The Selfish Giant

Every afternoon, schoolchildren would play in a beautiful garden filled with flowers and gorgeous birdsong. After seven years its owner, a Giant, returns and frightens the children away, forbidding anyone else from playing in the garden but him. When Spring arrives, the rest of the country flourishes with blossoms and birds, while the Giant's garden is trapped in a barren Winter. Until one day he hears the joyful song of a linnet and sees that Spring has returned to his Garden.

Through a hole in the wall, the children come back to the garden and with them bring the Spring. Every tree is adorned by a child in its branches and only in one corner is it still Winter, where a small boy stands crying as he cannot reach the tree branches.

The Giant sees the error of his ways and helps the boy to the top of the tree. Years later he sees the boy again, bearing stigmata.  The child then takes the Giant to paradise for his compassion. In this allegorical story, Wilde elegantly draws attention to the value of selfless, empathetic action

 

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And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms

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  Wilde Stories is an Athena Media production made with

 support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland,

RTÉ lyric fm and Dublin City Council.