NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Moments Chapter 5 The Happy Prince
Think About It
Question 1. Why do the courtiers call the prince ‘the Happy Prince’? Is he really happy? What does he see all around him?
The courtiers called the prince ‘the Happy Prince’ because he was always happy. When he was alive, he did not know what tears were for he lived in a palace where sorrow was not allowed to enter. However, when he died and was made into a statue, he was not happy and tears flowed down his eyes on seeing the state of his city. He could see all the misery and ugliness of the city around him.
Question 2. Why does the Happy Prince send a ruby for the seamstress? What does the swallow do in the seamstress’ house?
The Happy Prince sent a ruby for the seamstress as she was extremely poor and could not feed her child who was suffering from fever.
The swallow, on being persuaded by the prince, went to the seamstress’s house. She had fallen asleep so the swallow kept the ruby on the table where the woman worked. He then flew round the bed fanning the boy’s forehead with his wings. This made the boy feel relaxed and he went to sleep.
Question 3. For whom does the prince send the sapphires and why?
The Happy Prince sent the sapphires for two people: the young writer across the city and the matchgirl.
The young writer was trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre. However, he was too cold to write anymore, there was no fire in the grate and hunger had made him faint. He sent the sapphire to the young playwright so that he could sell it to the jeweller, buy firewood, and finish his play. On seeing the sapphire, the young man felt appreciated and believed that he could finish his play.
The Happy Prince then saw a little matchgirl who was standing in the square just below him. She had let her matches fall in the gutter because of which they were all spoiled. The prince knew that her father would beat her if she did not bring home some money. When the swallow slipped the jewel into the palm of the little girl’s hand, she ran home happy and laughing.
Question 4. What does the swallow see when it flies over the city?
When the swallow flew over the city it saw the stark contrast of plenty and poverty. It saw rich men making merry oblivious to the plight of the poor down the lane. It saw the nadir of condition of poor when they are denied even a sound sleep by police patrolling the street.
Question 5. Why did the swallow not leave the prince and go to Egypt?
Since the price had given away the two sapphires of his eyes, he had become blind. Therefore, the swallow decided to stay with the prince always. It can be inferred that the swallow was so touched by prince’s kindness that he decided to stay back rather than flying to Egypt and be with his friends. What this suggests is that kind hearted people always attract friends who will stay with them forever.
Question 6. What are the precious things mentioned in the story? Why are they precious?
The precious things mentioned in the story are the leaden heart of the happy prince and the dead bird. They are precious because both the happy prince and the swallow were very kind, generous and selfless. The prince could not bear to see the ugliness, misery and suffering in his city and so gave away all his precious stones and gold to make his people happy.
Similarly the swallow sacrificed his trip to Egypt and acted as the prince’s messenger carrying the precious stones and gold to the needy spreading happiness around. When the prince was blind he still loved him so much that he never left him even though it kept getting colder and colder with winter approaching. Finally when he could no longer bear the cold he died at the feet of the statue and the statue loved him so much that its leaden heart broke into two.
That is why when God asked one of the angels to bring him the two precious things in the garden the angel took the leaden heart and the dead bird and God said that in his garden of Paradise the little bird shall sing for ever more and in the city of gold the Happy Prince shall praise God.
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