The Happy Prince

A reimagining of Oscar Wilde’s far less animated prince …

By Aubrey Beardsley

High above the city, on a tall column, stood the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with IMG_2352beautiful locks of fine gold, two beautiful chocolate gems for eyes, and a sparkly collar adorned with exquisite jewels.

He was very much admired indeed. “He is as beautiful as any sheepdog,” remarked his best friend, Huw Le Lytle, “only not quite so useful as we do not have any sheep.” “He is the most beautiful dog I have ever seen,” exclaimed one of his many fans as they passed by. “How does he scale such incredible heights?” remarked another. “Look at that enormous smile!” beamed yet another.

“Why can’t you be like the Happy Prince?” asked an impatient human of her little Beagle, who was baying at the moon. “The Happy Prince never dreams of crying for anything.”

“I am glad there is someone in the world who is quite happy,” grumbled a troubled little Dachshund, who did not have any prospects of leaping that high.

“He looks just like an angel,” said all the children in the park.

“How do you know?” said a cynical human with an utterly impoverished imagination, “you have never seen one.”

“Ah! but we have,” said the children. “On Netflix!” And the cynical human’s eyes filled with despair, for he did not approve of children watching cable television.

One day the Happy Prince and Huw Le Lytle were joined by a little Border Terrier cross, and they called him Jefferson Airplane. Jefferson Airplane was left behind after his humans went on holiday. And so he came to live with the Happy Prince.

But there was still more sadness in the world.

“Far away,” said the Happy Prince, “far away in a magical place called Wales, there is a little white dog whose face is sad and all he wants is a home of his own.”

“Let’s share with him our ribbies,” said the Happy Prince.

Jefferson Airplane was astonished. “Dear Prince,” said Jefferson Airplane, “are you sure we can do that?” and he began to weep.

“Of course we can,” said the Happy Prince. “We have more than enough ribbies to share.”

So Human was sent on a long journey to collect the little white dog and he came to live with the Happy Prince and share all the ribbies. And he became known as Howard Spring.

The Happy Prince, Huw Le Lytle, Jefferson Airplane, and Howard Spring had all once been discarded on a dust-heap.

But they were in fact the most precious dogs in the land. And now they live together, and will sing for evermore, in the palace of ribbies.


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