In The FOoTsTEps oF: OsCaR WiLDe’s tHe HaPPy PrINce

The Tortoise and the Snail.
The Tortoise was a member of the Animal Kingdom, and the in-law of the snail. The Tortoise was a clever and crafty animal. One day, they quarreled and the Tortoise wanted to teach the Snail a lesson, and so, he decided to make a fool out of the Snail. The market was a large place with a lot of people going and coming, and the Tortoise felt this was the perfect place to enact his revenge on the Snail. One morning, he called on the Snail, and asked he go to the market with him and his tortoise family. When they got to the busy market, the Tortoise tied up the snail on a tree. He then told the other tortoises to hide in the bush behind the tree and that when anyone comes around wondering why the snail was tied up on the tree, they should jump out and they tell them all the snail did to him. And sure enough, animals came around wondering why the tortoise was tied on the tree, and the other tortoises would jump out and tell them what the snail had done.
The animals would then say “Bad Snail, how could you do such a thing?”
However, after an hour, the animals saw that the tortoise was still tied up on the tree and they wished he be brought down, that he had learnt his learning. The Tortoise learnt this but did not want to release the snail for he enjoyed the way the other animals treated the snail. So he left the snail there and the next morning when the animals got to the market, they saw the snail was still there. They were appalled and took the snail down. Then they turned to chide the tortoise, saying what he did was too much. And like that, the snail was back in their good graces while the tortoise was seen as the bad animal.

——

I chose to write an imitation on Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince. This is a fable tale which has a moral so I decided to write a fable too. However, my tale does not stress the importance of friendship. I decided to do the opposite with my story and made the two animal antagonistic towards one another. This is a deviation of the original idea and moral but saying that, this imitation does have its own moral. Its to never do things in excess or there will be repercussions. This imitation is good because it brings something entirely new. When one imitates, you do not copy the original idea as a whole but rather build on the original creating a different version. We see this in books like Heart of Darkness and Things fall apart. The latter imitates the former and brings something new to the table. The imitation is like a direct response to the original tale. What if you have a tale where the Prince and Swallow are not friends? All in all, the imitation adds diversity and makes you perceive the original tale in a different way.

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