Wednesday, September 13, 2006

13 September , Roald Dahl Day!

(pic courtesy Leninimports)

Had Roald Dahl been alive today this would have been his 90th birthday. I was in Wales recently (Roald Dahl is a son of Wales) and they were getting ready to celebrate this day. Since I can't be there for the celebrations I thought I would dedicate a post to the great man. As a tribute to him perhaps we can each leave a comment stating why we love his work and our favorite Dahl book/movie. Or, if you prefer, write a silly rhyme and make the man proud! ;)

I love Dahl not just because he was silly and funny but also, when I read him as a kid he made me feel like kids are so much smarter than adults! My favorite read is probably his series of "Revolting Rhymes", a collection of Roald Dahl poems that re-interpret the fairy tales; they are just brilliant!

I offer you one of my favorites:


I guess you think you know this story.
You don't. The real one's much more gory.
The phoney one, the one you know,
Was cooked up years and years ago,
And made to sound all soft and sappy
just to keep the children happy.
Mind you, they got the first bit right,
The bit where, in the dead of night,
The Ugly Sisters, jewels and all,
Departed for the Palace Ball,
While darling little Cinderella
Was locked up in a slimy cellar,
Where rats who wanted things to eat,
Began to nibble at her feet.

She bellowed 'Help!' and 'Let me out!
The Magic Fairy heard her shout.
Appearing in a blaze of light,
She said: 'My dear, are you all right?'
'All right?' cried Cindy .'Can't you see
'I feel as rotten as can be!'
She beat her fist against the wall,
And shouted, 'Get me to the Ball!
'There is a Disco at the Palace!
'The rest have gone and 1 am jalous!
'I want a dress! I want a coach!
'And earrings and a diamond brooch!
'And silver slippers, two of those!
'And lovely nylon panty hose!
'Done up like that I'll guarantee
'The handsome Prince will fall for me!'
The Fairy said, 'Hang on a tick.'
She gave her wand a mighty flick
And quickly, in no time at all,
Cindy was at the Palace Ball!

It made the Ugly Sisters wince
To see her dancing with the Prince.
She held him very tight and pressed
herself against his manly chest.
The Prince himself was turned to pulp,
All he could do was gasp and gulp.
Then midnight struck. She shouted,'Heck!
Ive got to run to save my neck!'
The Prince cried, 'No! Alas! Alack!'
He grabbed her dress to hold her back.
As Cindy shouted, 'Let me go!'
The dress was ripped from head to toe.

She ran out in her underwear,
And lost one slipper on the stair.
The Prince was on it like a dart,
He pressed it to his pounding heart,
'The girl this slipper fits,' he cried,
'Tomorrow morn shall be my bride!
I'll visit every house in town
'Until I've tracked the maiden down!'
Then rather carelessly, I fear,
He placed it on a crate of beer.

At once, one of the Ugly Sisters,
(The one whose face was blotched with blisters)
Sneaked up and grabbed the dainty shoe,
And quickly flushed it down the loo.
Then in its place she calmly put
The slipper from her own left foot.
Ah ha, you see, the plot grows thicker,
And Cindy's luck starts looking sicker.

Next day, the Prince went charging down
To knock on all the doors in town.
In every house, the tension grew.
Who was the owner of the shoe?
The shoe was long and very wide.
(A normal foot got lost inside.)
Also it smelled a wee bit icky.
(The owner's feet were hot and sticky.)
Thousands of eager people came
To try it on, but all in vain.
Now came the Ugly Sisters' go.
One tried it on. The Prince screamed, 'No!'
But she screamed, 'Yes! It fits! Whoopee!
'So now you've got to marry me!'
The Prince went white from ear to ear.
He muttered, 'Let me out of here.'
'Oh no you don't! You made a vow!
'There's no way you can back out now!'
'Off with her head!'The Prince roared back.
They chopped it off with one big whack.
This pleased the Prince. He smiled and said,
'She's prettier without her head.'
Then up came Sister Number Two,
Who yelled, 'Now I will try the shoe!'
'Try this instead!' the Prince yelled back.
He swung his trusty sword and smack
Her head went crashing to the ground.
It bounced a bit and rolled around.
In the kitchen, peeling spuds,
Cinderella heard the thuds
Of bouncing heads upon the floor,
And poked her own head round the door.
'What's all the racket? 'Cindy cried.
'Mind your own bizz,' the Prince replied.
Poor Cindy's heart was torn to shreds.
My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads!
How could I marry anyone
Who does that sort of thing for fun?

The Prince cried, 'Who's this dirty slut?
'Off with her nut! Off with her nut!'
Just then, all in a blaze of light,
The Magic Fairy hove in sight,
Her Magic Wand went swoosh and swish!
'Cindy! 'she cried, 'come make a wish!
'Wish anything and have no doubt
'That I will make it come about!'
Cindy answered, 'Oh kind Fairy,
'This time I shall be more wary.
'No more Princes, no more money.
'I have had my taste of honey.
I'm wishing for a decent man.
'They're hard to find. D'you think you can?'
Within a minute, Cinderella
Was married to a lovely feller,
A simple jam maker by trade,
Who sold good home-made marmalade.
Their house was filled with smiles and laughter
And they were happy ever after.

-- Roald Dahl

Cinderella, Read by Alan


Susan in Italy said...

How funny! Much better than the original, I must say. The concept sort of reminds me of Edward Gorey's Gashleycrumb Tinies. In rhyme and with each letter of the alphabet, he explains how each child died! "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil, assaulted by bears..." it's awful but for some reason I love it.

jenclair said...

I, too, love this kind of thing and will check out Dahl's poems. What fun!

Just read your book review of Inside the Kingdom and added it to my TBR list. Sounds fascinating, if chilling.

Grumpy said...

I was unaware of this poet. Thanks for the enlightenment. Try Ogden Nash.

Grumpy said...

RE Nash;
The Ice Breaker
Candy is dandy
But liquer is quicker.

My daughter added, But sex don't rot your teeth.

Dawn said...

Dahl is one of those writers who was able to please the adults reading the books and the kids listening!

booklogged said...

Enjoyed listening to the Cinderella poem. Thanks for including the link. I really haven't read Roald Dahl. Sounds like I'm missing out.

Saaleha said...

That was so much fun. I loved it and it brought back fond memories of the BFG. Thanks Lotus. I'm going to look Dahl up once more, just for the fun of it.

Bookfool said...

Love it! Great post! I enjoyed James and the Giant Peach, but I think my favorite Dahl is one of his memoirs, Going Solo. It is an absolute gem.

Incidentally, I see from that last post why people go to moderated posts. What a nuisance! I'm going to go to moderated just to avoid that!

Susan Abraham said...

Oh, is it really, Lotus? I hadn't realised.
Dahl wrote a lot of wicked satire too, didn't he.
I know that the local postmen where he lived in the country, used to take him thousands of letters from children all over the world, every few days.
That should have been complete satisfaction.

gautami tripathy said...

I simply loved Roald Dahl. I can't say which are my fav as I liked all I read.

hellomelissa said...

i remember being newlyweds and reading "james and the giant peach" aloud to eachother in bed at night, just to relive memories of childhood. i'm generic... my favorites are "chocolate factory" and "glass elevator." have them for h (age 7), but they're further down on his reading list. the boy already has a stack almost as big as mama's!

polapan said...

Liked your blog.
Good Readers are slowly getting extinct. Are you interested in Indian Fictions.
Recently reading Naiyer Masud. A outNout REVEALATION. One REASON WHY I AM telling it to everybody.
You will like him if you like Kafka or Borges. Outstanding and very fresh.

kimananda said...

How excellent this is...I had read (and heard being read) Dahl's take on Little Red Riding Hood, but had no idea that there was a whole series of's always so exciting to find new works from an old friend! :-)

Lotus Reads said...

Hi Susan! Wow, you make me want to check out Edward Gorey's Gashleycrumb Tinies...not sure why but I find these rhymes morbidly fascinating! :)

Hello Jenclair and welcome!

I learned a lot from reading "Inside the Kingdom". It has truly given me a new perspective on the women in Arab states and how their lives are shaped by their traditions and culture.

Hello Grumpy That's a nice rhyme, I will have to look up Ogden Nash.

Hi Dawn Well put! I think that's the reason for his being so popular both with kids and adults.

Hi booklogged Dahl's books are really easy to read - maybe you could read one of his books when you're looking for something light between reads.

You're welcome Saaleha I like to return to Dahl every now and again - my kids (even though they have moved on to other authors) are always happy to read his "Revolting Rhymes" with me!

Hello bookfool I haven't read Dahl's memoirs, but I would certainly like to. Thanks for giving me the title of the book, I will look for it in the library. And about these anonymous comments, I hate them too. I had enabled moderation for a while, but did away with it, perhaps a better thing for me to do would be to enable word verificaton. Many bloggers use it so I'm presuming that it works.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi Suse I was listening to an interview his widow gave the BBC and she said till today kids write to Dahl and when she gives talks in schools many of them refuse to believe that he is no more. He was well and truly loved.

Hi Gautami I know what you mean, it is hard to pick a favorite Dahl because they were all so good. Love your profile pic, btw. It just struck me that I don't have any of myself (no recent ones atleast) taken in a salwaar kurtha.

Hi ya Melissa That's a really fun thing to do, I wonder if M. will consent to reading Dahl with me? Maybe if I offer to read Dahl's collection of Revolting Rhymes he will! ;)

Hi polapan Thanks for the compliment. Do you really think there are fewer readers of literature or good fiction/non fiction today than there were 10 years ago? I was listening to a program on the BBC on how difficult it can be for a writer to get published and I could have sworn someone on the panel said there could soon be more writers than readers. Ofcourse, he was exaggerating, but I find it hard to accept that people are reading less if it that's at all true.

Hi, kimananda,and lovely to have you here. You put it so well when you wrote it is such a joy to find new works from an old friend for that's exactly how I felt when I first discovered his fairy tale rhymes. "The Three Pigs" is another favorite!

SuziQoregon said...

Obviously I haven't read enough of Dahl's work. Need to remedy that.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Do you mind if I add yours to my link list?

Lotus Reads said...

suziqoregon I would love it if you did, thank you!. I will be adding yours to my blogroll, too!

SuziQoregon said...

Thanks :-)

Carl V. said...

Roald Dahl was a unique and wonderful talent. I have laughed out loud at his children's stories (The Twits is my favorite) and have been captivated by his more twisted adult stories.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi Carl Delighted to see you here... I haven't read too many of Dahl's stories for adults, but given the genius the man had for satire, I'll bet they're oh so entertaining!

Carl V. said...

They are indeed great! He also edited a book of classic ghost stories that he himself chose...aptly titled Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories that I highly recommend.

Lotus Reads said...

Always happy for recommendations,Carl, so thank you! I hope I can find his book of ghost stories in our library!

J said...

I haven't read much Dahl..I loved "Danny, Champion of the World", though. My daughter, Maya, has MANY of his books, and reads them repeatedly. She loves Matilda. :)

A Reader from India said...

Hi Lotus,

I too love Dahl's 'Revolting Rhymes'. I read his autobiography - Boy and Going Solo last month, and loved it even more than his other delightful books. Among his books for children, Matilda remains my favouite.