Last Friday we all celebrated Roald Dahl Day - the day set aside each year for the great man’s birthday to celebrate with frobbscottle and whizzpoppers and all that was good about the person who was quite frankly a level above genius. His storytelling was unsurpassed and his words some of the wisest I’ve ever come across.
There’s not a week goes by when I don’t walk into a school and find either a class studying his work or a pupil clutching a copy of Matilda, Charlie, James or George’s story and I can’t see that ever changing. He’s a giant (a big friendly one) and deserves to be rightly celebrated.
Here is possibly one of his best. Straight out of his collection ‘Revolting Rhymes’ - we have a retelling of the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood. And oh boy, is there a twist...
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AND THE WOLF
As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma's door.
When Grandma opened it, she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
And Wolfie said, 'May I come in?'
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
'He's going to eat me up!' she cried.
And she was absolutely right.
He ate her up in one big bite.
But Grandmamma was small and tough,
And Wolfie wailed, 'That's not enough!
'I haven't yet begun to feel
'That I have had a decent meal!'
He ran around the kitchen yelping,
'I've got to have another helping!'
Then added with a frightful leer,
'I'm therefore going to wait right here
'Till Little Miss Red Riding Hood
'Comes home from walking in the wood.'
He quickly put on Grandma's clothes,
(Of course he hadn't eaten those.)
He dressed himself in coat and hat.
He put on shoes and after that
He even brushed and curled his hair,
Then sat himself in Grandma's chair.
In came the little girl in red.
She stopped. She stared. And then she said,
'What great big ears you have, Grandma.'
'All the better to hear you with,' the Wolf replied.
'What great big eyes you have, Grandma,' said Little Red Riding Hood.
'All the better to see you with,' the Wolf replied.
He sat there watching her and smiled.
He thought, I'm going to eat this child.
Compared with her old Grandmamma
She's going to taste like caviare.
Then Little Red Riding Hood said,
'But Grandma, what a lovely great big furry coat you have on.'
'That's wrong!' cried Wolf. 'Have you forgot
'To tell me what BIG TEETH I've got?
'Ah well, no matter what you say,
'I'm going to eat you anyway.
The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature's head
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.
A few weeks later, in the wood,
I came across Miss Riding Hood.
But what a change! No cloak of red,
No silly hood upon her head.
She said, 'Hello, and do please note
'My lovely furry WOLFSKIN COAT.'