The Selfish Giant

English’s Docs Intermediate The Selfish Giant

The Selfish Giant

Adapted from a story by Oscar Wilde


There was once a very selfish giant. He had a castle. He lived alone in his castle. He never invited friends, and he had no visitors. “This castle is mine!” he said to himself.

It was spring and the garden was growing again. Flowers and trees grew all over the garden.  The air had the beautiful smell of roses. The trees had colorful fruit and flowers.

It was so beautiful, that children came to play. First one child came. Then more children played in the garden.  By April, many, many children played in the garden.

One day, the giant saw the children playing. He went out to the garden and cried, “GO AWAY!”  His voice was ferocious, and the children ran away!

The giant was furious. He said, “This garden is mine!”  Then, he built walls around his garden. They were giant, intimidating walls.  The selfish giant had a lot of space, but he wanted to keep the whole world out.

The children saw the walls and they were sad. They wanted to play. But on the wall, there was a sign: NO TRESPASSING!

Spring and summer passed. Autumn and winter passed, too. The flowers and trees were dead.

But spring never came.  No flowers grew. No fruit grew on the trees.

The giant said, “I hope spring comes soon.”  April, May, and June passed, but there was no sign of spring. The air was as cold as December.  The giant was sad. His garden was dead.

One day, one child came to the garden.  He went up a giant tree. Then a few more children went up the tree. The children played in the tree. As they played, spring came. The tree grew beautiful flowers. Delicious fruit grew, too.

The giant saw the beautiful tree. Everything was dead, except where the children played. He said, “OH! I see. The children made the garden grow.”

The giant was happy. “I was so selfish!” he said. “I should let the children play in the garden.”

Then, the giant saw one little child. He was very sad. The child cried and said, “I am too little.”  He was too little to go up the tree. Quickly, the giant went in the garden. As he went, there was a loud BOOM BOOM BOOM! The children ran away.

The little child was too sad to run away. He cried and cried. The giant gently put the little boy in the tree. The little boy said “Thank you!” and hugged the giant. The giant loved all the children, but the little boy was his favorite little friend.

Soon, many children played in the garden.  They saw the “selfish” giant was not selfish at all. Spring came. Spring went. Year after year, the children played in the garden.  Many children played in the garden, but not the little boy, the giant’s favorite friend.

“Where is the little boy – the very little boy?” asked the giant.  But the children never saw him.

The giant was very sad that he never saw the little boy.

One day, the giant was very old. He was weak and dying. He went to the garden.  Then, he saw the boy, the very little boy. He ran to his little friend! But he saw the boy’s hands. They were red. His hands had two nails in them. “It’s okay,” said the boy. He hugged the giant. “You let me play in your garden. Now, come to my garden,” said the boy. Then, the giant and the little boy went to Paradise.

When the children came to the garden, they saw their friend. The giant was dead.