The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
Once there was a Giant who owned a large garden.
When the Giant was away from home, the children used to come and play on its lovely meadows. It was a most beautiful garden! Here and there over the meadows grew flowers like stars. The fruit trees blossomed in the springtime and were heavy with fruit in autumn. The birds sat in the trees and sang sweetly. The children used to stop their games in order to listen to them.
One day the Giant came home. He became very angry when he saw the children. "What are you doing here?" he shouted in a harsh voice, and the children ran away. "My garden is my garden," cried the Giant. "I will not allow anybody to play in it! " So the Giant built a high wall all round the garden.
It was now spring, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Giant it was still winter. The birds did not come to sing as there were no children in it, and the trees forgot to blossom. Only the snow and the frost were pleased.
"Spring has forgotten the garden," they said, "so we can 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. "I cannot understand why spring is so late," said the Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at the cold, snow-covered garden. "I hope there will be a change in the weather. " But spring and summer did not come. Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but she did not give any to the Giant's.
"He is too selfish," she said. So it was always winter there, and the north wind, the frost, and the snow danced among the trees.
One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It was a little bird singing outside his window. The north wind had stopped. A sweet perfume came to him through the open window.
"I believe spring has come at last," said the Giant. He jumped out of bed and looked out of the window.
And what did he see? He saw a most wonderful picture! Through a little hole in the wall the children had entered the garden, and they were sitting on the branches of the trees. In every tree there was a little child!
The trees were so glad to see the children back again, that they covered themselves with blossoms. The birds were flying about and singing happily, and the flowers were looking through the green grass. It was a lovely picture!
Only in one comer of the garden it was still winter. A little boy was standing there crying. He was so small that he could not reach the branches of the tree. The poor tree was still covered with frost and snow, and the north wind was blowing above it.
The Giant's heart was touched as he saw all this. "How selfish I've been!" he said. "Now I know why spring did not want to come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of that tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden will be the children's playground forever! " He was really sorry for what he had done. So he opened the door softly and went out into the garden. But when the children saw him, they were so frightened that they all ran away, and winter again came into the garden. Only the little boy did not run away, for his eyes were so all of tears that he did not see the Giant. The Giant came up to him, took him carefully in his arms, and put him on the top of the tree.
At once the tree burst into blossom, the birds came back and began to sing in it, and the little boy put his arms round the Giant's neck and kissed him. When the other children saw this, they were not afraid of the Giant anymore. They came back, and with them came spring.
"It is your garden now, little children," said the Giant. He took a great axe and knocked down the wall.
After this, the children again came to play in the Giant's garden every day. Sometimes the Giant played with them. Sometimes he sat in an armchair and watched them play. "I have many beautiful flowers," he said, "but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all! "