16 December 2020

The birthday of the infanta

One of my favorite stories to read, or at least remember during Christmas is The Birthday of the Infanta by Oscar Wilde. In this post I noted how the Dwarf's first gaze at the mirror is one dramatic image I won't forget.

Last week I reread it and, as they say, you know it's a good story when it feels like you're reading it for the first time even if you already know what's going to happen.

This week on my podcast, I further explained why I associate this rather sad story with Christmas. I also tucked in my little holiday wish for those who are thoughtful enough to read and listen to me. Let me share some modified excerpts.


I wouldn't exactly call it a "children's" story, but the main characters are children.

Which is one reason that I think about it during Christmas. You know, they say this season if for children or the child at heart. So definitely there's an element of innocence, and also the cruelty of that innocence. Because when you're a child you don’t have yet that sense of justice and politeness, civility.

So it was the birthday of the Infanta. There were lots of activities to please her. Lots of entertainment. One of the entertainers was a dwarf. The Infanta and her friends loved the dwarf, in a sense that they loved laughing at him.

Why do I go back to this story during Christmas? Because (unlike the dwarf) we are aware that this season is a fantasy.


Listen to the minicast, then tell me what your favorite Christmas story is.

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