It seemed almost as if this story was meant to be told orally. It was also told in a way that seemed fairy-tale esque with repetitive language and talking flowers, trees, insects, and birds. The gist of the short story is that a student is in love with a girl. The girl told him she would only dance with him if he brought her a red rose. He agonized over not having a rose for his true love. This agonizing was heard by the animals and trees around his house and it was especially heard by the Nightingale. So the Nightingale flew around from tree to tree to find a red rose so the student could please his true love. It found a white rose tree, a yellow rose tree, and finally found a red rose tree but it was dead from the winter’s frost. To each tree the Nightingale said that for the price of a rose it would sing to the tree its most beautiful song but the red rose tree just could not flower this year. There was however a way to make it flower but it would cost the Nightingale its life. In order to make the flower blossom, the Nightingale would have to sing all night under the moon and pierce its own heart with the rose’s thorn. The song and blood of the Nightingale was the only way to make a red rose grow and bloom. The Nightingale decided that the cost of its life was worth the cost of true love so it sacrificed its life for the Student. The sacrifice was all for naught however, because when the Student presented the rose to his true love, she turned him away saying another boy had brought her jewels which were obviously worth more than that of a rose. The boy then threw the rose on the ground where it was run over by a cart. Cursing the logic of love he walked away to continue his studies.
As I said earlier, I really liked the way this story was told. It was a bit fanciful in that the animals and trees could speak to one another and a bit fair-tale-esque with talks of true love, sacrifice, and death. It is a story that could easily be memorized and retold orally.
About the Author Oscar Wilde:
Oscar Fingall O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford where, a disciple of Pater, he founded an aesthetic cult. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and his two sons were born in 1885 and 1886. His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and social comedies Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), established his reputation. In 1895, following his libel action against the Marquess of Queesberry, Wilde was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for homosexual conduct, as a result of which he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), and his confessional letter De Profundis (1905). On his release from prison in 1897 he lived in obscurity in Europe, and died in Paris in 1900. (Courtesy of Amazon.com)
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