One of my favourite authors of English literature is Oscar Wilde. People tend to remember him as a nonconformist homosexual, but this overlooks the great moral power of his writings. His unorthodoxy was reflected in his stories for children, which instead of being pallid happily-ever-after fairy tales, they instilled strong social conscience, self-sacrifice and the message that there are greater things in life than wordily happiness.
Personally, I will always remember two of his stories - the Happy Prince and the Selfish Giant. I was a boy who was looking for a medieval story of knights and dragons, when I mistakenedly borrowed one of his books from the library. I was overcome by a strange combination of heartbreak and inspiration by these two stories.
The messages are universal, and there are many in these stories.