This book consists of five short stories intended for children (sort of), though whether they are or not for children is exactly what I'm going to write about today. But I will write about only three of them. I cannot find it in my heart to read The Devoted Friend again and not interested to read Remarkable Rocket. So, here are three of the five.
The Happy Prince
This story is about a statue of a prince that was sad because he couldn't help the people in the city. As the winter approached, he met a swallow who agreed to help him day after day. The prince sacrificed himself for people's sake, losing his eyes and the gold that covered his body to help the poor. The swallow had so great affection for the prince that he wouldn't leave him alone. Unfortunately, the people show little gratitude for what the prince had done for them.
I would recommend this story for kids above 12 y.o. The nature of the story might be less appropriate for younger readers.
Nightingale and the Rose
The story is about a young scholar who was in love with a girl – his professor's daughter – and wanted to ask her to be his dancing partner. But she said she would dance with him only if he could get her a red rose. A nightingale overheard this and was resolved to get a rose for him. The nightingale tried to find the rose but couldn't. Then she learned that the only way to get a red rose Is by sacrificing her life. She did that, claiming that “love is better than life”. In the morning, the scholar got his red rose and presented it to his lady. But she refused it, saying that another guy had given her a jewel, therefore she would dance with him instead. The scholar threw the rose away and was determined not to love again.
Almost like the Happy Prince, this story is far from happy ending story, and also only appripriage for older children, I'd say 12 y.o.
The Selfish Giant
The story is about a giant living in a castle. At first he didn't want to let the children play in his garden, but he got all year long winter and the other seasons didn't want to visit his garden. One day, he saw children playing in his garden and thought it was beautiful. He realised what a selfish person he had been all along. He saw a child trying to climb a tree but couldn't, so he helped him, and the child thanked him and kissed him. Although from that day onwards he let the children play, he never saw again the kid who had kissed him. Before he died, the kid returned, and asked him to join him in Paradise.
I truly love this story. Perhaps it is the most suitable for children of youngest age. I'd say kids from 5 y.o onwards can read the story without any damage done to their mind or heart.