•The Giant’s garden was beautiful, and children loved to play in it.
• The Giant, who was selfish, built a high wall round his lovely garden.
• Childr en did not enter the gar den thereafter. Nor did Spring and
Summer till the Giant experienced a change of heart.
E VERY afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children
used to go and play in the Giant’s garden. It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. Here and
there over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there were twelve peach-trees that in the springtime broke out into delicate blossoms of pink and pearl, and in the autumn bore rich fruit. The birds sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children used tostop their games in order to listen to them. “How happy we are her e!” they cried to each other .
One day the Giant came back. He had been to visit his friend,
the Cornish ogre, and had stayed with him for seven years. Whenhe arrived he saw the children playing in the garden. “What are you doing here?” he cried in a very gruff voice, and
the children ran away.
Cornish ogre: a giant of Cornwall (in the U.K.) ogre: (in legends and fairy stories) a cruel
giant who eats people; (in common usage) a very frightening person
gruff: rough; surly
The Selfish Giant3
It so happened…1818
“My own garden is my own garden,” said the Giant; “anyone can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself.” So he built a high wall all round it, and put up a notice-board:
TRESP ASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED
He was a very selfish Giant.
The poor children had now nowhere to play. They tried to play
on the road, but the road was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they did not like it. They used to wander round the high wallswhen their lessons wer e over, and talk about the beautiful gar den
inside. “How happy we wer e there!” they said to each other .
Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little
blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant itwas still winter . The birds did not car e to sing in it as ther e were no
trespassers: those who enter somebody’s land/property without his/her permission
prosecuted: tried in a court of law (here, punished)
The Selfish Giant19
children, and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower put its head out from the grass, but when it saw the notice-board itwas so sorry for the children that it slipped back into the groundagain, and went off to sleep. The only people who were pleased werethe Snow and the Frost. “Spring has forgotten this garden,” theycried, “so we will live here all the year round.” The Snow covered upthe grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all thetr ees silver . Then they invited the North W ind to stay with them,
and he came. He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all day aboutthe garden, and blew the chimney-pots down. ”This is a delightfulspot,” he said, “we must ask Hail on a visit.” So the Hail came.
Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of the castle till hebroke most of the slates, and then he ran round and round thegarden as fast as he could go. He was dressed in grey, and hisbreath was like ice. “I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming,” said
the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at hiscold, white gar den; “I hope ther e will be a change in the weather .”
But the Spring never came, nor the Summer . The Autumn gave
golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant’s garden she gavenone. “He is too selfish,” she said. So it was always Winter there,and the North Wind and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snowdanced about through the trees. One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard
some lovely music. It sounded so sweet to his ears that he thoughtit must be the King’s musicians passing by. It was really only alittle linnet singing outside his window, but it was so long sincehe had heard a bird singing in his garden that it seemed to him tobe the most beautiful music in the world. Then the Hail stopped
dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and adelicious per fume came to him thr ough the open casement. “I
believe the Spring has come at last,” said the Giant; and he jumpedout of bed and looked out.
Snow, Frost, North Wind, Hail: All these have been presented as characters or persons.
North Wind is the chilly wind, and Hail is the hailstorm
linnet: a brownish songbird
found in Europe
casement: window that opens on hinges like a door
1.Why is the Giant called selfish?
2. On one occasion the children said: “How happy we are here!”
Later they said: “How happy we were there!” What are they referring to in both the cases?
3. (i)When spring came, it was still winter in the garden. What does winter stand for or indicate here?
(ii) Winter has been presented like a story with its own characters andtheir activities. Describe the story in your own words.
4. Was the Giant happy or sad over the state of the gar den?
5 . What effect did the linnet’s song have over Hail and the North Wind?
• To celebrate the return of the children, trees covered themselves with birds and blossoms.
• The Giant was delighted to see his friends back, especially a littleboy whom he loved dearly.
• The little boy soon disappear ed only to return much later .
He saw a most wonder ful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the
children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see there was a little child. And thetrees were so glad to have the children back again that they hadcovered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently
It so happened…20
stole up: came quietly without being noticed
The Selfish Giant21
above the children’s heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up throughthe green grass and laughing. It was a lovely scene. Only in onecor ner it was still winter . It was the farthest cor ner of the garden,
and in it was standing a little boy. He was so small that he couldnot reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was wandering allround it, crying bitterly. The poor tree was still covered with frostand snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it.”Climb up, little boy!” said the T ree, and it bent its branches down
as low as it could; but the boy was too tiny. And the Giant’s heart melted as he looked out. “How selfish I
have been!” he said; “now I know why the Spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then Iwill knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children’splaygr ound for ever and ever .” He was really very sorry for what
he had done. So he crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly,
and went out into the garden. But when the children saw him theywere so frightened that they all ran away, and the garden becamewinter again. Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were sofull of tears that he did not see the Giant coming. And the Giantstole up behind him and took him gently in his hands, and put him up into the tree. And the tree broke at once intoblossom, and the birdscame and sang on it, andthe little boy stretched outhis two arms and flung them round the Giant’s neck, and kissed him.And the other children,when they saw that theGiant was not wicked anylonger , came running
It so happened…22
back, and with them came the Spring. “It is your garden now, little children,” said the Giant, and he took a great axe and knockeddown the wall. And when the people were going to market at twelveo’clock they found the Giant playing with the children in the mostbeautiful garden they had ever seen.
All day long they played, and in the evening they came to the
Giant to bid him good-bye. “But where is your little companion?” he said; “the boy I put into
the tree?” The Giant loved him the best because he had kissed him. “We don’t know,” answer ed the children. “He has gone away.”
“Y ou must tell him to be sur e and come tomorrow,” said the
Giant. But the children said that they did not know where he lived,and had never seen him before; and the Giant felt very sad. Every after noon, when school was over , the children came and
played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved wasnever seen again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, yethe longed for his little friend, and often spoke of him. “How I wouldlike to see him!” he used to say. Years went by, and the Giant gr ew very old and feeble. He could
not play about anymor e, so he sat in a huge ar mchair, and watched
the children at their games and admired his garden. “I have many
The Selfish Giant23
slay: kill nay: no
beautiful flowers,” he said; “but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all.”
One winter morning he looked out of his window as he was
dressing. He did not hate the winter now, for he knew that it wasmerely the Spring asleep, and that the flowers were resting. Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder and looked and looked.
It certainly was a marvellous sight. In the farthest corner of thegarden was a tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Itsbranches were golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, andunderneath it stood the little boy he had loved. Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and out into the garden.
He hastened across the grass, and came near to the child. Andwhen he came quite close his face gr ew red with anger , and he said,
“Who hath dared to wound thee?” For on the palms of the child’shands were the prints of two nails, and the prints of two nails wereon the little feet. “Who hath dared to wound thee?” cried the Giant; “tell me, that
I may take my big sword and slay him.”
It so happened…24
Discuss the following topics in groups.
1. The little child’s hands and feet had marks of nails. Who does the child r emind you of? Give a r eason for your answer.
2. Is ther e something like this gar den near where you live? Would
you like one (without the Giant perhaps) and why? What wouldyou do to keep it in good shape?
•Selfless love involves suffering for others.
•Owning things is human; sharing them is divine.
“Nay!” answered the child: “but these are the wounds of Love.” “Who art thou?” said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him,
and he knelt before the little child. And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, “Y ou let me
play once in your garden; today you shall come with me to mygarden, which is paradise.” And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the
Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.
1. (i)The Giant saw a most wonderful sight. What did he see?
(ii) What did he realise on seeing it?
2. Why was it still winter in one cor ner of the garden?
3. Describe the first meeting of the little boy and the Giant.
4. Describe their second meeting after a long interval.
5. The Giant lay dead, all covered with white blossoms. What does this sentence indicate about the once selfish Giant?
Who art thou?: Who are you?