THE SELFISH GIANT
Every afternoon, when they left school, the children used to go to play in the garden of Gigante.
It was a beautiful and large garden, with soft green grass. Here and there, on the grass, beautiful flowers appeared like stars, and there were twelve peach trees that, in the spring, opened in delicate flowers in shades of pink and pearl, and produced rich fruits in the autumn. The birds landed on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop playing to listen to them.
- How happy we feel here! They exclaimed.
One day he returned. He had been visiting his friend, the Cornish ogre, and had spent seven years with him. After seven years he had already said everything he had what he did not have to say, since his conversation was limited, and decided to return to his own castle. Upon arriving, he saw the children playing in the garden.
- What are you doing here? He shouted in a very harsh voice, and the children ran off.
“My garden is my garden,” said the Giant. – Anyone can understand that. I will not allow anyone to play in it, except myself.
So he built a high wall around the garden and put up a warning sign.
No entry of strangers
Whoever disobeys will be punished
He was a very selfish giant.
The poor children now had nowhere else to play. They tried to play on the road, but the road was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they didn’t like it. They started strolling around the wall after school, talking about the beautiful garden that was inside. “How happy we were there!” Said one another.
Then spring came, and small flowers and small birds appeared all over the country. It was only in the garden of the Selfish Giant that it was still winter. The birds did not like to sing there, because there were no children, and the trees forgot to bloom. Once a beautiful flower came to bloom, but when he saw the warning sign he was so sorry for the children that he ducked back on the floor and fell asleep. The only ones who were happy were Snow and Ice.
“Spring has forgotten this garden,” they exclaimed, “so that we can live here all year.”
Snow covered the entire grass with its white cloak, and the Ice painted all the trees with silver. They invited North Wind to stay with them, and it came. All wrapped in furs, he roared all day in the garden, knocking down the chimneys with his breath.
“This place is great,” he said. – We need to invite Hail to come and visit.
And Hail appeared. Every day, for three hours, he would drive on the castle roof until he broke almost all the tiles, and then he would run around the garden as fast as he could. Always dressed in gray, ice was blowing everywhere.
- I don’t understand why Spring is taking so long to arrive! Said the Selfish Giant, sitting by the window and looking at his cold, white garden. – I hope the weather will change soon.
But spring did not appear, nor did summer. Autumn brought golden fruit to all the gardens, but none to the Giant’s.
“He’s very selfish,” said Autumn.
So it was always winter there, and the North Wind and Hail, Snow and Ice danced in the trees.
One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard beautiful music It sounded with such sweetness in his ears that he even thought it must be the King’s musicians passing by. In reality it was just a little redfinch singing outside his window, but it had been so long since he had heard a single bird in his garden that it seemed to be the most beautiful music in the world. And then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind stopped roaring, and a delicious scent reached him, through the open window.
“I think spring is finally here,” said the Giant. – And jumping from the bed, he looked out.
What did he see?
The most beautiful view imaginable. Through a hole in the wall the children had managed to get in, and they were all sitting on the branches of the trees. In every tree he could see there was a child. And the trees were so happy to have the children back that they covered themselves with flowers, gently swinging the branches over the girl’s head. The birds flew from side to side, chirping with pleasure, and the flowers peered and laughed. It was a beautiful scene, and only in one corner did it continue to be winter. It was the farthest corner of the garden, and a little boy was standing there. He was so small that he couldn’t reach the branches of the tree, and he walked around it, crying, very sorry. The poor tree was still covered with snow and ice, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it.
- Get up, boy! Said the Tree, bending the branches as much as he could. But the boy was too small.
And the Giant’s heart melted when he looked outside.
- How I have been selfish! – he said. – Now I know why spring did not appear here. I will put that little boy on top of that tree, then I will tear down the wall, and my garden will be a place where children can play forever and ever.
He was really sorry for what he had done. And so, he went down the stairs, opened the front door delicately, and went out into the garden. But when the children saw him, they were so frightened that they ran away, and winter returned to the garden. Only the little boy did not run away, because his eyes were full of tears and he did not see the Giant arrive. And the Giant sneaked up behind him, gently took his hand and placed it on top of the tree. The tree immediately blossomed, and the birds came to sing on it; and the little boy stretched out his arms, wrapped them around the Giant’s neck and kissed him. When they saw me, the Giant was no longer bad, the other children ran back, and with them came Spring.
“Now the garden is yours, children,” said the Giant. And taking an immense ax, he fell the wall. When everyone started to go to the market, at noon, there was the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden that everyone had ever seen.
They played all day, but when night came they said goodbye to the Giant.
- But where is your little fellow? He asked. – The boy I put on the tree.
The Giant liked him more than anyone else, because he had kissed her.
“We don’t know,” replied the children. – He’s gone.
“You have to tell him not to stop coming here tomorrow,” said the Giant.
But the children said they did not know where he lived, and that they had never seen him before. The Giant was very sad.
Every afternoon, when school was over, the children went to play as Gigante. But the little boy the Giant liked never came again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, but he missed his first friend, and often talked about him.
- How I would like to see you! – used to say.
The years passed, and the Giant grew older and weaker. He was no longer able to play well, so he sat in a huge armchair, watching the children playing and admiring his garden.
- I have so many beautiful flowers – he said – but children are the most beautiful flowers of all.
One winter morning, he looked out the window as he dressed. Now he no longer hated winter, for he knew that this was only spring while he slept, and that the flowers were resting.
Suddenly he rubbed his eyes, amazed, and looked, and looked, and looked. It was certainly a wonderful sight. In the farthest corner of the garden there was a tree covered in white flowers. Its branches were golden, laden with silver fruit, and beneath them were the little boy she loved.
The Giant ran up the stairs with great joy and went out into the garden. He quickly crossed the lawn and approached the boy. And when he got very close, his face was flushed with anger, and he said:
- Who dared to hurt you?
In the child’s palms were the marks of two nails, just as there were marks of two nails on his feet.
- Who dared to hurt you? Shouted the Giant. – Tell me, so I can take my big sword to kill him.
- No – replied the boy – because these are the wounds of Love.
Who are you? Asked the Giant, and when the fear came over him, he knelt before the child.
The child smiled at the Giant and said:
- You once let me play in your garden, and today you will go with me to my garden, which is Heaven.
That afternoon, when the children came running, they found the Giant dead, lying under the tree, covered with white flowers