Once upon a time, there was a prince in a Northern country, who used to be very happy. When he suddenly died at a very early age, the Mayor and the royal court decided to purchase a golden statue of their beloved prince that the citizens would happily pay out.
There stood a lavishly decorated statue of their beloved prince, which they became very proud of. They placed it on a white marble column, ensuring each piece of land and every subject of the kingdom were within his reach. It was a grateful white stone image of a beautiful young man, gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, sparkly bright blue sapphires eyes, and gold-leaf-covered curly hair. He was dressed up with stunning diamond-encrusted apparel; he wore jet-encrusted shoes with shiny silver bucklers carefully crafted. And he was holding a golden sword, with a large red ruby glowing on its hilt.
It was Christmas time, and a little Swallow had been left behind by the flight of swallows during migration to Southern countries in autumn, for he had gotten in love with a Reed. As the time went by, he realized the Reed was very attached to her home, the river. On the contrary he missed travelling, and felt lonely. Then he decided to fly South. He flew all day long, and at night-time he alighted at the feet of the statue of the happy prince. But just as he had fallen asleep, a drop of water fell on him, a curious thing, as the night was clear. Then another drop fell down. ‘I’d better look for somewhere else to spend the night’ - said the Swallow. And, as he was opening his wings to fly away, he looked up and saw tears running down the golden cheeks of the happy prince.”Why are you weeping, being so happy and beautiful? Aren’t you the happy prince?”-asked the Swallow.”I cry because when I was alive I did not know what sorrow was, and I never cared what was beyond the palace”,” I cry because now that they set me up here so high, I can see people´s pain, grief and unhappiness”. “I cry because it´s too late for me to pass fair laws that would help the poor subjects of my kingdom”.”Look, come over my shoulder, can you see that poor hut down the hill?”-said the prince. “Yes, I saw it this morning while I was flying over“-replied the bird”. “There lives a seamstress, whose little son is very ill. She has nor medicines, neither food for him. Now look, can you see that badly drained farm by the riverside? It belongs to a seven children widow farmer, whose flock of sheep and goat died of a dangerous disease. Can you see those children lying under the archway of the bridge? They just have themselves to keep warm. Can you see that writer? He can´t finish his novel as his house is too cold and he has no wood for the fireplace. He soon won´t have a place to live anymore.
“Would you pluck the ruby out of my sword-hilt and give it to the seamstress for Christmas?”, “I´m sorry”- said the Swallow. ”It may snow pretty soon, and I must be going South”. “Swallow, little swallow, would you stay with me just one night, and be my messenger? –required the prince.”All right, but just one night, then I must go, it is getting very cold, and I miss the Southern countries”. The swallow delivered the ruby for Christmas. Thank you swallow; ”would you pluck one of the sapphires out of my eyes and take it to the farmer for Christmas?”. And his friend helped him. ”Thank you Swallow; now, would you take each silver buckler, and give them to the children under the bridge?” And so he did. “Thank you Swallow”; “would you pluck out the other sapphire and give it to the writer for Christmas?”-continued the prince.”I can´t do that, Prince, you wouldn´t be able to see any more”.”I command you to, Swallow”-ordered the prince. And the swallow plucked the sapphire out and brought it to the writer.
As the morning came the swallow flew back with the Prince. ”You must leave now, it is getting too cold, and it may snow pretty soon”-said the prince.”No, I can´t leave you now that you are blind. I´ll stay with you, and be your eyes tonight”. The Swallow stayed and helped to deliver pieces of the wealthy statue to the poor people, until it was stripped of every treasure. And it started to snow and the Swallow fell asleep and died at the feet of the statue of the Happy Prince. Then the lead heart of the statue broke down. And the next morning, when the Mayor and the royal court saw the poor statue, they decided it was ugly and sad and the pulled it down.
Mercedes Martín Panero. Advanced level. Year 2