Copy Book Archive

The Selfish Giant A giant gets angry when he finds children playing in his garden.

In two parts

Music: George Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach

© Oast House Archive, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. Source

About this picture …

A snowy hawthorn tree in Hastings, East Sussex.

The Selfish Giant

Part 1 of 2

A giant has been staying with his friend the Cornish ogre; but after seven years he has run out of conversation, and come home.

ALL the children of the village played in the garden of an empty house, until one day the owner, who was a Giant, came back.

The sight of all those children in his garden made him angry, so he built a stout wall around it, and put up a notice saying ‘Trespassers will be Prosecuted’.

When Spring came, winter did not leave that garden, but for a whole year snow and hail and the North wind played there instead of the children.

Then one morning, the Giant heard a linnet trilling in a tree, and when he looked out he saw with gladness that Spring had come, and the children were back in his garden, climbing trees in blossom.

He crept into the garden as quietly as he could, but the children heard him and ran for their lives.

And then his eyes fell on one tree that was still bare, and one a tiny boy who was crying because he could not climb it.

Jump to Part 2


A giant came home from many years’ absence to find children playing in his garden. He turned them out angrily, but winter settled there instead for a whole year. When Spring arrived at last, the remorseful giant was pleased to see the children had returned too, but one tree was still bare, and beneath it was a weeping child. (59 / 60 words)

Part Two

© Stephen Craven, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. Source

About this picture …

Spring flowers in the Valley Gardens of Windsor Great Park in Berkshire.

THE Giant gently lifted the little boy into the branches of the wintry tree, and was rewarded with a kiss of thanks and a sudden burst of blossom, as his tree welcomed the Spring.

Next day, the Giant searched for his little friend in vain. No one had seen him, or knew where he lived. Each day he waited for him, and year upon year.

At last when he was very old and frail, but eagerly awaiting another Spring, he looked out over his garden, and saw that one tree had blossomed and fruited; and beneath it was the little boy. As he neared the tree, he saw the boy’s hands and feet were pierced and bleeding. ‘Who hath dared wound thee?’ he cried. But the child smiled and said, ‘You let me play once in your garden, today you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.’

And next day they found the Giant lying under that tree, covered in white blossom.

Copy Book


Based on ‘The Selfish Giant’, by Oscar Wilde.

Related Video

Below is a recording of ‘The Selfish Giant’ by Eric Coates (1886-1957). Coates is rightly remembered for such light classics as ‘Sleepy Lagoon’ and ‘Calling All Workers’, but several of his compositions are in a much more serious vein, including this sensitive fantasy composed in 1925.

Suggested Music

1 2

Minuet in G minor HWV 434/4 (arrangement for piano by Wilhelm Kempff)

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Played by Khatia Buniatishvili.

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Cantata 208: Schafe können sicher weiden / Sheep may safely graze (arr. for piano)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Performed by Khatia Buniatishvili (piano).

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