Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Selfish Giant of Loughton with apologies to Oscar Wilde

Every afternoon, as they came home from Loughton School, the local children played in the Loughton Giant's garden on the Bradwell Road. It was a small but pretty garden, with soft green grass and a small fishpond. The birds sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games in order to listen to them. 'How happy we are here!' they cried to one another.
After a long absence, the Loughton Giant came home. He had been to the seaside to visit his friend the Cornish ogre, and had stayed with him for seven years. When he arrived home, he saw the children playing in his garden. 'What are you doing here?' he boomed in his loud, angry voice. The children were scared and ran away.

'My own garden is my own garden!’ said the Giant; 'Any one can understand that! I will allow no one to play in it but me!’ So he built a high hedge all around his garden, to keep the children out. The good folk of Loughton often spotted him peering out through the branches of his hedge, ready to shout at any children who happened to be passing by. He was a very selfish Giant.

The children of Loughton had nowhere to play. They tried to play on the Bradwell Road, but the road was very busy and full of traffic, so they did not feel safe there. They used to walk past the high hedge every day, and talk about the beautiful garden beyond it. ’How happy we were there,' they said to one other.

Then the Spring came, and all over Milton Keynes there were beautiful blossoms and nesting birds. But in the garden of the selfish Loughton Giant it was still Winter. The birds did not care to sing there as there were no children to listen to them, and the trees forgot to blossom.'I cannot understand why Spring is so late in coming this year.,’ said the Loughton Giant, as he sat at his kitchen window and looked out at his cold white garden; 'I do 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 in Loughton, 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 hedge.

One morning, the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It was a blackbird singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world.'I believe the Spring has come at last!’ said the Giant. He jumped out of bed and looked out. When he did so, he saw a most wonderful sight. The children had crept in through a gap in the hedge. As they did so, all the snow and ice melted, and the children were sitting on the lawn in the sunshine making daisy chains.

The Giant's heart melted as he looked at the charming scene. 'How selfish I have been!' he said; 'Now I know why the Spring would not come to my garden. I will cut down my hedge, and my garden shall be the children's playground forever.’ So he crept quietly downstairs, opened the back door and went out into the garden. 'It is your garden now, dear children,’ said the Giant. 

So from that day to this, whenever the good folk of Loughton walk down the Bradwell Road to Sainsbury’s to do their shopping, they can see the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they have ever seen.

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