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Question 01) How did the Miller justify his not asking Hans to share some of his good things during the winter?

Ans)The Miller justified his not asking by saying that if little Hans came up, and saw their warm fire, and their good supper, and their great cask of red wine he might get envious, and envy is the most terrible sin and would spoil anybody’s nature. He certainly would not allow Hans’ nature to be spoiled.

Question 02) How did the Miller persuade Hans to carry the large sack of flour to the market?

Ans)When the Miller asked to carry the large sack of flour to the market, Hans simply excused him, as he was busy. He was all his creepers to nail up, and all his flowers to water, and all his grass to roll. However, the Miller made him realize that he was going to give Hans his wheelbarrow so; it was rather unfriendly of him to refuse. Thus, the Miller persuaded Hans by blackmailing him.


Question 03) When do we first suspect that the Miller was not really a very good friend to Hans?

Ans)When the Miller presented his idea about friendship that when people were in trouble they should be left alone and not bothered by visitors, and he was sure he was right. Therefore, he waited till the spring came, and then he paid him a visit, and expected Hans to give him a large basket of primroses which would make him so happy.


Question 04) How did the Miller justify his rebuke to Hans for staying in bed a little later than usual after his tiringexpedition to the market?

Ans)The next morning of very hot day when Hans went to sell the sack of flour, the Miller came down to get the money for his sack of flour, but Little Hans was so tired that he was in bed, the Miller angrily said that Hans was very lazy, considering that he was going to give his wheelbarrow, Hans should work harder. Moreover, he said idleness is a great sin, and he certainly did not like any of his friends to be idle or sluggish.

Question 05) Why did the Miller’s wife reveal that she was too ready to exploit the generosity of Hans?

Ans)Throughout the play, the Miller’s wife kept praising the ideas of friendship, which were nothing but the true depiction of the Miller’s selfishness. When the Miller said to his wife that he would go down and see little Hans, she exclaimed that he had certainly a good heart. She directed him to take the big basket with him for the flowers, which revealed that she was too ready to exploit the generosity of Hans.

Question 06) What was the supreme manifestation of the Miller’s selfishness, which caused Hans to lose his life?

Ans)When the Miller’s son had fallen off a ladder and hurt himself, the Miller asked Hans to fetch the doctor for him. He wanted Miller to lend him lantern, as the night was so dark that he was afraid that he might fall into the ditch. The Miller refused and said that it was his new lantern, and it would be a great loss to him if anything happened to it. This act of the Miller caused Hans death.

Question 07) What is the effect of the Miller’s disclosure that the wheelbarrow was worthless?

Ans)The Miller considered Hans’ death a great loss to him at any rate. He has asked himself why he had as good as given him his wheelbarrow, and then he really did not know what to do with that. It was in such a bad repair that he would not get anything for it if he sold it. He promised himself that he would take care not to give anything again and made his principle that one suffered for being generous.

Question 08) Why was Hans unable to look after his garden? What promise was the Miller constantly holding out before him?

Ans) Hans was never able to look after his flowers at all, for his friend the Miller was always coming round and sending him off on long errands, or getting him to help at the mill. Little Hans was very much distressed at times, as he was afraid of his flowers would think he had forgotten them, but he consoled himself by the reflection that the Miller was his best friend. “Beside,” he used to say, “he is going to give me his wheelbarrow, and that is an act of pure generosity.”

Question 08) Do you think the Miller was really a sincere and devoted friend to little Hans?

Ans)In the story, “The Devoted Friend”, Oscar Wilde has given us a clear impression that Hugh the Miller was not at all sincere to Hans. He continued to exploit the simple and innocent fellow by speaking and charming words about real friendship but he never acted as a true friend. He regularly visited the small cottage garden of little Hans and took from there baskets of flowers and fruit without making any payment. Although, in his own opinion, “Flour (business) is one thing and friendship is another and should not be confused”. He used Hans as his paid servant and it was his cruelty that caused the miserable death of poor Hans.

Question 0) Summary

Ans)Introduction of Writer

“The Devoted Friend” is written by Oscar Wilde, who is very well known writer of the 19th century. Oscar Wilde is one of the most eminent and elegant writer of the late 19th century. He became dazzlingly famous with the publication of his novel “Dorian Gray”. He was a very sophisticated and stylish writer. For all Wilde’s prose of being preoccupied with style and disclaiming any desire to make a moral commentary on life.

Introduction of Story

“What is friendship but a name, A charm that lulls to sleep. A shadow that follows wealth and fame, And leaves the wretch to weep.”[Gold smith]

Oscar Wilde has made the above lines crystal cleat by the character of Hugh the Miller who is projected as a fair-weather friend. Hugh the Miller was insincere and selfish to the core in matter of friendship. Little Hans was a symbol of sacrifice and love who was devoted to friendship to the extent of foolishness.

“The Devoted Friend” is something more than an exquisitely told little fairy-tale. It is both tender and profound in its treatment of the comically one-sided friendship between the poor Hans and the wealthy Miller. “The Devoted friend“ is a tale of two friends narrated in an ironical tone. It exposes the selfishness and insincerity of Miller and devotion, innocence and sacrifice of Little Hans. Little Hans was sincere to the core and devoted to the extent of foolishness but Miller remained a devil in the mark of an angle.


One morning a green linnet over heard the conversation between an old water-rat and the duck. The water-rat was a confirmed bachelor and valued friendship more than love. When the water-rat expressed his idea about the duties of a devoted friend, the linnet told him a story of the devoted friend. The story was applicable to water-rat. The story as told by the linnet runs briefly thus:

Once upon a time there was an honest, gentle and selfless fellow named Hans. He was kind-hearted and sincere, but he was very poor. He lived in a small cottage all by himself. He was a gardener and worked very hard in his garden and as a result his garden was always full of different varieties of beautiful flowers. The Miller named Hugh was highly self-centered, cunning and shrewd. He pretended to be the best friend of Hans and at every stage he exploited simple Hans. He always took things like fruits and flowers from Hans but gave him nothing in return. The poor Hans never expected anything in return as was contended with Miller’s jugglery of words he would speak about unselfishness of true friendship. The Miller was a smooth-tongued fellow and talked a lot about the value and importance of true friendship but he never act upon his own words. On the other hand Hans did what he could for the sake of his friend.

The Miller, which was out and out a mean and selfish person, visited Hans’s garden on all seasons except the winter in the hope of collecting fruits and flowers but he never brother to help his friend in the hour of difficulty .Miller used Little Hans as a paid servant.

The Miller’s concept and philosophy of friendship was very strange. It was not based on equal footing. He impressed simple Hans by his queer philosophy on friends and friendship. Miller took undue advantage of his simplicity. By making a false promise to give an invalid wheel barrow to Hans, Miller took all sorts of odd jobs from Hans and kept on repeating his pledge of handing over the good for nothing gift of wheel barrow and kept exploiting and using him like a porter. [Some times he would send Hans to the market to sell a heavy bag of flower and sent him to mountain with his sheep].

The supreme manifestation of Miller’s selfishness was reduced to transparency when in a stormy dark night, he sent Hans to fetch the doctor because Miller’s son had been hurt. He even refused to give him his lantern.

That stormy night proved to be the last night of Han’s life as the poor fellow fell into a pole of water when he was returning home and could not survive. Thus “Friendship” between a selfish between a selfish and a devoted friend came to an end with the death of Hans

Friendship has a sweetness of honey, deepness of sea and strength of bull. Moreover, true friendship has no room for selfishness, cruelty and exploitation. Little Hans, a personification of innocence and sincerity proved his faithfulness while Miller reached the height of selfishness. Hans laid down his life and thus wrote a lesson all in blood that nothing is nobler than being faithful and sincere to keep the tie of friendship strong.

The moral and the central idea of the story is that “It is simply inhuman to be selfish at the cost of others”. This golden principle must be strictly followed in friendship.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed.


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