Oscar wilde 'the selfish giant'

1888
THE SELFISH GIANT

by Oscar Wilde


Every 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 spring-time 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 to
stop their games in order to listen to them. "How happy we are
here!" 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. After the seven
years were over he had said all that he had to say, for his
conversation was limited, and he determined to return to his own
castle. When he arrived he saw the children playing in the garden.
"What are you doing there?" he cried in a very gruff voice, and
the children ran away.
"My own garden is my own garden," said the Giant; "any one can
understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself." So
he built a high wall all around it, and put up a notice-board.

TRESPASSERS
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 wall when their
lessons were over, and talk about the beautiful garden inside. "How
happy we were 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
it was still winter. The birds did not care to sing in it as there
were no 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 it was so sorry for the children that it slipped back
into the ground again, and went off to sleep. The only people who were
pleased were the Snow and the Frost. "Spring has forgotten this
garden," they cried, "so we will live here all the year round." The
Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost
painted all the trees silver. Then they invited the North Wind to stay
with them, and he came. He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all
day about the garden, and blew the chimney-pots down. "This is a
delightful spot," he said, "we must ask the Hail on a visit." So the
Hail came. Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of the
castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran round and
round the garden as fast as he could go. He was dressed in grey, and
his breath 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 his
cold white garden. "I hope there will be a change in the weather."
But the Spring never came, nor the Summer.