What is the summary of "The Young King" by Oscar Wilde?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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"The Young King" by Oscar Wilde is part of a collection of short stories and fairy tales published under the name of The House of Pomegranates".  Most of the short stories in this collection have the expected traits of Wildean style in the form of epigrams and paradoxical endings, with an aim to appeal to the senses in a surprising and creative way.

The story "The Young King" is about a prince who is about to be crowned King. Yet, he never lived the life of a price before. This prince is an unclaimed son of the now dead King and, as a rule, he is the heir to the throne. Once he is brought to court, he is given all the rich luxuries of a future king.  Yet, the night before his crowning, the boy has three nightmares involving the evils of Death, Avarice, the Plague, and Fever. In these dreams the young future King is clearly told that a lot of less fortunate people had to work hard at creating his jewels, and many sacrifice their lives so that the king could have all the things he needed on time for his coronation. Hence, the day of his coronation the boy wore the robes of a peasant, a stick instead of a sceptre, and a crown made of twigs. People around him felt ashamed of him and treated him disrespectfully, saying that he is embarrasing the upper classes. Yet, by this sacrifice something seemed to take place: The sun rose, and the boy's meagre clothing seemed to shine witht he colors of the church glass. The stick grew into a beautiful vine, and in all it was as if the sacrifice showed the true beauty of his spirit. Even the bishop noticed this, and gave validity to the goodness of spirit versus the superficiality of riches.  

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