The Selfish Giant (Wilde)

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The Selfish Giant
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A giant, who selfishly kept children out of his garden, experienced perpetual winter until he allowed them back in, befriending a special child who later revealed himself as a divine figure.

Every afternoon, children used to play in a large, beautiful garden owned by a giant. One day, the giant returned after visiting his friend for seven years and found the children playing in his garden. He angrily chased them away and built a high wall around the garden, putting up a notice that trespassers would be prosecuted.

The Giant — initially selfish and gruff; later kind, remorseful, and loving towards children.

"My own garden is my own garden, said the Giant; any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself."

The children had nowhere to play and missed the garden. When spring came, it brought blossoms and birds everywhere except the giant's garden, which remained in winter. The snow, frost, and hail took over the garden, making it cold and unwelcoming.

One morning, the giant heard beautiful music and saw that the children had found a way back into the garden. The sight of the children brought spring back to the garden, except for one corner where a small boy couldn't reach the branches of a tree.

The Little Boy — small, gentle, and loving; divine figure with wounds of love on hands and feet.

The giant's heart melted, and he decided to help the boy and tear down the wall, making the garden a playground for the children forever.

"How selfish I have been! now I know why the Spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall."

The children played in the garden every day, but the little boy the giant had helped never returned. The giant grew old and feeble, watching the children play from his armchair. One winter morning, he saw a tree covered in white blossoms and the little boy standing beneath it. The giant rushed to the boy, only to find nail prints on his hands and feet.

The boy told the giant that the wounds were from love and invited the giant to join him in his garden, which was paradise. "You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise."

That afternoon, the children found the giant dead under the tree, covered in white blossoms.