The Selfish Giant
Once upon a time, there lived in a castle a giant. He was not a dangerous creature but he wished to live in peace and quiet.
His pride and joy was his beautiful garden. He spent many hours planting beautiful flowers, erecting statues and trellises, and placing benches in strategic locations for viewing of his masterwork.
Being a giant, he never closed the main gate of his castle, as he feared no one. He would spend his days wandering in the garden, smelling the flowers and eating of the fruits of any plants that bore those treasures. He was happy in his seclusion.
He was oblivious to the fact that people began to move to the area, building villages and farms. The new inhabitants also bred children, who were always looking for fun.
One morning, he was awakened by a sound he had never heard before: the laughter of the young. He looked out of his bedroom window and saw that the children from nearby villages were playing in his garden. They were not damaging anything, only ran about playing on the trellises, climbing on and jumping off the woodwork and statues and playing other happy, innocent games.
The giant's wrath flared. How dare they enter my garden! he thought.
The giant pulled on his clothing and rushed downstairs to the garden. He yelled, clapping his hands and even knocked down one of the trellises.
"Get out of my castle! This garden is mine and mine alone! Don't you ever come back or you will get badly hurt!" He shouted.
The children ran screaming and crying from his rage. When the last one had left the gate, the giant shut the great doors for the first time.
Now, he thought, no one will touch what is mine.
His garden was back to its pristine condition and he was pleased.
Time passed. Elemental creatures became aware of the giant's selfishness and realised that they could profit from it.
First, Frost saw his chance and descended upon the castle and the garden. Sheets of ice formed on all surfaces. The giant slipped many times and spent many hours removing the frozen stuff from his windows. The garden survived this, however. But Frost remained, bedevilling the giant.
Then came Snow, with her white mantle. Several inches of snow fell on a castle daily, even though these summer sun was shining outside the walls. The garden survived this, too, but the giant, who was not getting any younger, had to shovel the walkways that ran through the still vibrant foliage and was constantly removing ice and snow blocking the doors.
Finally, Sleet took notice of the wintry conditions in the castle and decided to join in the fun. All day and all night, the metal shingles of the castle rattled with freezing rain. The giant had many sleepless nights.
One day, he looked out of a window that faced the world. He saw the sunshine and the children playing in the grass. He bowed his head for a moment, in thought. Then, he sighed and walked down to the gate and flung it open.
He cupped his hands to his mouth and yelled, "Come, children! Come join me in my garden!"
The children rushed in, pausing only long enough to make sure the giant meant them no harm. His beaming face was proof enough of his benevolence.
Snow, Frost and Sleet, seeing this left in disgust.
Over the next generations, the giant was very happy, sharing his garden with the children and with their children. He would often sit in the middle of all the activity, just to watch the young ones enjoy themselves. As some of the youngsters entered adolescence, they helped the ageing giant look after his treasure.
The giant became known, near and far, is one of Nature's most generous creatures.
Years passed and, naturally, the giant became very old, even in the reckoning of his kind. There came a day when the garden was quiet and he was sitting on one of his benches, his walking stick by his side.
He saw one child, wondering down one of the walkways. He was dressed in a pure white robe. As he approached the giant, the owner of the garden saw that he was bleeding from both his hands and his feet. There was even blood on his robe.
The giant painfully stood up and walked to the boy. He stopped directly in front of him.
"Who has injured you? Tell me and I will take my great sword and kill him!"
"Do not worry about my wounds. For years now, you have given joy to many young ones and shown how decent you are. Today, you will come with me and play in my garden, which is Paradise."
Then, hand in hand, the boy and the giant walked into The Light....