Class 8 – The Selfish Giant Summary Meanings and Question Answers

‘Selfish Giant’ Class 8 NCERT English Supplementary Reader “As it Happened’ Question and Answers, a summary and word meanings are given here. Click here for other lessons of Class 8 English.

Summary of the Story “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde:

In “The Selfish Giant,” Oscar Wilde presents a touching story about the power of love, compassion, and selflessness, showing the transformation of a once selfish Giant into a kind and generous soul.

The Giant’s Beautiful Garden

The story begins by introducing a Giant who has a large, lovely garden with beautiful flowers and twelve peach-trees. However, he is selfish and doesn’t allow children to play in his garden.

The Arrival of Winter

The Giant goes away to visit his friend for seven years, and in his absence, the children begin to play in the garden. When the Giant returns, he sees the children playing and drives them away, building a high wall around the garden to keep them out.

The Perpetual Winter

As a result of the Giant’s selfishness, the garden remains in a perpetual winter. The birds and trees don’t sing or blossom, and the children have nowhere to play, making the Giant’s garden a desolate place.

The Little Boy and the Transformation

One day, the Giant hears sweet music and discovers a little boy who couldn’t reach the tree branches. The Giant helps the boy into the tree, and the tree blossoms again. The other children return, and the Giant realizes the beauty of sharing his garden.

The Disappearance of the Boy

The children play with the Giant daily, but the little boy whom the Giant loved disappears mysteriously. The Giant longs to see him again and is sad about his absence.

The Giant’s Redemption

Years pass, and the Giant grows old and feeble, no longer able to play with the children. However, he finds joy in watching them play and realizes that the children are the most beautiful flowers in his garden.

The Revelation and Spiritual Transformation

One winter morning, the Giant sees the tree in the farthest corner of the garden covered with white blossoms. Underneath it stands the little boy he had loved, bearing wounds of love on his hands and feet. The child reveals his divine nature, and the Giant kneels before him in awe.

The Giant’s Sacrifice

The child invites the Giant to his garden, symbolizing a spiritual connection and the Giant’s transformation. Later, when the children come to play in the afternoon, they find the Giant lying dead under the tree, covered with white blossoms.

The Giant’s Redemption and Eternal Bliss

The story concludes with the Giant’s death under the blossoming tree, suggesting that he has found redemption and eternal happiness through his selfless act of love and compassion.

Word Meanings: The Selfish Giant

WordMeaningHindi Meaning (हिंदी अर्थ)
selfishthinking of one’s own self onlyस्वार्थी
thereafterafter thatउसके बाद
experiencefeel अनुभव करना, एहसास करना
delicate blossomssoft petalsनाजुक फूल
pearlsmall silvery white thingमोती
bore (pt. of bear)produced flowers or fruit पेड़ -पौधों पर फूल ओर फलों का उगना
Cornish ogrea giant of Cornwallकॉर्नवॉल का राक्षस
ogrea cruel and frightening giant who eats peopleदुर्जन और डरावने राक्षस जो लोगों को खा जाते हैं
gruffroughकडा, कर्कश ओर रूखा
trespassersthose entering without permissionअनुमति के बिना प्रवेश करने वाले
prosecutedpunishedसज़ा देना
dustyfull of dustधूल भरा
wanderroamघूमना, टहलना
blossomto bear flowersफूल खिलना
slipped backwent backवापस चला गया
frostsmall atoms of snowपाला, तुषार
cloakupper coverआच्छादन या ओढ़ने का ऊपरी लबादा
wrappedcovered aroundघेरना-लपेटना
furshairy clothबालदार, रोयेदार
roaredcried outचीखना, गरजना
delightfuljoyfulसुहाना, आनंद ओर खुसी प्रदान करने वाला
hailsnow pieces falling from the skyओलावृष्टि, बर्फ के टुकड़े जो आकाश से गिरते हैं
rattledmade brisk soundखनखनाना, खड़खड़ाना
slatespieces of slate stoneस्लेट पत्थर के टुकड़े
soundedappealedजान पड़ता था, ऐसा लगता था
linneta singing birdएक गायक पक्षी
so longvery long agoबहुत पहले, काफी लंबा समय
ceasedstoppedबंद हुआ, रुक गया
dearlywith great loveप्रेम से
sightsceneदृश्य, नजारा
creptcame secretlyछिपकर आना, रेंग के आना
wavingmovingहिलाना, लहराना
meltedbecame softपिघल गया
knock downpull downठोकर मारकर नीचे गिराना
stole upcame quietlyचुपचाप आना
stretched outextendedफैलाना
wickedfull of evilदुष्ट
farthestof far placeसबसे दूर
longedwishedइच्छा हुई
admiredpraisedप्रशंसा ओर तारीफ किया
rubbedmassagedरगड़ना, मलना
marvellousvery beautifulअद्भुत, बहुत ही शानदार
hastenedhurriedजल्दी में जाना
hath daredhas challengedने साहस किया
woundhurtचोट लगना
slaykillमार डालना
who art thouwho are youतुम कौन हो
awefearभय ओर विस्मय

Question Answers: The Selfish Giant

Comprehension Check (Page 20)

  1. Why is the Giant called selfish?
  2. On one occasion the children said: “How happy we are here!”
    Later they said: “How happy we were there!”
    What are they referring to in both the cases?
  3. (i) When spring came, it was still winter in the garden. What does winter stand for or indicate here?
    (ii) Winter has been presented like a story with its own characters and their activities. Describe the story in your own words.
  4. Was the Giant happy or sad over the state of the garden?
  5. What effect did the linnet’s song have over Hail and the North Wind?


1. The Giant is called selfish because he does not allow anyone else, especially the children, to play in his garden. He builds a high wall around it and puts up a notice-board warning trespassers. He is only concerned about his own enjoyment and does not consider the needs or happiness of others.

2. In both cases, the children are referring to the Giant’s garden. Initially, when they were allowed to play in the garden, they exclaimed, “How happy we are here!” Later, after the Giant chased them away and the garden remained desolate, they nostalgically said, “How happy we were there!” The garden was a place of joy and happiness for them, but they lost that happiness when the Giant became selfish and drove them away.

3. (i) In this context, winter symbolizes the prolonged state of desolation and coldness in the Giant’s garden. It indicates a lack of growth, warmth, and joy, brought about by the Giant’s selfishness and refusal to share his garden with others.

(ii) Winter has been personified with its own characters and activities. The Snow, the Frost, the Hail, and the North Wind are depicted as characters that dominate the garden. The Snow covers the grass, the Frost paints the trees silver, the Hail rattles on the roof and runs around the garden, and the North Wind roars and blows the chimney-pots down. They create a harsh and unwelcoming atmosphere, reflecting the gloom and isolation caused by the Giant’s selfishness.

4. Initially, the Giant was happy in his selfishness when he chased away the children and kept the garden all to himself. However, as time passed and he witnessed the desolation and perpetual winter in his garden, he became sad and regretful. He longed for the return of Spring and hoped for a change in the weather, realizing the consequences of his selfish actions.

5. The linnet’s song had a calming effect on the Hail and the North Wind. When the linnet sang, the Hail stopped dancing, and the North Wind ceased roaring. The beautiful music of the linnet brought a momentary pause to the harsh and cold activities of the other elements in the garden, creating a sense of peace and hope for the arrival of Spring.

Comprehension Check (Page 24)

  1. (i) The Giant saw a most wonderful sight. What did he see?
    (ii) What did he realise on seeing it?
  2. Why was it still winter in one corner of the garden?
  3. Describe the first meeting of the little boy and the Giant.
  4. Describe their second meeting after a long interval.
  5. The Giant lay dead, all covered with white blossoms. What does this sentence indicate about the once selfish Giant?


1. (i) The Giant saw a tree in the farthest corner of the garden, completely covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were golden, and silver fruit hung down from them. Underneath the tree stood the little boy whom the Giant had loved but had lost for a long time.
(ii) What did he realize on seeing it? On seeing the tree in full bloom with the little boy under it, the Giant realized that the wounds on the child’s hands and feet were the wounds of Love, resembling those of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. This realization filled the Giant with awe and a sense of divine presence in the child.

2. In one corner of the garden, it was still winter because the little boy, whom the Giant had once loved, was standing there. This part of the garden remained cold and desolate, covered with frost and snow, representing the lingering impact of the Giant’s selfishness and the absence of love and warmth.

3. first meeting of the little boy and the Giant occurred when the Giant came back from a long absence and found children playing in his garden. However, the children ran away in fear, except for the little boy who was too tiny to run. The Giant gently lifted the boy into the tree, but the boy was sad as he could not reach the branches. The Giant then showed kindness and compassion by allowing the children to play in his garden, despite his initial gruff manner.

4. Describe their second meeting after a long interval.
Answer: After a long interval, the Giant saw the little boy again under the tree in the farthest corner of the garden. The tree was now in full bloom with white blossoms, and the boy looked radiant. The child smiled at the Giant, and a sense of awe came over him. The child invited the Giant to his garden, symbolizing a spiritual connection and a transformative moment for the Giant.

4. The Giant lay dead, all covered with white blossoms. What does this sentence indicate about the once selfish Giant?
Answer: The sentence indicates that the once selfish Giant has undergone a profound transformation. After embracing love and selflessness, he is now at peace and has been redeemed. The Giant’s death under the tree covered with white blossoms suggests that he has entered a state of eternal bliss, having found salvation through his acts of kindness and compassion.

Textbook Exercise (Page 24)

Discuss the following topics in groups.

1. The little child’s hands and feet had marks of nails. Who does the child remind you of? Give a reason for your answer.

Ans. The child with marks of nails on his hands and feet reminds me of Jesus Christ. The wounds on the child’s palms and feet resemble the stigmata, the marks of crucifixion associated with the Christian belief that Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Furthermore, the child’s message of love, forgiveness, and paradise, as well as the transformative impact he has on the Giant’s life, align with the teachings of Jesus in Christianity. The child’s divine and compassionate nature, along with the reference to paradise, implies a spiritual connection and a reminder of the power of selfless love and redemption.

2. Is there something like this garden near where you live? Would you like one (without the Giant perhaps) and why? What would you do to keep it in good shape?

Ans. In real life, many people might not have a garden like the one in the story, filled with magical elements and divine connections. However, there might be gardens or parks with beautiful flowers, trees, and places for children to play near where people live.

Having a garden like the one in the story, even without the Giant, would be wonderful because it could provide a peaceful and serene space to relax, enjoy nature, and spend time with loved ones. A well-maintained garden can serve as a refuge from the hustle and bustle of daily life, offering moments of tranquillity and happiness.

To keep such a garden in good shape, one could:

  • Regularly water and care for the plants and flowers to ensure their growth and blooming.
  • Prune and trim the trees and shrubs to maintain their shape and health.
  • Keep the garden free from litter and debris to create a clean and inviting environment.
  • Add benches or sitting areas for people to relax and enjoy the beauty of the garden.
  • Encourage children to play and engage with nature, fostering a love for the environment and the outdoors.
  • Embrace sustainable and eco-friendly practices, like composting and using natural fertilizers, to promote the garden’s health and longevity.

Overall, a well-maintained garden can bring joy and happiness to those who visit, fostering a sense of connection with nature and providing a space for relaxation and recreation.

Think it Over

1. Selfless love involves suffering for others:

Ans. Selfless love is a profound and unconditional form of love where one puts the needs and happiness of others before their own. It goes beyond personal interests and desires, aiming to bring joy, comfort, and well-being to others. In this form of love, one may willingly make sacrifices, endure hardships, or even suffer for the sake of others’ happiness and welfare. This selflessness can manifest in various ways, such as offering support during difficult times, caring for others’ needs, or standing by someone despite personal challenges.

While selfless love indeed involves suffering, it is important to note that this suffering is not driven by obligation or duty but emerges from a genuine desire to contribute to the well-being of others. The act of selflessness can bring a sense of fulfilment and purpose, as it exemplifies the highest form of compassion and empathy. By willingly embracing suffering for the sake of others, individuals strengthen their bonds with those they love and foster a sense of interconnectedness and community.

2. Owning things is human; sharing them is divine:

Ans. This statement emphasizes the distinction between human nature and the higher virtues associated with a selfless and compassionate approach to life. The idea is that possessing material belongings and being possessive is a natural human tendency. Humans often seek to acquire and accumulate things for various reasons, such as security, comfort, and status. It is an inherent part of human nature to have possessions and cherish them as their own.

On the other hand, sharing possessions with others, especially in a selfless and generous manner, is considered a divine quality. Sharing is an act of kindness, empathy, and altruism that transcends the narrow boundaries of self-interest. It exemplifies the higher virtues associated with divinity and spiritual growth. When someone shares their resources, time, or possessions with others, it reflects a broader understanding of interconnectedness and compassion for fellow beings.

The saying encourages individuals to move beyond the possessiveness that is intrinsic to human nature and embrace the divine aspect of sharing and selflessness. By doing so, one can experience a deeper sense of fulfilment, create stronger bonds with others, and contribute to a more compassionate and harmonious world.

It is so that both statements highlight the profound nature of selfless love and the transformative power of sharing and generosity. Embracing selflessness and sharing can lead to a more meaningful and fulfilling life, fostering a sense of connection with others and promoting a more compassionate and caring society.

Short Answer:

This statement emphasizes the contrast between human nature and the higher virtues of selflessness and compassion. Humans naturally tend to possess and cherish material belongings for various reasons. In contrast, sharing possessions selflessly is considered divine, reflecting kindness and empathy beyond self-interest. It embodies virtues associated with spirituality and interconnectedness. The saying encourages moving beyond possessiveness, embracing sharing, and experiencing fulfilment, stronger bonds, and a compassionate world. Both statements highlight the transformative power of selfless love and sharing, fostering meaningful lives, connections with others, and a caring society.

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