My kids always ask me what my favourite books were when I was a child. It’s so long ago it was really hard to remember. So, I stopped and began to think. One by one they came back to me. Of course some books have been with me all of my life while others returned like old reacquainted friends bringing a smile to my face. I made a long list. I began to think what did I like the most about these books and what made them stand out? Did they make me laugh or cry? Did they make me think about things differently or ultimately change me as a person? And finally, would my kids like them too?
My first favourite childhood book was The Happy Prince & Other Tales by Oscar Wilde.
There are five short stories in this book entitled The Happy Prince, The Nightingale and the Rose, The Selfish Giant, The Devoted Friend and The Remarkable Rocket. Each one of them is incredible in their own way. The Selfish Giant has a special place in my heart but The Happy Prince is my all-time favourite short story. The Happy Prince is a statue made from gold and precious stones. From where the Happy Prince stands he sees nothing but misery in the city. A swallow comes to visit him. The swallow agrees to strip him of his gold and jewels in order to give them to the people in need. It’s so beautifully written and so sad. Over the years, I have read this story many times to my kids and it still makes one of us cry – usually me! Then, I remembered the cartoon of The Happy Prince probably watched on some rainy Saturday afternoon. As I recall, Christopher Plummer voiced the Happy Prince. I am going to root it out and show it to my kids the next rainy day that comes which I’m sure we won’t have to wait long for. We live in Ireland after all.
Oscar Wilde is still one of my favourite authors and is there not one of us that have not marvelled at his wit. So I will leave you with my favourite Oscar Wilde quote from Lady Windermere’s Fan,
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”