BBC Radio 7, 26 December 2009
Read by John Moffatt, this tale told the story of the happy prince and
the swallow; and how both understand the virtues of devotion and self-sacrifice. In their efforts to help the poor and needy,
they end up by destroying themselves: the statue collapses, while the swallow falls down dead, having stayed too long in a
snowy climate rather than following his traditional ritual of flying to warmer climes. However they are both taken by angels
into the sight of God, into a Nirvana where the bird shall sing forever and the prince will remain forever happy. Meanwhile
in the physical world down below, the mayor and his corporation will continue to live in a state of ignorance and vanity,
as they decide to replace the prince's statue with one of the mayor himself.
Oscar Wilde's tale is at once tragic yet uplifting, reminding us of the Christmas
spirit of concern for others and devotion to the Lord. Maybe we should think of that more instead of stuffing our faces with
platefuls of turkey and Christmas pudding.