"The Selfish Giant." Manuscript in the hand of Constance Wilde, signed by Oscar Wilde, ca. 1888. 8 p., including cover sheet
He was a very selfish Giant.
The poor children had now nowhere to play. They tried to play on the road, but the road was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they did not like it. They used to wander round the high wall5 when their lessons were over, and talk about the beautiful garden inside. "How happy we were there!" they said to each other.
Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was still winter. The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower put its head out from the grass, but when it saw the notice-board it was so sorry for the children that it slipped back into the ground again, and went off to sleep. The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost. "Spring has forgotten this garden," they cried, "so we will live here all the year round." The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He was dressed6 in furs, and he roared all day about the garden, and blew the chimney-pots down. "This is a delightful spot," he said, "we must ask the Hail to come here."7 So the Hail came. Every day for three hours the Hail8 rattled on the roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran round and round the garden as
5For publication, "wall" was changed to "walls."
6 For publication, "dressed" was changed to "wrapped."
7 For publication, "to come here" was changed to "on a visit."
8For publication, "the Hail" was changed to "he."