January 27, 2022

#08-183: The Selfish Giant

The giant and the child

Note: The story of "The Selfish Giant" is a modern fairy tale written by the Irish author Oscar Wilde.

Get Ready: If you had a large yard and garden, would you allow the neighborhood children to play in it?

Every day after school, the children in a certain town would go play in a garden that belonged to a Giant. It was a beautiful place, with flowers like stars growing through the soft green grass, sweetly singing birds, and twelve peach trees that bore blossoms in the Springtime and fruit in the Autumn.

The children felt free to visit because the Giant was away, but one day, after seven years, he returned. When he saw the children playing in his garden, he shouted at them in a gruff voice, "What are you doing here?" and frightened them away.

He built a high wall around the garden, and put up a sign that read: "TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED." He was a very selfish Giant.

The children had nowhere to play, and looking at the high wall around the Giant's garden said again and again, "How happy we were there!"

When Spring came and the whole country awoke with little blossoms and little birds, in the Selfish Giant's garden it was still Winter. The birds didn't sing in it, the flowers didn't bloom, and the trees forgot to blossom.

The Snow and the Frost were happy, though, because they could live there all year round. The Snow covered the grass, and the Frost painted the trees silver. They invited the North Wind, who enjoyed roaring all day, and he invited the Hail, too.

The Selfish Giant wondered why the Spring was so late--but it never came, nor did Summer or Autumn. It was always Winter in his garden.

One morning the Giant awoke to hear a bird singing. When he looked out, he saw that the children had found a hole in his wall and entered his garden. There was a child in every tree! The flowers and the birds had returned, and the trees had blossomed! The Snow, Frost, Wind, and Hail were almost all gone.

The Giant realized that he had been wrong, and decided to knock down the wall and let the children in.

As he came out, all the children ran away--except for one, who was trying to climb a tree. The Giant helped him up, and the little child flung his arms around the Giant and kissed him on the cheek.

The Giant announced: "It is your garden now, little children." And in fact the children returned, all except the one whom the Giant had helped. The Giant was heartbroken when the children told him that their friend had gone away.

After many years of playing with the children, the Giant grew old and weak. One winter morning as he looked out his window, he was surprised to see that in all the frost and snow one tree was in full blossom. Making his way outside, he discovered under the beautiful white tree the child he had helped so many years before, and who had kissed him.

He was overjoyed to see him, until he noticed that the child had wounds on his hands and feet. "Who has dared to wound you?" he asked angrily. "Tell me, and I will kill him!"

"Oh, no!" said the child. "These are the wounds of Love!"

"Who are you?" asked the awed Giant as he knelt before the child.

The child smiled and said, "You once let me play in your garden. Today you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise."

And when the children came that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Happy_Prince_and_Other_Tales#The_Selfish_Giant

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. blossoms
  2. bore
  3. frightened
  4. gruff
  5. hail
  6. passed away
  7. prosecuted
  8. roaring
  9. selfish
  10. trespassers

  1. making a loud noise; using aloud voice
  2. died
  3. another word for flowers
  4. a type of frozen rain
  5. not thinking about the needs of others
  6. had; carried
  7. people who enter a place illegally
  8. rough; angry-sounding
  9. taken to court; charged
  10. scared

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for January 27, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. c; 2. f; 3. j; 4. h; 5. d; 6. b; 7. i; 8. a; 9. e; 10. g