The Selfish Giant

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 here?’ 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 round it, and put up a notice-board.


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.

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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. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant’s garden she gave none. ‘He is too selfish,’ she said. So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind, and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced 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 thought it must be the King’s musicians passing by. It was really only a little linnet singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open casement. ‘I believe the Spring has come at last,’ said the Giant; and he jumped out of bed and looked out.

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What did he see?

He saw a most wonderful 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 the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the children’s heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing. It was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still Winter. It was the farthest corner of the garden, and in it was standing a little boy. He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was wandering all round it, crying bitterly. The poor tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it. ‘Climb up! little boy,’ said the Tree, and it bent its branches down as low as it could; but the little 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 I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children’s playground 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 they were so frightened that they all ran away, and the garden became Winter again. Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he died not see the Giant coming. And the Giant stole up behind him and took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree broke at once into blossom, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant’s neck, and kissed him. And the other children, when they saw that the Giant was not wicked any longer, came running back, and with them came the Spring. ‘It is your garden now, little children,’ said the Giant, and he took a great axe and knocked down the wall. And when the people were gong to market at twelve o’clock they found the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.

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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,’ answered the children; ‘he has gone away.’

‘You must tell him to be sure and come here to-morrow,’ 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 afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for his first little friend, and often spoke of him. ‘How I would like to see him!’ he used to say.

Years went over, and the Giant grew very old and feeble. He could not play about any more, so he sat in a huge armchair, and watched the children at their games, and admired his garden. ‘I have many 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 was merely 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 the garden was a tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were all golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath 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. And when he came quite close his face grew red with anger, and he said, ‘Who hath dared to wound thee?’ For on the palms of the child’s hands were the prints of two nails, and the prints of two nails were on the little feet.

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‘Who hath dared to wound thee?’ cried the Giant; ‘tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him.’

‘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, ‘You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, 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.

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15 thoughts on “The Selfish Giant”

  1. Salauddin Jewel

    Thanks Razib vaia. It’s a very useful section for reading practice. Hope you will add more interesting part for our betterment

  2. Outstanding story written by Oscar wilde. At first The Giant represents selfishness and he was too selfish person. He did not tolarate others on his garden. Never he want to allow anybody in his graden. He seemed that he was powerful. His selfishness was really nice traits for revealing inner meaning of this story. Selfishness is a very bad chracteristics for human. It is not good. We have to see that on this story finally Giant understood that selfishness is not good. For his selfishness his garden became destroy and spring did not come even summar was absent. When he loves the children spring has come in his garden. As a people we should be good human being as well as try to love all.

  3. Sir, it is so long part story ..there were some unknown words of mine ..i read it within 20 minute and understand clearly …Really every baby is angel of us from Allah we should love them..thanks a lot sir…please pray for me

  4. I had read it when I was in class 4 and may be it was in Bengali textbook.
    Really, I’m feeling pleasure to read it again.
    children are angles in he world.
    The whole nature like them , the season, the birds, people all like them very much.
    We should not make rude behave to our children.
    They are innocent.

  5. So nice the story the Selfish Giant. Once The Giant was very cruel to the children. But his garden became vacant of flowers, no birds come to chirping. always gloomy everywhere.
    But he noticed when the children playing in the garden, his garden again full of joys.He understood only for his misbehaved , the occurrence happened.
    So next time he never forbid them to playing in the garden. In this way the children & the Giant passing their time.but when he became old he had gone forever. So sad happened at last.

  6. It’s a wonderful story. During my childhood, it was included in my textbook. But I got a little bit more here that the tiny biy was aan aangel..
    A selfish Giant turns into a good friend of the children when he has come to know his fault. He was so rude to the children. So, nature treated him the same way. It refused to bring the spring. Apparted the trees from bloosms, beaing fruits and resist the birds to sing song to the Giant’s garden.

    When a peraon regrates for his wrong doing, his heart becomes changed. He becomes good person from a wicked one. I enjoyed it reading. some words are new too me but I could anticipate them during reading. 🙂 Thanks a lot.

  7. I have read this story of ‘ the selfish giant’ in my school life. Now, once again I re-called my memory by reading in this website. Indubitably, it’s a wonderful story which tell us to be kind and gentle. In addition, good deeds always get rewarded. Word meaning of this story is given below. Hope new reader will find it useful.
    The Selfish Giant
    Gruff বিষাদময়
    TRESPASSERS অনাধিকার-প্রবেশকারী
    PROSECUTED অভিযুক্ত
    Nowhere কোথাও না
    Wander চরা
    Frost তুষারপাত
    Cloak আস্তরণ
    Fur পশম
    Hail শিলাবৃষ্টি
    Rattled খড়খড় শব্দ করা
    Slate সিলিট্-পাথর
    Linnet বাদামী বা ধূসর পালকযুক্ত ইউরোপবাসী একজাতীয় পাখি
    Crept অলক্ষিতভাবে প্রবেশ করা
    Flung প্রক্ষিপ্ত
    Hastened দ্রুত চলা
    Thee তোমাকে
    Hath করেছে

  8. Arifur Rahman

    First time I read this story from here and enjoyed too much this story.The selfish giant showed his selfishness to little children for that his garden did not come summer and he felt so depressed.And finally the giant died accidently and free from all of things.

  9. Alira Tanjira Alme

    In here the children was the best zip of natural beauty and merry. ..The selfish giant try to give some rude behaviour who are playing in his garden. ..
    when the children play in the garden its looking so serene and rejoice …
    but for selfish attitude of giant the poor children can’t place here and without them the garden also become lifeless ..
    by the passing of time the selfish man understand his fault and time after time the garden decorated nicely. finishing part of the story is do attractive. ..
    just amazing

  10. Loneliness naiym

    Really outstanding!
    I had read this story in my primary level. It seems to me in the class four I had read this story.But I had read it maybe in the high school life too..Because there came story writing.I love this story.
    Thank you so much sir.Because here you have written whole story but we never read the whole story. Because in the middle some things were missing when u read it before.
    First of all,the giant was so angry. But gradually he understood the matter of staying all the year winter. And oneday when the boys came to play in his garden then he looked there came spring. Then he understood his fault and his mind was melting. And he opened his garden for all the boys.
    In our socity many people are staying here like the selfish giant. But, very few people are as good as he(giant). In the middle of story we have seen that the giant understood his fault but our people don’t understand it. If they could understand their mistake then our country would become outstanding.

  11. Heart touching story.There was a time when giant was not feel good to see children in her garden. so he try to be obstacles so that children couldn’t come there but because some very emotional incident the giant mind changed dramatically and he started that children love to play in garden. At he died in front of those child which is really emotional

  12. it’s an amazing story when i read it i got much new vocabulary but feel upset that when that children meet with him he was die after all i can great practice myself thank you vai for this nice story

  13. Rashed Talukder

    Suparb story. the story has bear more interesting methods. a man was didn’t like exiting place, children’s playing. but the man was changed his thinking step. changed his sentiment over look to childrens. the giant was like a selfish. but when the little boy gone after that giant always missed the little boy. giant always tried to find the boy. it was interesting story. I enjoyed it.

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