Summary of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant

The Selfish Giant, written by Oscar Wilde, is a story that deals with human love for animals and nature.


The Giant’s garden was very beautiful. Children loved to play in it. Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, they used to enter the large lovely garden with flowers and peach trees.

But the Giant was selfish. One day when he returned home after seven years of stay with his friend, he saw the children playing in the garden. He shouted at them angrily and they ran away. The Giant decided not to allow anybody else to play there. So he built a high boundary wall around it. He also put up a notice that outsiders entering the garden will be punished.

The poor children had no other place to go. They didn’t like to play on the dusty road full of stones.

Then the spring came all over the country. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant, it was still winter. No flowers bloomed and no birds sang. The only visitors were the snow and the frost which painted all the trees silver. The north wind roared there all day. It also asked the hailstones to come.

The Giant wondered why the spring passed by his garden. It was always winter there.

One morning he heard some lovely music of a linnet outside his window. He jumped out of bed and looked out. He saw a wonderful sight. The children had crept in through a hole in the wall. They were sitting on the branches of trees which gladly welcomed them with flowers. Only in one corner, it was still winter. A small boy was wandering all around the tree and crying. He was too small to climb up.

The Giant’s heart melted. He went out in the garden. The children ran away on seeing him. The garden became winter again.

But when he put the small boy up into the tree, it broke into flowers. The boy threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. Other children noticed the change in the Giant’s behaviour. So they too came back. The Giant knocked down the wall and started playing with them. He wanted to see the small boy whom he had put up into the tree. But he had gone away.

Years went by and he grew old and weak. He realised that the children were the most beautiful flowers of all.

One winter morning he saw a tree covered with lovely white flowers and silver fruit. Under it stood the little boy. He came running, close to the boy. He noticed two nail wounds each on the boy’s arms and on the little feet. He declared angrily that he would kill the cruel man who had injured him. At this, the child told him that those were the wounds of Love. It further told that he had come to take him to his garden, which was paradise. In the afternoon the Giant was found lying dead under the tree.

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