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THE DEVOTED FRIEND

Introduction to the Author:

Oscar Wild (1856-1900) was one of the most elegent writers of the late 19th
century. He was only next to Bernard shaw (1856-1950) who took an important part in
the revival of drama in woman of No importance (1893), An Ideal Husband and the
Importance being Earnest” are his four important comedies. He was also short story
writer and poet of great merit. After Trinity College, he went oxford where he won the
newdigate Prize of English verse his journalism and his art for art sake made him a public
figure.

BACKGROUND TO THE STORY:


The writer has proverb: A friend in need is a friend indeed, in his beautifully
composed fairy tale title the devoted friend “ In this comically on sided friendship
between little Hans and big Hough the Miller, the author has expressed the selfness and
insincerity of the Miller and sincerity of little Hands. The Miller goes on reminding Hans
of the duties of a devoted drive his sheep the mountain for graing and got his barn
mended, so during such long and tiring errands, poor Hans could not look after his
garden, but he consoled himself that the Miller was his best friend and it would be
unfriendly to refuse him, besides, he was going to give him a wheel. Barrow built it fish
and mean Miller gave him nothing but empty words, and lofty ideas about true friendship
and Hans took down in his note book.
One night the Miller’s younger son fell from the ladder and got some injuries. The
Miller went to Hans and sake him to call in a doctor in place of him. Little Hans got
ready, as it was dark and storm night, so he asked the miller to lend him his lantern. But
the selfish Miller refused to give him his lantern, simply because, it was new and if it was
lost, it would be a great loss to him, Anyway, Hans set off to call in a doctor without
having lantern., On returning, little Hans lost his way to home in pitch dark and violent
storm and fell in a water pool. Thus little Hans was drowned to death. His dead body was
taken out of the water pool in the morning. The Miller’s meanness and selfishness took
innocent Hans life only for new lantern.
Such a selfish and mean approach to wards friendship on the part of the stone
hearted and greedy miller sets a leason for the rears that better to have no friend at all
than selfish one,”

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q.No.1: give character of little Hans?


Ans: AS A POOR GARDENER: little Hans is poor gardener. He earns his livelihood,
by selling flowers. He is poor, but very generous and large-hearted. He is extremely
friendly and likeable. He is kind and helpful to everyone in the village, spoke highly of
him and his, “funny round face”. Flowers are all the wealth that he possessed.
HANS SUFFERING DURING THE WINTERS: Hans enjoyed life in the spring,
summer and autumn seasons, as he had flowers in abundance. But the winter, was a
terrible season for him, as then, he, had no flowers or fruits, to sell. He suffered a great
deal, from cold and hunger, and he often had to go to bed, without any supper. Friend but
he never acts upon his own words. On this contrary, Hans does what ever he can for the
sake of his friend and sacrifices his life.

Appreciations of the Storty:


Linnet, a small song bird tells: an old water rat who has great sympathy and
beautiful sentiments for the Miller a story so toughing that there was a poor, innocent,
honest and kind, Hearted guy named Hans. He was very popular among his countrymen
for his lovely and obliging nature. He lived all alone in a small cottage He has a lovely
garden where he would grow various kinds of pretty flowers and seasonal fruits and
earned his living by selling them in the market . Hans had many friends, but the Miller
named Hugh was his best friend. The Miller was, infact, a selfish and self cantered
person. He used to say that real friends should have every thing in common. Infact, there
was a wide gap between his sayings and doing, Whatever, he argued about true
friendship,, he himself never acted upon. He would go to see the little Hans just to take
pretty flowers and fruits for all the three seasons spring, summer and autumn but in
writer, he suffered a lot from cold and hunger, for he had neither flowers nor fruits to sell
in the market for two square meal. So, the Miller never paid his visit to Hans during his
hard period of Starvation and never offered him any thing in return. Besides, he told his
wife that there was no good in his going to see the little Hans as long as the snow lasted.
He believed that the friends should be left alone in trouble and not be bothered by
visitors.
One spring, the greedy Miller went to little Hans carrying a large Basket with him
and asked Hans low he had passed the last writer. Hans told him that he had rather bad
time in that winter, because he has to sell his silver buttons of Sunday. Coat, silver chain,
big pipe and finally his wheel barrow to combat the hard time of winter season. On this,
the Miller promised him to give him his wheel., barrow, indeed outworn, but he never
kept his promise. In return, he got a quite full basket of pretty flowers and plank from
Hans on the every day of his promise. In the next few days, he made him carry a big sack
of flour to the market for sale;
HANS’ SEALFISH FRIEND: Little Hans had many friends, but the most devoted of all
the friends, was Hugh, the Miller. The Miller was a mean and selfish friend. He took
great advantage of Han’s kind nature and almost daily, took flowers or herbs and plums if
it was the fruit season. One winter, Hans almost died of starvation, but the selfish Miller,
never once called on him or helped him with money or food.
THE MILLER EXPLOITS HANS: The Miller exploits Hans’s kind nature. On the
pretext of giving Hans his wheel-barrow, he made Hans work for him, as if he was his
paid servant. The Miller is so small0hearted that he refused, to lend Hans his lantern,
when he was going to fetch a Doctor, for his son, who had hurt his leg. Hans was so
obliging that he went without it. In fact he gave his life, for the mean Miller. He got
drowned, in the pool of water,
HANS GIVES HIS LIFE FOR THE CAUSE OF FREINDSHIP:
Hans gives his life, for his cunning and greedy friend. Hans is a simple and a devoted
friend. He is a true friend. He bore all the humiliation, but never once hurt his friend. He
did not have the heart to refuse or injure the feelings of his dear friend. He is a symbol of
true friendship. Such devoted friends are rare in these days.
The Miller refused to lend him the lantern, starting that, it was his new lantern and
that it would get spoiled, in the rain.
HANS VISITS THE DOCTORS: However, Hans went without the lantern. After about
three hours, Hans finally reached the doctor’s house and asked him to visit the Miller’s
house. The doctor soon rode towards the Miller’s house, while Hans followed him, on
foot. Meanwhile, the storm and the rain grew, worse.
HANS DROWNS IN THE POOL: On his way home, Hans lost his way and fell into a
pool of water, and got drowned. Everyone was sad at Han’s death. The Miller presented
to be the saddest.
At his funeral, he shed big crocodile tears and said that, as Hans was his best
friend, he should have the best place, at the funeral. He also announced, that Little Hans
death was a great loss to him. He also said that he had almost given him the wheel –
barrow and now he did not know what to do with it.
CONCLUSION: The Miller further announced, to everyone’s disgust that in future he
would never be generous, because one suffers for being generous. The story teaches the
moral that true friendship is one; in which friends help each other.
The author laugh at the one-sided friendship between Little Hans and the Miller.
Q.No2: Why was the story of Hans and Miller, applicable to water-rat?
And: the story of Hans and Miller is applicable to water-rat because, the water-rat had
the same wicked and selfish nature like that or Miller, In the beginning of the story,
where the duck mother is suggests the duck to drown her children because they were
paying no attention towards her guidance, Secondly, the water-rat appreciated the nature
and the deeds of Miller and climbed that he had the same fine sentiments like that the
Miller, In the end, he was not at all sorry about the miserable death of poor Hans. He was
worried about the Wheelbarow of the Miller. All this indicates that he was extremely
selfish and the story of Hans and Miller was fully applicable to him.
Q.No.3: When do we first suspect that the Miller was not really a good friend to Hans?
Ans: Rich Miller came to see Little Hans in spring, summer and autumn only. He did not
meet him during the period of snow fall as there were no fruits and flowers in his garden.
It was a very difficult time for Little Hans. The Miller used to say to his wife, “”when
people are in trouble, they should be left alone and not be bothered by the visitors”. He
further claimed that he did not want to but his friend in much more trouble because he
already in trouble. So I shall pay him a visit during the spring he would be able to give a
large basket of prime roses and that will make so happy. I want to make my friend happy,
so I shall wait for the spring. These words make us feel that Miller is very cunning and
selfish fellow and he is not a good friend to little Hans.
Q.No.4: When do we first miller justify his not asking Hans to share some of his good
things during the winter?
Ans: Miller did not ask little Hans to share some of his good things during the winter
because he was selfish and greedy. He however justify his motive by saying that little
Hans was a poor man, if he came up here and saw their warm fire, good supper and great
cash of red wine, he will get jealous. He further added that jealousy is a very bad habit, it
ruins the the nature of his friend just for ordinary things. He will watch that his friend is
not led into any temptation. He said flour is one thing and friendship is another. They
must be confused tighter. There is quite different meaning of them.
Q.No5: How did the Miller’s wife revel that she was too was ready to exploit the
generosity of Hans?
Ans: The wife of Miller was full party in exploiting the simplicity of Little Hans . She
knew very well the selfish and cunning nature of her husband. She never objected about
his selfish attitude towards Little Hans. On the contrary, she encouraged her husband by
saying that he was very thoughtful about others. She said that her husband talked better
than the clergyman. In fact she was the simplicity of poor Hans. He asked her husband to
given any thing to little Hans, even in his difficult time of winter. She gave her husband a
big basket and asked to bring it full from the garden of little hand.
Q No6: How did the miller persuade Hans to carry his sack to the market?
Ans: Hans had sold out his wheel barrow the season of winter. Miller promised him to
give him wheelbarrow. So he always threatened him that he was going to give him
wheelbarrow, similarly, he asked him to carry his sack of flour to the market as he was
going to given him his wheelbarrow.
Q No7: What was the supreme manifestation of the Miller’s selfishness, which caused
Hans to lose his life?
Ans: Once it was very wild night and the wind was blowing and roaring around. The
Miller’s son had fallen off a ladder and hurt himself. He came to the house of Hans and
asked him to go far the doctor, who lived so far away in a village. Little Hans though it as
a compliment and got himself ready to bring the doctor from the other village. He
requested Miller to give his lantern, as the night was so dark that he might fall into the
ditch. The Miller was so selfish that he refused to give him his lantern as it was a new
lantern and it would be a great loss to him if things happened to it. So Hans went to bring
the doctor without lantern, which in the end resulted in his miserable death. His body was
found next day by some goatherds, floating in a great pull of water.
Q No8: Comment briefly on the Miller’s claim to have been Hans’s best friend?
Ans: Miller was a very selfish and cunning fellow. He spoke beautiful dialogue and
exploited the generosity of little Hans. He was an expert in art of talking. He could
change the meaning of any word in his own interest. He was sharp and sweet tongued
man. He kept Hans on a false promise of giving him his wheel barrow. He sent him to the
market to sell out the ask of his flour. He deputed him to mend the roof of his barn. He
directed to take his sheep to the mountains. He engaged him in various errands. Lastly he
sent him to the doctor and refused him to give his lantern, which resulted in the death of
poor Hans. He claimed to be his best friend after his death only because he wanted to
claim his garden and cottage, as Hans had no heir.
Q No9: What is the effect of the Miller disclosure that the wheel barrow was totally
worthless?
Ans: We really hate him very much when in the end we come to know that the wheel
barrow was worthless. He ruined the life of his friend just for a useless thing. He kept
him on a false promise and made fool of him for such worthless thing.
Q No10: Little Hans was never able to look after his garden at all, because Miller was
always sending him off on long errands or getting him to help him at the mill. He was
constantly holding out the promise that he was going to give him wheel arrow.