Selflessness Amongst the Fairy Tales

After my reading of both “The Happy Prince” and “The Little Mermaid”, it’s clear to me that the main moral of both these fairy tales was selflessness. In “The Happy Prince” a swallow who has just had his heart broken decides to spend the night on a statue of a young prince that was said to be “as beautiful as a weathercock” (Wilde 254). That night the swallow discovers that the happy prince statue is actually quite sad because of the sorrow he’s witnessed from watching over the poor population of the town. Throughout the statue of the happy prince asks the swallow to strip him of the treasure, his rubies, sapphires, and fine gold leafs, that give him his beautiful appearance. Whenever the swallow would remove either of these treasures, he would then swoop down and give these treasures to the less fortunate.
In the end of “The Happy Prince” the swallow has failed to migrate to Egypt with his friends before winter and is sure his death is soon to come. As the swallow’s dying wish he asks to kiss the happy prince on the hand, but the prince refuses for he wants a kiss on the lips for he has fallen in love with the swallow (Wilde 259-260). When the swallow died the prince’s leaden heart had snapped right in two (Wilde 260). Once the mayor notices that the statue is no longer what it once was he decides to melt it down to make a new statue of himself. The entire statue had melted with the acceptation of the of the prince’s broken lead heart. After this God said “bring me the most precious things in the city” (Wilde 260). The angels then brought him the prince’s heart and the dead bird and both the prince and the swallow lived forever more in God’s kingdom.
This story is an exceptional example of selflessness. The young prince gave away his material items to better the lives of those less fortunate without hesitation. As for the swallow he performed all these good deeds because of his love for the prince knowing well enough he would die due to the arrival of winter. This same moral, to be selfless, is included in the story of “The Little Mermaid”. This is the story of a curious and adventurous mermaid. Once she comes of age, fifteen, she is allowed to visit the wondrous world above the sea. Unlike her older sisters she longs to be a human and possess an immortal soul. As the little mermaid said “ I would give the whole three hundred years I have to live, to become for one day a human being and share in that heavenly world” (Anderson 224).
In the end the little mermaid must choose to save her own life by taking the prince’s or die and turn to sea foam. With a knife in her hand and the prince that ruined her dreams in sight she is still unable to murder the prince and instead take her own life showing true selflessness (Anderson 231). Like the swallow in “The Happy Prince” the little mermaid made the ultimate sacrifice for someone she loved. Once she died she became one of the air daughters who wander the earth for three hundred years performing good deeds to form their own immortal soul so they too one day could reside in heaven. Although they gave their lives they were still rewarded with a chance at eternal happiness in God’s kingdom (Anderson 232).

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