This is a meme hosted by me every Friday.
My post today is about: The Star-Child from the House of Pomegranates collection by Oscar Wilde.
An infant boy was found abandoned in the woods by a poor woodcutter, who took pitiy on him and took him in. The boy grew up to be exceedingly beautiful, but vain, cruel, and arrogant, believing himself to be the divine child of the stars. He made himself superior over the other children, who followed him devotedly, and took pleasure in torturing the forest animals and town beggars.
One day, a beggar with bleeding feet came to town in search of her lost son, who the Star-Child is revealed to be. However, he rejected her and sennt her away, and in doing so, was transformed into a loathsome cross between a toad and a snake. His followers abandoned him, and he set off to seek forgiveness from his mother.
He came to a city where he was captured and sold into slavery. His master treated him cruelly. On his first task, he sent him to find a piece of white gold hidden in the forest. The Star-Child searched all day, but couldn't find it. On returning to the city, he saw a rabbit caught in a trap and stopped to free him. In gratitude, the rabbit showed him where the gold was and the Star-Child got it. However, returning with the gold, a beggar called to him that he would surely starve unless he could give him money for food. The Star-Child gave him the gold, and his master beat him and denied him food and water that night.
For the second task, he was told to go find a piece of yellow gold hidden in the forest. Again, the rabbit showed him where it was, and again, the beggar met him at the gate, and again, the Star-Child gave him the gold. His master beat him and chained him up.
For the final task, his master told him that unless he found the hidden piece of red gold, he would kill him. The rabbit showed him where the gold was hidden, and he returned to the city with it. Along the way, he again met the beggar and gave him the gold, deciding it meant more to him.
Upon entering the city, everyone awaited him to crown him the new king, and he discovered the city's present rulers to be his mother, the beggar woman, and his father, the beggar he had given the gold to. At that point also, he was transformed to his former beautiful self. At the story's end, we are told of his kind, loving, and charitable reign, but that it only lasted for three years, and the king that followed him was cruel and evil.
This is a true fairy-tale. It features a hero who must learn his lesson the hard way. He has to perform three tasks to be awarded and he is helped by an animal he had saved. The ending is sad, what with the ruler after him being a cruel man, but the main point is that the hero became the man he was set out to be.