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Board of Education: The selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde ( pg. 162 polestar English textbook)

Preface:  Here is yet another example of how the Board of Education is implementing Christianity in its textbooks to teach kids values.   The purpose for teaching kids about Christian virtues is to help instill values and a sense of morality, I suppose, but then, that would mean Japanese do not have virtue by birth nor upbringing.   Basic considerations for human beings and the general welfare of others has always been a cultural feature of the Japanese ever since Buddhism merged with Shintoism, thousands of years ago, way before North American colonizers discovered the teachings of the Ten Commandments of the Bible, or even knew of the contents of the original Bible for that matter.   In fact, most Anglo colonizers could hardly read the written words nor understand the content in their own Constitution of 1776 scribed in English.    Japan had had a written Constitution long before North America had one, and was internationally recognized by most of the Western world except for the U.S.   When the former Occupational Authorities under General Douglas revamped the educational system  here, nearly 60 years ago, Shinto was supplanted by Christianity and as a result values were re-taught in school through pacifism.    Even the current-day Constitution in Japan has nearly 50 entries from the American Bill of Rights of which almost no Japanese is aware of, save a few snarky lines they remember by heart like having the Right to Vote and equality and justice for all, which they do not even believe themselves.   Below, is a story written by Oscar Wilde that subtly teaches an aspect of Christianity and salvation through the use of incredibly beautiful and innocent child-like story lines.  

Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to go and play in the Giant's garden.

  It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass.   Here and there over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there were twelve peach-trees that in the spring-time broke out into delicate blossoms of ink and pearl, and the in the autumn bore rich fruit.   The birds sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children usd to stop their games in order to listen to them.    "How happy we are here!"  they cried to each other.

[ Notice the use of stars and the number twelve symbolic scripture]

     One day the Giant came back.   He had been to visit his friend the Cornish ogre, and had to stay with him for seven years.   After the seven years were over he had said all that he had to say, for his conversation was limited, and he determined to return to his own castle.    When he arrived he saw the children playing in the garden. [ The number 7]

   "What are you doing here?" he cried in a very gruff voice, and the children ran away.

     "My own garden is my own garden," said the Giant; "any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself."   Se he built a high wall all round it, and put up a notice-board..  " Trespassers will Be Prosecuted"

     The poor children had now nowhere to play.   They tried to play on the road, but the road was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they did not like it.   They used to wonder round the high wall when their lessons were over, and talk about the beautiful garden inside.  "How happy we were there," they said to each other.

     Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds.   Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was still winter.   The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom.   Once a beautiful flower put is head out  from the grass, but when it saw the notice-board it was so sorry for the children that it slipped back into the ground again, and went off to sleep.   The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost.   "Spring has forgotten this garden," they cried, "so we will live here all the year round.  ."   The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver.   Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them and he came.   He was wrapped in Furs, and he roared all day about the garden, and blew the chimney-post down.   "This is delightful spot," he said, "we must ask the Hail on a visit," So the Hail came.  Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran round and round the garden as fast as he could go.   He was dressed in grey, and his breath was like ice.

     "I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming," said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold white garden; " I 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, but to the Giant's garden she gave none.   " He is too selfish," as he said.   So it was alway Winter there, and the North Wind, and the Hail, and the Frost and the snow danced about through the trees.

     One morning the Giant was lying awake in the bed when he heard some lovely music.   It sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought it must be the King's musicians passing by.   It was really only a little linnet 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.  the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and the delicious perfume came to him through the open casement.   "I believe the Spring has come at last, "  said the Giant; and he jumped out of bed and looked out.

    What did he see?

    He saw a most wonderful sight.   Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees.   In every tree that he could see there was a little child.   And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently about the children's heads.   The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing.    It was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still winter.   It was the farthest corner of the garden, and in it was standing a little boy.   He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was wandering all round it, crying bitterly.   The poor tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it.   "Climbed up" a little boy," said the Tree, and it bent its branches down as low as it could; but the boy was too tiny.

     And the Giant's heart melted as he looked out.   " How selfish I have been!"  he said; " now I know why the Spring would not come here.   I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children's playground for ever and ever."  He was really very sorry for what he had done.  

      So he crept down stairs and opened the front door quite softly, and went out into the garden.   But when the children saw him they were so frightened that they all ran away, and the garden became winter again.   Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he did not see the Giant coming.    And the Giant came up behind him and took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree.   And the tree broke at once in to blossom, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant's neck, and kissed him.   And the other children, when they saw that the Giant was not wicked any longer, came running back, and then came the Spring.   " It is your garden now, little children," said the Giant, and he took a great axe and knocked down the wall.   And when the people were going to market at twelve o'clock they found the Giant playing with the  children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.

     All day long they played, and  in the evening they came to the Giant to bid him good-bye.

     "But where is your little companion?" he said: "the boy I put into the tree."  The Giant loved him the best because he had kissed him...

     "We don't know,"  answered the children; "he has gone away."

"You must tell him to be sure and come here to-morrow,"said the Giant.    But the children said that they did not know where he lived, and had never seen him before; and the Giant felt very sad.

     Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant.   But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen  again.    The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for his first little friend, and often spoke of him.  "How I would like to see him!" he used to say.

     Years went over, and the Giant grew very old and feeble.   He could not play about anymore,  he sat in a huge armchair, and watched the children at their games, and admired his garden.   "I have many beautiful flowers," he said; "but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all."

   One winter morning he looked out of his window as he was dressing.   He did not hate the Winter now, for he knew that it was merely the Spring asleep, and that the flowers were resting.

     Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder, and looked and looked.    It was certainly was a marvelous sight.    In the farthest corner of the garden was a tree quite covered white lovely white blossoms.   Its branches were all golden, an the silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath it stood the little boy he had loved..

     Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and out into  the garden.    He hasted across the grass, and came near to the child.   And when he came quiet close his face grew  red with anger, and he said, " Who hath dared to wound thee?" For on the palms of the child's hands were the prints of two nails, and the prints of two nails were on the little feet.

   " Who hath  dared to wound thee?" cried the giant; "tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him."

   " nay!" answer the child; "but these are the wounds of Love."

   "Who hath dared to wound thee?" said the Giant, and a strange awe fell over him, and he knelt before the little child.

     And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, "You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden,  which is in Paradise."

  And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.

[Oscar Wilde]

[ In this very sweetly  written story by Oscar Wilde, we can see a beautiful depiction of the seasons and childhood innocence.   The story itself was beautifully packaged with Christian principles, and at the end of the story an offer of salvation to the Giant.   When The Christ was on the Cross he offered salvation to another man on the Cross with a similar invitation.    This is yet another example of how the school board is educating high school kids on Christianity through creating these incredibly beautiful stories with birds, flower, and wonderful themes of love and kindness.    


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