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Roald Dahl

When little Snow-White’s mother died
The King, her father, up and cried
“Oh, what a nuisance! What a life!
Now I must find another wife.”
(It’s never easy for a King
To find himself that sort of thing.)
He wrote to every magazine
And said, “I’m looking for a Queen.”
At least ten thousand girls replied
And begged to be the royal bride
The king said with a shifty smile
“I’d like to give each one a trial.”
However, in the end he chose
A lady called Miss Maclahose
Who brought along a curious toy
That seemed to give her endless joy.
This was a mirror framed in brass
Ask it something day or night
It always got the answer right
For instance, if you were to say
“Oh Mirror, what’s for lunch today?”
The thing would answer in a trice
“Today it’s scrambled eggs and rice.”
Now every day, week in week out
The spoiled and stupid Queen would shout
“Oh Mirror Mirror on the wall
Who is the fairest of them all?”
The Mirror answered every time
“Oh Madam, you’re the Queen sublime
You are the only one to charm us
Queen, you are the cat’s pyjamas.”

For ten whole years the silly Queen
Repeated this absurd routine
Then suddenly, one awful day
She heard the Magic Mirror say
“From now on Queen, you’re number two
Snow-White is prettier than you.”
The Queen went absolutely wild
She yelled, “I’m going to scrag that child.”
“I’ll cook her flaming goose, I’ll skin her
I’ll have her rotten guts for dinner.”
She called the Huntsman to her study
She shouted at him, “Listen, buddy,
You drag that filthy girl outside
And see you take her for a ride
Thereafter slit her ribs apart
And bring me back her bleeding heart.”
The Huntsman dragged the lovely child
Deep deep into the forest wild
Fearing the worst, poor Snow-White spake
She cried, “Oh please give me a break.”
The knife was poised, the arm was strong
She cried again, “I’ve done no wrong.”
The Huntsman’s heart began to flutter
It melted like a pound of butter.
He murmured, “Okay, beat it, kid.”
And you can bet your life she did
Later, the Huntsman made a stop
Within the local butcher’s shop
And there he bought, for safety’s sake
A bullocks heart and one nice steak
“Oh Majesty! Oh Queen,” he cried
“That rotten little girl has died.
And just to prove I didn’t cheat
I’ve brought along these bits of meat.”
The Queen cried out, “Bravissimo
I trust you killed her nice and slow.”
Then (this is the disgusting part)
The Queen sat down and ate the heart
(I only hope she cooked it well
Boiled heart can be as tough as hell)

While all this was going on
Oh where, oh where had Snow-White gone?
She’d found it easy, being pretty
To hitch a ride into the city
And there she’d got a job, unpaid
As general cook and parlour-maid
With seven funny little men
Each one not more than three foot ten
Ex horse-race jockeys, all of them
These seven dwarfs, though awfully nice
Were guilty of one shocking vice
They squandered all of their resources
At the race-track backing horses
(When they hadn’t backed a winner
None of them got any dinner)
One evening, Snow-White said, “Look here,
I think I’ve got a great idea
Just leave it all to me, okay,
And no more gambling till I say.”
That very night, at eventide
Young Snow-White hitched another ride
And then, when it was very late
She slipped in through the Palace gate
The King was in his counting house
Counting out his money
The Queen was in the parlour
Eating bread and honey
The footmen and the servants slept
So no one saw her as she crept
On tip-toe through the mighty hall
And grabbed THE MIRROR off the wall

As soon as she had got it home
She told the Senior Dwarf (or Gnome)
To ask it what he wished to know
“Go on,” she shouted, “Have a go.”
He said, “Oh Mirror, please don’t joke
Each of us is stony broke
Which horse will win tomorrow’s race,
The Ascot Gold Cup Steeple-chase?”
The Mirror whispered sweet and low
“The horse’s name is Mistletoe.”
The Dwarfs went absolutely daft
They kissed young Snow-White fore and aft
Then rushed away to raise some dough
With which to back old Mistletoe
They pawned their watches, sold the car
They borrowed money near and far
(For much of it they had to thank
The Manager of Barclays Bank)

They went to Ascot and of course
For once they backed the winning horse
Thereafter, every single day
The Mirror made the bookies pay
Each Dwarf and Snow-White got a share
And each was soon a millionaire
Which shows that gambling’s not a sin
Provided that you always win.



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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 a second 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 caviar.

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.''


Roald Dahl, Revolting Rhymes

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Thinking on the red riding hood story in today's world and how different it would have been. She would have been arrested and charged with killing an endangered species and her parents would have been in court for endangering a minor by sending her alone into a forest. Social services would be raked over the coals for not ensuring that both the red and her grandmother had adequate care in place and finally red herself would have been charged with several firearms offences and have the condemnation of the animal rights people for wearing animal skins.

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