Dedicated to Mrs. William H Grenfell of Taplow Court (Lady Desborough)
The Birthday of the Infanta is about a hunchbacked dwarf, found in the woods by courtiers of the King of Spain. The hunchback's father sells him to the palace for the amusement of the king's daughter, the Infanta, on her twelfth birthday.
Her birthday is the only time she is allowed to mingle with other children, and she much enjoys the many festivities arranged to mark it, especially the Dwarf's performance. He dances, as he did in the woods, thoroughly unaware of his audience's laughing at him. She insists on his performing a second time for her after dinner.
The Dwarf mistakenly believes that the Infanta must love him, and tries to find her, passing through a garden where the flowers, sundial, and fish ridicule him, but birds and lizards do not. He finds his way inside the palace, and searches through rooms hoping to find the Infanta, but finding them all devoid of life.
Eventually, he stumbles upon a grotesque monster that mimicks his every move in one of the rooms. When the realization comes that it was his own reflection, he knows then that the Infanta did not love him, but was laughing out of mockery, and he falls to the floor, kicking and screaming. The Infanta and the other children chance upon him and, imagining it to be another act, laugh and applaud while his flailing grows more and more weak before he stops moving altogether. When the Infanta demands more entertainment, a servant tries to rouse him, only to discover that he has died of a broken heart. Telling this to the Infanta, she speaks the last line of the story "For the future, let those who come to play with me have no hearts."
|File size:||279 KB|
|Age Range:||6 Years|
About the Author
Born in Ireland in 1856, Oscar Wilde was a noted essayist, playwright, fairy tale writer and poet, as well as an early leader of the Aesthetic Movement. His plays include: An Ideal Husband, Salome, A Woman of No Importance, and Lady Windermere's Fan. Among his best known stories are The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Canterville Ghost.
Date of Birth:October 16, 1854
Date of Death:November 30, 1900
Place of Birth:Dublin, Ireland
Place of Death:Paris, France
Education:The Royal School in Enniskillen, Dublin, 1864; Trinity College, Dublin, 1871; Magdalen College, Oxford, England, 1874