The Selfish Giant
A very long time ago a Giant had a lovely big garden.
Children used to go and play there on their way home from school.
It had soft green grass and there were peach trees that had beautiful pink blossoms in the spring.
Birds sat in the trees and sang such sweet songs that the children used to stop playing just to listen to them. They loved to have such a great place to play.
But one day the Giant came back. He had been to visit his friend the Cornish ogre and had stayed with him for seven years. He saw the children playing in his garden.
“What are you doing here?” he cried in his deep voice.
The children ran away as fast as they could.
“It’s my garden and nobody else’s,” said the Giant, “and nobody else can play in it but me, so there!”
So he built a high wall all round the garden and put up a big sign.
'I WILL EAT ANYONE WHO COMES INTO MY GARDEN!' it said in great big letters.
He really was a very selfish and greedy Giant.
Now the poor children had nowhere to play. They tried playing on the road outside. But the road was dusty with lots of hard stones and they didn’t like that one bit.
Sometimes they used to look at the high wall and talk about the beautiful garden inside.
“Didn’t we all used to have such fun playing there!” they said to each other.
Springtime came and all over the land blossoms came out and little birds sang on every tree.
But in the Selfish Giant’s garden it was still winter. The birds didn’t want to sing in it as there were no children and the peach trees forgot to blossom.
“Why on earth is spring so late?” the Selfish Giant said to himself. He sat at the window and looked out at his cold white garden. “I hope there will be a change in the weather.”
But spring never came, nor the summer. Autumn came and every other garden had fruit on the trees. But there wasn’t any in the Giant's garden.
So, it was always winter there.
One morning the Selfish Giant lay awake in bed when he heard the most beautiful music. He thought it must be the King's musicians passing by.
But it was really only a little blackbird singing outside his window. It had been a long time since he had heard birdsong in his garden. He thought it was the most beautiful music he’d ever heard.
Then he smelled a lovely scent of flowers coming through the window. “That’s fantastic,” he cried, “spring has come at last!”
He jumped out of bed and looked out. What do you think he saw?
It was something truly wonderful. There was a little hole in the wall and the children had crept in. They were sitting in the branches of the trees.
In every tree there was a little child. The trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms.
Birds were flying about and singing happily. Flowers were poking up through the green grass.
But in one far corner of the garden it was still winter. A little boy stood there. He was so small that he couldn’t reach up to the branches of the tree.
“Climb up, little boy, don’t cry!” said the tree and it bent its branches down. But the boy was just too tiny to reach.
The Giant's heart melted when he saw the little boy in tears.
“How selfish I’ve been!” he said to himself, “now I know why spring wouldn’t come to the garden. I’ll help that poor little boy on to the tree. Then I’ll knock down that wall, and the children will have my garden as a playground forever.”
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.
Suddenly the garden became winter again. The little boy didn’t run, because his eyes were so full of tears that he didn’t see the Giant coming.
The Giant took him gently in his great big hands and put him up into the tree. And the tree immediately came into blossom. The little boy smiled at the Giant, who smiled back at him.
The other children saw that the Giant wasn’t wicked and hadn’t gobbled the little boy up. So, they all came running back. When they did, spring came, with them.
“Little children, it’s your garden now!” said the Giant.
He grabbed his great big axe and knocked down the wall.
After school, people used to smile as they watched the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.
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