Pages: 231 p.
First Published: 1959
Explanation Title: The (under)title from the book comes from the fact that the book has 11 “long short” stories. Almost every story is also very creepy, a bit like a horror-story. It is also very “mind-bending”; you want to read the whole story at once……
Setting: Every story happened in the 20e century, except for the story “Genesis and Catastrophe”, in which the birth of Adolf Hitler is told. The place of the stories is different too; some took place in the USA, some in the United Kingdom.
I have discussed in greater detail the following two stories; Parson’s pleasure and the champion of the world, because these stories were very nice.
This story is about Billy Weaver. He wanted to stay in a pension or a hotel in a small village. Because he didn’t want to pay much, he was looking for a cheap hotel. When he found a hotel, there were no other visitors. Just a nice lady who was in charge there. During his first evening he talkes with the woman about the other guests. And then he found out that he was the only visitor at that moment and the third visitor ever who had been there. She told him that the other guests were there for 3 years ago, but she said that they were still in the hotel; on the third floor. When Billy was taking a look, he saw a lot of stuffed dead animals. The woman told him that she had done it by herself. She also said that she wanted to have Billy name, because she could forget that.
Probably the woman will kill Billy and then she will stuff him up, just what she probably did with the three other guests……
William and Mary
When William Pearl died, he left a letter to his wife, Mary. In this letter Mary could read that when William was in the hospital, a professor came to him. His name was Landy and he suggested him that he would like to take the brains out of William’s head when he will die. After that, he would try to let the brains live, without a body. When Mary read all this she contacted Pr. Landy. Then she went to the hospital and together with the professor she saw the brains of William, together with one eye. By this way William could see. First, Mary was against the plans of Mr. Landy, but when she saw the brains, she thought: “that’s sweat!!” She asked the professor if she could go home, together with William. She did. At home, she did all kind of things who William had forbidden her, like smoking. But in this situation, William could do nothing about it…..
The way up to heaven
Mr. Foster knew that his wife hated to be late somewhere and when she had to be in France he let her wait for a long while before driving her to the airport. After a while waiting, she came into the house to look for Mr. Foster. She couldn’t find him and she decided to go anyway. When she returned after 6 weeks ( she went to her grandchildren in France ) she still couldn’t find him. But when she wanted to go upstairs with the elevator, she mentioned that it was stuck between two floors…… there was also a strange smell…..
The clou of the story is that Mr. Foster has been in that stucked elevator for 6 weeks and he didn’t survive this.
Mr. Boggis was a dealer in antique furniture. He had achieved fame because of his rare furniture. His secret was that he just went through the countryside….
There he went to every house and just went in with his parson’s clothes. He came in just by telling that he want to look at the furniture and register them in a book. He was an excellent liar, so he came in always. When he was in, he began to look after furniture. He found out that there were a lot of rare and very valu-able furniture in the countryside. And the owners didn’t know that their furniture was so valuable. So Mr. Boggis just told them that their furniture was worth nothing. Then he would buy those ‘unvaluable’ things and brought them to the city. There he sold them for a lot of money; he can become rich that way…….
One time, when he was in the countryside, he came into an old dirty farm. When he came in, after telling a lie, he saw a commode which was worth a lot of money. It was very rare and he could get very much money for it. It was his biggest catch ever., maybe ever in the world. He got very excited and he wanted to take the commode with him. He couldn’t get the thing with him unless he told the owner a lie. So he did. He told them that he needed the lousy thing just for its legs. In this way, he bought it for a few pounds. Then Mr. Boggis went outside to got his car. While he was gone, the owners decided to take the commode outside and then they began to damage the whole thing. They did this because they thought that the parson only needed the legs. So they cracked the very valuable thing.
The story ends with the returning of Mr. Boggis, who thinks he is very rich now……
Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel’s coat
Mrs. Bixby always told her husband once a month that she went to her old aunt. But in fact she went to her secret lover, the colonel. After her last meeting with him she got from him a beautiful mink coat that was very, very expensive. She couldn’t tell Mr. Bixby that she got it from the colonel, so she pawned it. She told her husband that she had found the little ticket she received from the pawner on the street. The next Monday Mr. Bixby would like to get the ‘free’ thing. Mrs. Bixby, of course, expected the coat, but instead of it she got just a neckless. Instead of her she saw an assistant of Mr. Bixby, he was a dentist, with the coat……..
So not only Mrs. Bixby has a secret lover; Mr. Bixby has got one too…….
Albert and Mabel Taylor had got a little baby, who didn’t want to eat or drink. One day Albert had got an idea; he put just a little bit of royal jelly in the milk. He got the royal jelly from his own bees. Now the baby wanted to drink again and began to grow very fast. After a day Albert told Mabel that he himself drank the stuff too. When Mabel looked at the belly of the baby there was hair growing on it. When she looked at her husband she noticed that he was all covered with the light yellow hair; just like bees……
So after a time the baby will turn into a giant bee.
Georgy Porgy was a vicar and he has had a terrible accident in his youth. That’s why he now is afraid of women. He never liked to touch or to be touched by a woman. When he had a sort of party where a lot of woman were, a woman tried to kiss him in a shed, outside where the party was. When she did this he remem-bers his accident in his youth and then he scratched the woman. After that he was called a ‘sexcist’ and all. After this he had to go to a sort of madhouse. But the strange thing was that he liked it there, because there, in that house, there were no women…..
Genesis and Catastrophe
A woman got a baby. When the baby is out, everybody saw that it was a boy. She was very lucky that it was alright, because she has had already 3 baby’s, but all of them died. So also the doctor was very glad that this one was healthy. Then the doctor asked the woman, her backname was Hitler, how she named her new son. Her answer was Adolfus.
So we, as a reader, know that it would be better when this child wasn’t born at all. If this baby wouldn’t have been born, many lives would be spared…..
Edward the conqueror
One day a cat came to the house of Louisa and Edward. When Louisa played something on her piano from Liszt the cat began to listen very carefully. But when she played something from Vivaldi or Schumann the cat began to behave different. Because of this Louisa thought the cat was a reincarnation of Liszt. She has got the greatest plans with the cat. She liked to show the cat to all kind of people in their house. But Edward didn’t believe a thing from all this and most of all he didn’t like to have much people in his house. When Louisa returned from the kitchen she saw Edward coming out of the garden, where he burned things, with a scratch on his hand. She also didn’t see the cat anymore…
So Edward has killed the cat by throwing it into the fire….
Lexington was raised by his great aunt. He was a brilliant cook and now he was writing a cookingbook. When his great aunt died, he went to New York to get her will. She left a great amount of money. While he was in New York he ate for the first time in his young life, he was 17, meat. He found it delicious. So he wanted to know how this meat was cooked. Then the cook said that the most of all meat was pork, pig, but sometimes he also got human’s flesh from the butcher. After that Lexington wanted to know how from the pigs meat was made. So he went to a packinghouse. A lot of people were there who liked to be guided through the building. When he started his guiding through the building he himself also was cut his neck, just like normally the pigs are, and he also was butchered…
The champion of the world
Claud and Gordon together lived by a fillingstation. Claud has always poached a lot, especially the last summer. He did this in a wood from a very rich man, Mr. Hazel. In that wood were a lot of pheasants. This time Claud wanted to take Gordon with him. That because the fact that that was the last occasion of poaching the animals, because a day later they would al be killed by the ‘friend’ of Mr. Hazel. Gordon was very excited. Claud wanted Gordon to pick up a way out to poach the pheasants. ( there were different ways of doing it.) Gordon came up with a even better idea. He would like to put in the raisins a bit of sleeping-pills. Claud thought this was a very good idea. When they came into the wood they began to feed the raisins to the animals. They did it quick because there were keepers in the wood. After a while the pheasants just began to fall out of the trees where they were sleeping in. Quick they began to collect the animals. They had 120 animals!!! After collecting they brought the animals to a respectable woman in town, who could bring the great amount of animals to them the next morning. But while she was bringing the birds inside they began to awake and flow out of the pram. ( The woman put more than 60 or 70 birds under her baby in the pram.) The pheasants began to poke the baby in his bud. When she reached the fillingstation she picked up the baby and all the birds were flying out of it now. The birds now were all sitting on the station. Claud now remembered that today it was the day that there would be a lot of rich hunters to hunt for the animals who were now all here….
I think that all these sories in this book are very nice; all of them are exciting and when you read the first part of the story, you really want to know how the story ends….
Roald Dahl was born at Llanndaff, Glamorgan. That was in the year 1916.
Some other works of him are:
- Someone like you
- Tales of the unexpected
- Over to you
Andere boeken van deze auteur:
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