Every day after school, a group of children who lived near a huge, empty castle played in its enchanted garden.
In the enchanted garden it stayed summer all year long. The trees in the enchanted garden never lost their leaves, flowers bloomed all year, and it never got cold there. Sometimes it rained in the garden, but only at nighttime when the children were sleeping soundly in their beds.
The children skipped rope, swung from the tree branches, and played games in the enchanted garden. When they got hungry, they plucked fruit from the trees and ate it as they enjoyed the sunshine that never ended.
The children were happiest when they were in the garden. They loved to play there every day.
The empty castle did not stay empty for long. It belonged to a giant who had been away for many years. One day he returned home hoping to find some peace and quiet after his long journey.
Instead he returned to the sound of laughter in his garden. He did not like what he saw when he looked over the garden wall. There were children playing all sorts games and eating the fruit from his trees.
"What are you children doing here?" the giant shouted. "This is my garden!"
The giant's booming voice startled the children. They were so shaken that they could not answer his question. But then, the giant was in no mood to listen to reasons why he should share his garden.
He was a selfish giant.
The giant stormed into the garden and ordered all the children to leave at once. "Get down from those trees!" he roared. "Get out of my garden and never come back!"
The children didn't understand why the giant wanted them to leave. No one had ever sent them away. The children were frightened of the grumpy giant, and they ran from the garden as fast as they could.
Once the children were gone, the giant looked around the empty garden and smiled. Finally he would have some peace and quiet. "No noise, no pesky children running around," he muttered to himself. "Just me and my garden."
He was a very selfish giant.
The children no longer had a place to play. They tried playing in other yards and gardens, but no place compared to their enchanted garden.
One day they stopped outside the garden wall. They thought that if they could at least be close to the garden, they would once again be happy. One curious boy wanted to see the garden with his own eyes, so he climbed onto a friend's shoulders and peeked over the garden wall.
The boy gasped at what he saw. The leaves of trees were turning orange and were falling to the ground. The grass that was once thick and green was now thin and brown.
The flowers had wilted, and the birds had flown away.
"What has happened to our wonderful garden? It looks like it is dying," said one child. All the children became sad. Their beautiful garden was no longer enchanted.
Soon the garden became a cold and lonely place. All the trees were bare, the grass was the color of straw, and the sun never shone there anymore.
Continue to the next page to find out what happens next in "The Selfish Giant."
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