Short Stories » The Selfish Giant

The Selfish Giant – A Short Story By Oscar Wilde

Short story by Oscar Wilde

Long ago, there was an exquisite garden which not only had lively trees, but also had a collection of flowers that gave out a wonderful fragrance. The birds that used to regularly visit the garden sang the most melodious songs. It was truly a lovely garden.

There were some children who regularly played in this beautiful garden. It was their play area, where they used to spend some lovely afternoons after school and the even more time during holidays. The birds that lived in this magnificent garden, used to sing melodious tunes, which even made the kids stop their games and listen to them.

However, there was a truth that no one knew, not until the day when a giant, returned one day. The garden, in fact, belonged to the giant who had gone away for a long time, and no one knew about him. At times the little ones used to talk among themselves, wishing that the owner never returned.

One day, the kid’s fears came true as the owner of the garden returned.

The owner, a big fat giant, came back stamping his feet with a loud thud. The children playing in the garden felt themselves being lifted from the ground and back as the sound got stronger.

When the giant saw kids playing in his garden, he became very angry and then built a huge wall all around it and put a notice board, which said that any trespasser will be punished.

The selfish giant had closed the door on the kids. They would come back from school, and would talk about the garden. The children were sad and wished that the giant had never returned.

Then spring came, beautiful flowers bloomed everywhere. An array of colors was spread all over the country, but what was the garden like, no one could see.

The reality was that spring did not visit the garden this time. It was still winter in the selfish giants’ garden. The trees had forgotten to blossom and the birds were in no mood to sing. Even the little flowers were so annoyed with the sign to ban children from coming in, that they slipped back into the ground, as they were as sad as they could be.

The only ones who were happy were snow and frost. Having the whole space to them, both were happy to be up in spring. They thought that spring had overlooked this garden, and considered themselves as the undisputed master of the now “frozen” garden.

The snow had painted everything white and the frost had turned all the trees silver. Both rulers of this white world now invited the north wind, who came roaring in furs and moaned over the garden day in and day out. He roared so much that he blew all the chimney- pots down. And, if this was not enough, one day the north wind had an idea. Since we are having so much fun here, is it not a good idea that we invite hail.

Then came Hail, dressed in grey with icy cold breadth. Every day for hours, it rattled on the roof on the roof of the castle, until most of the slates on the roof were broken. He ran and ran, around the garden like the fastest roller coaster ride, casting havoc on the once beautiful garden.

One day the giant heard lovely music while lying on his bed. He thought that it must be some of the king’s musicians, who were passing by the garden.

However, as the giant went towards the window, he saw a bird singing. He thought that spring had finally arrived and even a little bird’s song, felt like the most melodious music in the world to him.

The north wind stopped dancing, the hail stopped roaring, and a deliciously sweet perfume came to him through the open window.

The giant jumped out of his bed and looked out of the window, but what did he see?

He saw the most beautiful sight; a few children had come in through a small hole in the gardens wall.

The children were on every tree, the trees were happy that they covered themselves with flowers.

The grass was happy and so were the flowers, each one of them was waiting for the kids to come back and here they were laughing with glee at the sight of innocent children playing around the garden. The birds tweeted, as they had never done before.

However, in a corner of the garden, there was a little boy, who could not reach the branches of a tree.

The tree was still covered in snow and frost and hail was still roaring around it. The tree bent its branches to help the boy climb up, but to no avail. The child was too tiny to do so himself.

The giant felt guilty about his selfish behavior, and was very sorry for what he had done. I should have let the children play in my garden, he thought to himself. The giant was indeed very sorry and he decided to help the small boy.

He then proclaimed, “From now on the garden will be the children’s playground forever and ever, and I will knock down the walls of my garden, and I’ll do that for sure.”

The giant slowly went down stairs, softly opened the door, and slowly went into the garden.

All the children ran away except for the one who was crying, he could not see the garden because of his tears. The giant picked the boy up and placed him on a branch of the tree. The flowers and birds came back and so did the other children, when they saw the giant being kind to the boy. The boy hugged the giant and kissed him.

From that day on, the giant played with all the children every day, until he grew old and week, that was when he confined himself in his room and used to watch the children play.

The boy, who had kissed him, the giants’ first friend, never came back and he longed for him to come. He used to ask the other children about him, but they had the faintest clue as to who he was and where he lived.

One winter morning, the giant was getting ready, he saw the most wonderful sight from the window, the boy was standing in the farthest corner of the garden, the same boy the giant loved the most. The tree above the boy had blossoms on it and silver fruits hung from the tree.

The giant ran towards the boy and hugged him, he saw blood in his palms, the giant was angry because the boy was hurt. The giant asked the boy to name the person who hurt him and that he shall punish him.

The boy calmed him down and asked him not to worry, as they were wounds of love. An unusual calmness came on the giants’ face.

The little boy then took his hand and told the giant he was taking him to the garden of paradise.

Later, that afternoon, when the children came to play in the garden, they saw the giant lying on the ground with a calm smile on his face. On closer inspection, they realized that he was dead, his body covered with white flowers.

Image courtesy: muralmate.com


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