The Happy Prince Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, Class 9  CBSE English Chapter 5 NCERT Moments 


(Explanation, Meaning of difficult words)

Author – Oscar Wilde


Word Meaning
Column Tower
Gilded Decorated
Leaves Layers
Fine gold Pure gold
Sapphires A precious stone (gem) of blue colour
Ruby A precious stone (gem) of red colour
Glow Shine
Sword hilt Handle of a sword

In a city, a very high tower was constructed. It looked like a tower because it was very high. On this tower statue of a prince was installed. His name was Happy Prince. The statue was covered by thin layers of pure gold. The eyes of the statute were made of sapphires. At the handle of the sword, a large ruby of red colour was shining.



Word Meaning
Swallow A type of bird
Egypt Name of a country
Stayed behind Remained there while others had left

One night a swallow bird came flying to the city. Six weeks ago, his all the friends had gone away to Egypt. He was the only one to have remained at his place. Later he too had decided to go to Egypt. So he was flying alone.



Word Meaning
Put up To stay

The swallow had been flying throughout the day. He reached the city at the night. He asked himself where he should stay in the city. He hoped that the city had made arrangement for his stay. [He hoped that he would be able to find some suitable place to stay]. That time he saw the statute of Happy Prince on the tall column.



Word Meaning
Fine position Suitable position
Plenty of Lot of
Alighted Got down from flying and sat

He shouted that it would stay at that column. He thought it was a suitable place because it had lot of fresh air. So the bird got down from flying and sat between the feet of the statue of Happy Prince.



He looked around and observed that the statue was made of  gold. The bird thought that it had golden bedroom that day. He wanted to sleep. He was trying to put his head under his wings to sleep. At that time a large drop of water fell on the bird.



Word Meaning
Curious Strange
Yet Still, Inspite of, Even then

The bird thought it was a very strange occurrence. There was no cloud in the sky. The stars were clearly visible. Stars were shining brightly, even then it was raining. While he was thinking, another drop fell on him.



Word Meaning
Keep rain off Protect from rain
Determined Decided

The bird thought a statute was useless if it could not give him protection from rain. He thought of going to a chimney that would give him protection. He decided to fly away from the statue. 



Even before he could spread his wings to fly away, a third drop of water fell on him. Swallow looked up to find what was happening. He was surprised.



Word Meaning
Filled with Full of
Tear were running down Tears were rolling down
Pity Sympathy, Regret

The swallow saw that eyes of the Happy Prince were full of tears. Tears were rolling down the golden cheeks of the prince. These tears had been falling on the bird. The light of the moon was spreading everywhere. The face of the Happy Prince was looking very beautiful. Lot of sympathy was developed in his heart toward the Prince.



Word Meaning
Drench To become or make wet

The bird asked the statue who was he? The statue replied that its name was Happy Prince. The swallow asked the prince why he was crying. I have become wet because of your tears.



Word Meaning
Courtier An advisor who attends royal court of a  royal family
Indeed Certainly

The prince replied that he did not know about tears when he was alive. When he was alive he had heart of a human being but he did not know what were tears. It means that he never had sorrow in his life. He lived in a palace. In the palace it was always happiness. Sorrow did not have permission to enter. My royal advisors used to call me Happy Prince. I was certainly happy.



Word Meaning
Ugliness Unattractiveness, Bad things
Misery Difficulties, Unhappiness, Sorrow
Lead A type of metal

Prince continues to narrate.

I lived in this type of circumstances and environment. One day I died. After my death, people have installed my statute at a very high tower. Now I can see all the ugly things of my city. I can see the difficulties of citizens of my city. Now my heart is made of lead metal. But still I want to cry after seeing the scenes of ugliness and misery.



The swallow was quite surprised. He was thinking that the statute was made of gold. Now he understood that it was made of lead. But he did not express his understanding to the Happy Prince. He wanted to be polite. He did not want to make any personal remarks.



The statue of the price continued to speak. It said that at a great distance from there, he saw a poor house in a narrow street. The house has many windows. One window is open. The prince sees an old woman in the house. She is sitting near a table. She is working.



Word Meaning
Worn Tired, Shabby
Coarse Rough
Prickled Impressions made by a sharp object
seamstress Woman who makes or sews cloths, Lady Tailor
Satin A type of cloth
Maid of honour Main female servant of the queen
Ball Party, Dance

Prince continues to narrate.

The face of the woman is thin. She is looking tired. Her hands are red and rough. Her hands have lot of impressions of needles. She sews cloths. The lady is doing embroidery on a gown that is made of satin cloth. She is making flowers on that gown. This gown is for the most beautiful main female servant of the Queen. She will wear this gown at a party in the palace. 



In the corner of the room a bed is laid. A boy is lying on the bed. He is suffering from fever. The boy wants to eat oranges. But his mother does not have enough money to buy oranges. She has only river water in the house. No other food article is available in the house. Therefore the boy is crying.



Word Meaning
Fastened Tied
Pedestal A column

The Prince requests swallow to take out the ruby from handle of his sword. He requests the swallow to give the ruby to that woman. The prince says that his feet are tied to the column and he cannot move. 



The swallow says that somebody is waiting for him in Egypt. All my friends are flying across the river Nile. They are looking at the large lotus flowers. Very soon they will sleep. Meaning that shortly it will be night in Egypt.



The prince requests swallow to stay with him for one night. He request swallow to be his messenger to carry the ruby to the woman. The Prince says that the boy is very thirsty and his mother is very sad.



The swallow replied that he did not like boys. He wanted to go to Egypt. But the Happy Prince was looking very sad. So the little swallow took pity on him. The bird said that it was very cold there. But the bird agreed to stay with the Happy Prince just for one night. Swallow also agreed to be his messenger and carry the ruby to the woman. 



The Prince thanked the swallow. The swallow took out the big ruby from the hilt of sword. It started flying over the town to the house of the woman. It was carrying the ruby in its beak. 



Word Meaning
Cathedral tower Tower of the church
Angles Representatives or messenger of God
Sculptured Carved, Chiseled, Made
Passed by To cross without getting noticed

The swallow crossed the tower of the church. In this tower several marble statues of angels were made. He crossed the palace. Nobody noticed him. When he was crossing the palace, he heard the sound of dancing. A beautiful girl came to the balcony. His lover was with her.



Word Meaning
State ball Party organized by the ruler

The girl was talking to her lover. She hoped that her dress would be ready before the royal party. She had ordered that flowers should be embroidered on her gown. She thought that all lady tailors were lazy. They did not complete work on time.



Word Meaning
Tossing on his bed Changing his side in the bed, Repeatedly shifting in the bed
Feverishly Nervously

The swallow flew over the river and crossed it. In the river he saw some ships. Lights were hanging from their masts. Finally he reached the house of the poor woman. He looked into the house. The boy was again and again shifting in his bed. The mother was sleeping because she was very tired.



Word Meaning
Hopped Jumped
Beside Near
Thimble A metal piece worn on thumb while stitching a cloth.
Fanning To move to produce wind
Sank into a delicious slumber Fell asleep in a sound sleep
Slumber Sleep

The swallow jumped into the house. He put the big ruby near the thimble of the woman. Then he silently flew around the bed of the boy. He generated some wind because of movement of his wings. The boy started feeling the cool wind. He liked it. The boy thought that his health was improving. So he fell asleep in a sound sleep.



Word Meaning
Curious Strange

After that the swallow returned to the Happy Prince. The swallow explained to the Happy Prince about the work he had done. The swallow further said that it was strange that he was feeling quite warm. Although the weather was very cold.



Happy Prince told the swallow that he was feeling warm because he had done a good work. The little swallow started thinking and he feel asleep. Whenever the swallow started thinking, he felt sleepy. It was his nature.



Word Meaning
Day broke When it was morning
In high spirits In good mood, Motivated
Prospect Possibility
Steeple Tower of a church

When it was morning, he flew to the river. He took a bath. He thought that he would go to Egypt. He was in a good mood because of such possibility. He went to all the monuments of the town. For a long time he sat on the tower of the church.



Word Meaning
Moon rose Became night
Commissions Works

When it was night the swallow came back to the Happy Prince. He asked if the Prince wanted him to do any work in Egypt. The swallow said that he was about to start his journey to Egypt.



The Prince requested swallow to stay there for one more night. Swallow replied that somebody was waiting for him in Egypt.



Word Meaning
Garret Attic, Loft, A small covered area at the top floor
Leaning Bending
Bunch Group
Withered Dry, Worn out
Violets Flower of violet colour

The Prince said to the swallow that far away, at the other end of the town he could see a young man living in an attic. He is bending over his table. His table is full of papers. Near him a glass is kept. The glass has group of dry flowers. The flowers are of violet colour.



Word Meaning
Crisp Hard
Pomegranate A fruit that has red grains inside it (Anaar)
Grate Stove
Faint Weak

The Prince continues to narrate.

The prince says that hair of that young man are brown and hard. His lips are red in colour. Meaning that his lips are bleeding. His eyes are big and look tired. He is not aware of things around him. Probably he is dreaming something. He is trying to complete a play. He is writing the play because the Director of the Theatre had ordered him. He has become very cold. He does not have anything to burn in his stove. Because of hunger he has become very weak.



Word Meaning
Had a good heart Generous, Kind hearted
Playwright One who writes a play

The swallow agreed to stay for one more night. Swallow was quite generous bird. The swallow asked the Prince if he should take another ruby to the play writer.



The Prince said in a sad tone that he did not have any ruby now. Now only my eyes are with me. These eyes are made of rare sapphires. About a thousand years ago, these were brought from India.



Word Meaning
Pluck out Take out forcefully

The Prince asked the swallow to forcefully take out one sapphire. The swallow should take it to the playwright and give it to him. The playwright would sell the sapphire to a jeweller. Then he would buy some firewood to keep his attic warm. This way he will be able to complete his play.



The swallow started crying. He told the Prince that he would not be able to take out the sapphire from the eye of the Prince. Then the Prince asked the swallow to obey his order.



Word Meaning
Darted Entered quickly

The swallow took put one sapphire from the eye of the Prince.  Then he flew towards the attic of the young man. It was very easy to enter the attic because its roof had a hole. Through this hole he quickly entered and reached the room of the young playwright.



Word Meaning
Buried Hiding, Covered
Flutter Sound of wings

The young man had hidden his head (face) in his hands. Therefore he did not hear the sound of wings of the bird. After sometime, when he looked up, he noticed that a beautiful sapphire was lying on the dry violet flowers.



Word Meaning
Admirer One who admires, A fan
Harbour Place where ships come for loading and unloading

The young man said in a loud voice that he was getting appreciation for his work. He thought one of his  fans might have placed that sapphire in his room. He was happy. He decided to complete his play. Next day, the swallow flew to the harbour. 



Word Meaning
Vessel Ship
Minded Noticed

The swallow sat on the mast of a big ship. He was watching the sailors who were working on that ship. He shouted that he was going to Egypt. But nobody noticed him. When it became night he again flew to the Happy Prince.



Word Meaning
Bid goodbye To say goodbye, To inform that he was going

The swallow told the Happy Prince that he had come there to say goodbye to him. The Prince requested him to stay there for one more night.



The swallow answered that it was a cold season. Soon snow would start falling. In Egypt it is warm season. A Warm Sun would be shining on the green palm trees. Crocodiles would be lying in the mud. They would lazily look around to all the sides.



Word Meaning
Matchgirl A girl who sells match boxes
Spoiled Became useless or unfit
Gutter A drain for dirty water

The Happy Prince told that at the square in the city a girl is standing. She sells matchboxes. By mistake all her matchboxes have fallen into the gutter. Now none of those matchboxes can be used. So she cannot sell those. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money. Therefore she is crying.



Word Meaning
Stockings Long socks
Her head is bare She does not have anything to cover his head

The Happy Prince continues to speak.

She does not have socks. She does not have long socks. She does not have anything to cover her head. The Prince is trying to tell that the girl is poor. She cannot protect herself from winter. Prince requested swallow to pluck out sapphire from his other eye and to give to the girl.



Word Meaning
Stockings Long socks

The swallow agreed to stay with Prince for one more night. But he refused to pluck the other eye of the Prince. Because then the Prince would become a blind person. The Prince asked swallow to obey his orders.



Word Meaning
Darted down Quickly went
Swoop Move quickly
Slipped Placed

Therefore the swallow plucked the sapphire from the other eye of the prince. He quickly flew towards the matchgirl. She flew past the matchgirl. He placed the sapphire in the palm of hand of the girl.



Word Meaning
Bit Piece

The little girls was happy. She looked at the sapphire and shouted that it was a beautiful piece of glass. She was not able to understand that it was a jewel. She started laughing and ran to her home. The swallow came back to the Prince. He told Prince that he would always stay with the Prince.  Because the prince had become blind.



Word Meaning
Strange lands Unknown areas

The Prince requested and advised the swallow that he should go away to Egypt. The swallow refused to go and said that he would stay with the Prince forever. He slept at the feet of the Prince. Next day the swallow sat on the shoulder of the Prince. The swallow narrated stories of the areas that were not known to the Prince. It appears that the swallow had travelled a lot and the Prince had not visited those areas.



Word Meaning
Marvellous Fantastic, Surprising, Unbelieving
Suffering Hardship, Pain, Difficulties
Mystery Secret
Misery Discomfort, Agony, Pain, Troubles,

The Prince told that the swallow was telling him many fantastic things. But the most surprising and unbelieving thing was the pain of human beings.  The biggest secret of the world is the troubles of human beings. It is very difficult to understand troubles or problems of others. The Prince requested the swallow to fly over his city and to tell him what the swallow saw there.



Word Meaning
Making merry Enjoying
The rich Rich people

The swallow flew over the city. He saw that rich people were enjoying in their beautiful houses. The beggars were sitting at gates of those houses. Probably the beggars were hopeful of getting some alms. 



Word Meaning
Lane Street
Starving Hungry
Listlessly Aimlessly, Without any aim
Archway of a bridge The area below the arch of a bridge

After that the swallow flew into streets that did not have enough light. He saw some children there. Their faces were white. They were suffering from hunger. They did not have enough food to eat. They were looking in the dark street without any aim. Under a bridge two small children were sleeping. They had each other into their arms. This way they were trying to keep themselves warm.



The two children said to each other that they were very hungry. A watchman reached there. He told the children that they were not allowed to stay there. So they both moved out of the shelter. The children moved away. It was raining. So they were getting wet now. The swallow came back to the Prince and narrated him everything that he had seen.



Word Meaning
Take it off Remove it
Leaf by leaf Layer by layer
Living Human beings who are alive

The prince told that his body was covered by many layers of pure gold. The swallow should remove the gold layer by layer. He should give that gold to poor people. The prince told swallow that all human beings like to possess gold. It make them happy.



Word Meaning
Picked off Removed
Children’s faces grew rosier Children became happier
We have bread now Now we have food to eat

Layer by layer the swallow removed gold from the body of the Prince. After all the gold had been removed, the body of Prince was not shining. He looked dull and of grey colour. [Please recall that his body was made of lead which is of grey colour.] The swallow carried the gold to the poor people. The children were happy now. They had food to eat. They started playing in the street. They used to laugh now.



Word Meaning
Went about in furs Everybody was wearing warm cloths
Scarlet A type of cap usually of orange colour
Skated Played to slide on ice

After some days snow started falling from the sky. Particles of ice got frozen. The frozen snow now is called frost. Because of snow every street was looking of silver colour. Everybody was wearing warm cloths.  The little children started wearing scarlet caps. They used to skate on the frozen ice.



Word Meaning
Loved him too well Loved him too much
Crumbs Small pieces of bread
Baker’s door House of the baker
Flapping of wings Moving wings quickly

The helpless swallow started feeling colder now. It was very cold now. The swallow was not able to tolerate such cold weather.  But he did not want to leave the Prince. He loved the Prince too much. He used to go to the house of the baker. When the baker was not looking he would eat small pieces of bread from the shop. To keep himself warm, the swallow used to move his wings quickly.



Word Meaning
At last Finally, Eventually
Murmured Whispered, Spoke in a low voice

After many days of severe cold the swallow realised that he would soon die. The strength left within the bird was just enough to fly for the last time upto the shoulder of the Prince. He sat on the shoulder of the Prince. In a very low voice he said goodbye to the Prince. He requested the Prince to permit him to kiss the hand of Prince.  



Word Meaning
Glad Happy

The Prince told swallow that he was happy to know that finally the swallow was going to Egypt. You have stayed with me for a very long period of time. The Prince requested swallow to kiss him on his lips. Because the Prince loved the swallow.



The swallow told that he was not going to Egypt. He was going to House of Death. Meaning that he was about to die. He further told that death is the brother of sleep. Meaning that when someone sleeps forever, he dies.  The swallow kissed the Happy Prince on lips. The swallow fell down on the feet of the Happy Prince. He was dead.



Word Meaning
Curious Strange
Leaden heart Heart made of lead, A sad heart
Snapped Broke
Dreadful Terrible, Horrible

At that instant, a strange sound of a crack came from the statue. It appeared as if something had broken. Actually the sad heart of the statue had broken into two pieces. It was because of the terrible cold and because of the frost.



Word Meaning
Mayor A high rank officer of the city
Town councillors Person elected by people of city for governing
Shabby Ugly

Next day, early in the morning, the Mayor was taking round of the city. The Town Councillors were also with him. When they all reached near the statue, the Mayor looked up to see the statue. The mayor told that the Happy Prince was looking very ugly.



All the town councillors agreed with the Mayor. They all said in a loud voice that the Happy Prince was certainly looking ugly. They were in the habit of agreeing with the Mayor.  They went near the statue to have a better look.



The Mayor said that the ruby had fallen from the sword of the Happy Prince. He did not have eyes. Now he was not of golden colour. The Mayor further told that the Happy Prince was now looking only slightly better than a beggar. All the town Councillors agreed with him.



Word Meaning
Proclamation Order

The Mayor further told that a dead bird was lying at the feet of the Prince. We should issue an order that birds are not allowed to die near the statue. The clerk noted down the order of the Mayor.



Word Meaning
Pulled down Removed

The statue of the Prince was removed from the column. The Art Professor of the University said that now the Prince was not looking beautiful. So the statue was useless.



Word Meaning
Overseer Supervisor
Foundry Place where metal is melted and recast
Heap Stack

The statue of the Prince was given for melting. The supervisor of the foundry observed a strange situation. The heart of the broken statue was not melting in the furnace. So he decided to throw away the heart. The heart was thrown on the stack of dust. The dead swallow was also lying there.



The God asked his representative to bring two most valuable things from the city. The Angel brought the sad heart of the prince and the dead body of the swallow.


The God told the Angle that he had selected the right things. In my garden in the Paradise, the bird will always sing songs. And in my city that is made of Gold, the Happy Prince will praise me.






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