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There’s something offbeat and quirky about Oscar Wilde that I’m beginning to like. He gets better with each story. I admit I wasn’t sure about him when I read “The Fisherman and His Soul”, but now I’ve read “The Remarkable Rocket” and I might become a fan.
The story starts out as a typical fairy tale with a Princess marrying a Prince. The quirkiness begins with the Prince’s father (that would be the King) doubling his servant’s salary of zero – “but it was still an honor”. As the wedding festivities continue, the King explains the firework presentation. The princess had never seen fireworks before.
It’s at this point that the story takes an odd (but likeable) turn to the fireworks, themselves. Making the fireworks anthropomorphic, Wilde gives the reader a glimpse into this little community made up of Squibs, Catherine Wheels, Roman Candles and last, but not least (at least not in his mind), a Remarkable Rocket.
The contrast between the Rocket’s arrogance and the rest of his world’s refusal to accept his arrogance provides for most of the humor in the story. The Rocket’s high and mighty attitude toward himself would be just plain annoying if it wasn’t for the Squibs and Catherine Wheels and Roman Candles who completely ignore his uppity mindset. They bring the Remarkable Rocket to the point of being almost dillusional – well, to everyone but himself. This was one of the funnier pieces of unwanted advice that the Rocket gave his friends:
It is a very dangerous thing to know one’s friends.
I’m curious as to whether this story was ever made into a movie or rather an animated short. While it seems the type of story that screams “make me a cartoon”, I’m not sure that a film would necessarily capture the humor Wilde put into the story. But I would still watch it.