One of the good things to come out of the pandemic was the various ways artistic organizations came together to fundraise in a time where theaters were closed. I have lost count, for example, of how many performances of the Royal Opera House Ballet I’ve watched from the comfort of my own home.
I know it’s really an overall sad thing how un-secure (I somehow don’t think insecure was the appropriate word here, even though it probably was) artists and freelancers’ living is, but the way they came together to keep afloat during these trying times yielded results such as this audiobook produced in aid of the Royal Theatrical Fund, and I’ll be forever grateful.
I wouldn’t even have known Oscar Wilde had written fairytales if not for Audible, and having the pleasure of having them performed to be by the likes of Jeremy Irons and Dame Judi Dench was just a treat.
It turns out Wilde wrote 2 books of fairytales, which were both united in this 4 hour audiobook. It is comprised of the following tales:
- The Nightingale and the Rose: in which a romantic bird is willing to go to extreme lengths to help a boy appease his love
- The Devoted Friend: in which a rich Miller takes advantage of Little Hans in name of friendship
- The Star-Child: in which a poor man finds a beautiful child in the woods and takes him in to unexpected results
- The Fisherman and his Soul: in which a fisherman catches a mermaid but ends up ensnared himself and convinced to getting rid of his soul
- The Birthday of the Infanta: in which we follow the 12th birthday party of the princess of Spain, in a especially offensive story
- The Happy Prince: in which the statue of a prince sacrifices itself for its people with the help of a swallow
- The Young King: in which a bastard prince raised in the forest is recognized as heir at the the King’s deathbed
- The Remarkable Rocket: in which an extremely proud rocket thinks he’s better than all other fireworks
- The Selfish Giant: in which a giant wants his garden to himself
Needless to say, not a single one of these fairytales has anything remotely close to a happy ending. They’re all stories which remind us that life is unfair and people have flaws and some of those flaws are especially egregious. But it still does not mean that the good guys will win the end, because they will not.
Actually, the best description I can think of for this beautifully written collection of fairytales comes from a very old quote from Veronica Mars: “Life sucks, and then you die.”
Now excuse me which I go and watch Moana again…