gold leaves and fly to bring it to the poor people of his city; but the little bird couldn’t resist longer to the cold, so died kissing the Prince’s lips, and his lead heart broke. When the Mayor and the Town Councillors saw the statue of the Happy Prince, they decided that he was unusual because he was shabby and dull. They melted the statue in a furnace and threw away his lead heart on the same dust-heap where the body of the Swallow was lying.
When the God asked his Angels to bring Him the most precious things in the city, they brought Him the little Swallow and the lead heart.