Oscar Wilde: The Selfish Giant

May 11, 2009

I chose this story today in view of a comment made by a regular reader. Adverting to a sci-fi story that I talked about the other day, she wrote that she preferred fairy tales to new-fangled stuff. I dedicate this to that friend of mine.

I read this story first only when I was an adult. I have often said that in the mid-Fifties my father read a lot to me and my siblings when we were children, but that was mostly poems except for a story or two like Saki’s “The Open Window” which was in a textbook that had just been brought home from the school (I still remember the cover of that bound book! – yes, it was bound originally and had a dust jacket, not bound in an elaborate and expensive ritual by a bookbinder as is done nowadays with every shop in the vicinity of a school sporting the sign BOOKBINDING IS DONE HERE during the ‘back to school’ months). Later, I have read this to my daughter.  It formed part of a Puffin book which was an anthology of stories in which giants, ogres and similar creatures figured.

So there is a giant in this story. And there are children. And there is one who is above us and who is above all of us, yet who can reside in our hearts if only we give place!

This beautiful story can be read by children or by  anyone who is a child at heart.