I will give you my wheelbarrow. It is not in very good repair; indeed, one side is gone, and there is something wrong with the wheel-spokes; but in spite of that I will give it to you

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The Devoted Friend

In this fable, or moral tale, told by a linnet to teach a water rat some life skills, Hans is an innocent gardener and the devoted friend of a wealthy but manipulative Miller. Hans is forced to sell his own wheelbarrow to buy food during a harsh winter. The Miller offers him his broken second barrow but demands lots of favours in return. This stripping away of Hans' limited resources leaves him barely able to survive and a final 'favour' or demand by the Miller costs Hans his life when he gets lost on the moors and drowns. This dark tale is a social satire by Oscar Wilde where Hans 'the devoted friend' becomes a victim of a wealthy donor. Wilde pokes fun at a society where charity is less about love and more about ensuring that the wealthy benefit. In the end the Miller sees himself as the victim punished for his supposed generosity.

 

Read the devoted friend in full

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LISTEN TO 'WILDE STORIES' EPISODE TWO In full

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  Wilde Stories is an Athena Media production made with

 support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland,

RTÉ lyric fm and Dublin City Council.