"The Selfish Giant." Manuscript in the hand of Constance Wilde, signed by Oscar Wilde, ca. 1888. 8 p., including cover sheet
Gift of Lucia Moreira Salles, 2008
fast as he could go. He was dressed in grey, and his breath was like ice.
"I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming," said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold, white garden; "I hope there will be a change in the weather."
But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant's garden she gave none. "He is too selfish," she said. So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the trees.
One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard the most9 lovely music. It sounded so sweet10 that he thought it must be the King's musicians passing by. It was really only a little linnet singing outside the11 window, but it was so long since he had heard one12 that it seemed to him the most beautiful singing possible.13 Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open casement. "I believe the Spring has come at last," said the Giant; up he jumped and looked out of the window.14
What did he see?
He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in, and were sitting on15 the branches of the trees. In every tree that he
9 For publication, "the most" was changed to "some."
10 For publication, "to his ears" was added here.
11 For publication, "the" was changed to "his."
12 For publication, "one" was changed to "a bird sing in his garden."
13 For publication, the most beautiful singing possible" was changed to "to be the most beautiful music in the world."
14 For publication, "the window" was changed to "bed and looked out."
15 For publication, "were sitting on" was changed to "they were sitting in."