Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Page 2Roald Dahl
'When it was all finished, Mr Wonka said to Prince Pondicherry, "I warn you, though, it won't last very long, so you'd better start eating it right away."
' "Nonsense!" shouted the Prince. "I'm not going to eat my palace! I'm not even going to nibble the staircase or lick the walls! I'm going to live in it!"
'But Mr Wonka was right, of course, because soon after this, there came a very hot day with a boiling sun, and the whole palace began to melt, and then it sank slowly to the ground, and the crazy prince, who was dozing in the living room at the time, woke up to find himself swimming around in a huge brown sticky lake of chocolate.'
Little Charlie sat very still on the edge of the bed, staring at his grandfather. Charlie's face was bright, and his eyes were stretched so wide you could see the whites all around. 'Is all this really true?' he asked. 'Or are you pulling my leg?'
'It's true!' cried all four of the old people at once. 'Of course it's true! Ask anyone you like!'
'And I'll tell you something else that's true,' said Grandpa Joe, and now he leaned closer to Charlie, and lowered his voice to a soft, secret whisper. 'Nobody... ever... comes... out!'
'Out of where?' asked Charlie.
'And... nobody... ever... goes... in!'
'In where?' cried Charlie.
'Wonka's factory, of course!'
'Grandpa, what do you mean?'
'I mean workers, Charlie.'
'All factories,' said Grandpa Joe, 'have workers streaming in and out of the gates in the mornings and evenings - except Wonka's! Have you ever seen a single person going into that place - or coming out?'
Little Charlie looked slowly around at each of the four old faces, one after the other, and they all looked back at him. They were friendly smiling faces, but they were also quite serious. There was no sign of joking or leg-pulling on any of them.
'Well? Have you?' asked Grandpa Joe.
'I... I really don't know, Grandpa,' Charlie stammered. 'Whenever I walk past the factory, the gates seem to be closed.'
'Exactly!' said Grandpa Joe.
'But there must be people working there...'
'Not people, Charlie. Not ordinary people, anyway.'
'Then who?' cried Charlie.
'Ah-ha... That's it, you see... That's another of Mr Willy Wonka's clevernesses.'
'Charlie, dear,' Mrs Bucket called out from where she was standing by the door, 'it's time for bed. That's enough for tonight.'
'But, Mother, I must hear...'
'Tomorrow, my darling...'
'That's right,' said Grandpa Joe, 'I'll tell you the rest of it tomorrow evening.'
The Secret Workers
The next evening, Grandpa Joe went on with his story.
'You see, Charlie,' he said, 'not so very long ago there used to be thousands of people working in Mr Willy Wonka's factory. Then one day, all of a sudden, Mr Wonka had to ask every single one of them to leave, to go home, never to come back.'
'But why?' asked Charlie.
'Because of spies.'
'Yes. All the other chocolate makers, you see, had begun to grow jealous of the wonderful sweets that Mr Wonka was making, and they started sending in spies to steal his secret recipes. The spies took jobs in the Wonka factory, pretending that they were ordinary workers, and while they were there, each one of them found out exactly how a certain special thing was made.'
'And did they go back to their own factories and tell?' asked Charlie.
'They must have,' answered Grandpa Joe, 'because soon after that, Fickelgruber's factory started making an ice cream that would never melt, even in the hottest sun. Then Mr Prodnose's factory came out with a chewing-gum that never lost its flavour however much you chewed it. And then Mr Slugworth's factory began making sugar balloons that you could blow up to huge sizes before you popped them with a pin and gobbled them up. And so on, and so on. And Mr Willy Wonka tore his beard and shouted, "This is terrible! I shall be ruined! There are spies everywhere! I shall have to close the factory!" '
'But he didn't do that!' Charlie said.
'Oh, yes he did. He told all the workers that he was sorry, but they would have to go home. Then, he shut the main gates and fastened them with a chain. And suddenly, Wonka's giant chocolate factory became silent and deserted. The chimneys stopped smoking, the machines stopped whirring, and from then on, not a single chocolate or sweet was made. Not a soul went in or out, and even Mr Willy Wonka himself disappeared completely.
'Months and months went by,' Grandpa Joe went on, 'but still the factory remained closed. And everybody said, "Poor Mr Wonka. He was so nice. And he made such marvellous things. But he's finished now. It's all over."
'Then something astonishing happened. One day, early in the morning, thin columns of white smoke were seen to be coming out of the tops of the tall chimneys of the factory! People in the town stopped and stared. "What's going on?" they cried. "Someone's lit the furnaces! Mr Wonka must be opening up again!" They ran to the gates, expecting to see them wide open and Mr Wonka standing there to welcome his workers back.
'But no! The great iron gates were still locked and chained as securely as ever, and Mr Wonka was nowhere to be seen.
' "But the factory is working!" the people shouted. "Listen! You can hear the machines! They're all whirring again! And you can smell the smell of melting chocolate in the air!" '
Grandpa Joe leaned forward and laid a long bony finger on Charlie's knee, and he said softly, 'But most mysterious of all, Charlie, were the shadows in the windows of the factory. The people standing on the street outside could see small dark shadows moving about behind the frosted glass windows.'
'Shadows of whom?' said Charlie quickly.
'That's exactly what everybody else wanted to know.
' "The place is full of workers!" the people shouted. "But nobody's gone in! The gates are locked! It's crazy! Nobody ever comes out, either!"
'But there was no question at all,' said Grandpa Joe, 'that the factory was running. And it's gone on running ever since, for these last ten years. What's more, the chocolates and sweets it's been turning out have become more fantastic and delicious all the time. And of course now when Mr Wonka invents some new and wonderful sweet, neither Mr Fickelgruber nor Mr Prodnose nor Mr Slugworth nor anybody else is able to copy it. No spies can go into the factory to find out how it is made.'
'But Grandpa, who,' cried Charlie, 'who is Mr Wonka using to do all the work in the factory?'
'Nobody knows, Charlie.'
'But that's ahsurd! Hasn't someone asked Mr Wonka?'
'Nobody sees him any more. He never comes out. The only things that come out of that place are chocolates and sweets. They come out through a special trap door in the wall, all packed and addressed, and they are picked up every day by Post Office trucks.'
'But Grandpa, what sort of people are they that work in there?'
'My dear boy,' said Grandpa Joe, 'that is one of the great mysteries of the chocolate-making world. We know only one thing about them. They are very small. The faint shadows that sometimes appear behind the windows, especially late at night when the lights are on, are those of tiny people, people no taller than my knee...'
'There aren't any such people,' Charlie said.
Just then, Mr Bucket, Charlie's father, came into the room. He was home from the toothpaste factory, and he was waving an evening newspaper rather excitedly. 'Have you heard the news?' he cried. He held up the paper so that they could see the huge headline. The headline said:
WONKA FACTORY TO BE OPENED AT LAST TO LUCKY FEW
The Golden Tickets
'You mean people are actually going to be allowed to go inside the factory?' cried Grandpa Joe. 'Read us what it says - quickly!'
'All right,' said Mr Bucket, smoothing out the newspaper. 'Listen.'
Mr Willy Wonka, the confectionery genius whom nobody has seen for
the last tenyears, sent out the following notice today:
I, Willy Wonka, have decided to allow five children - just five, mind you, and no more - to visit my factory this year. These lucky five will be shown around personally by me, and they will be allowed to see all the secrets and the magic of my factory. Then, at the end of the tour, as a special present, all of them will be given enough chocolates and sweets to last them for the rest of their lives! So watch out for the Golden Tickets! Five Golden Tickets have beenprinted on golden paper, and these five Golden Tickets have been hidden underneath the ordinary wrapping paper of five ordinary bars of chocolate. These five chocolate bars may be anywhere - in any shop in any street in any town in any country in the world - upon any counter where Wonka's Sweets are sold. And the five lucky finders of these five Golden Tickets are the only ones who will be allowed to visit my factory and see what it's like now inside! Good luck to you all, and happy hunting! (Signed Willy Wonka.)
'The man's dotty!' muttered Grandma Josephine.
'He's brilliant!' cried Grandpa Joe. 'He's a magician! Just imagine what will happen now! The whole world will be searching for those Golden Tickets! Everyone will be buying Wonka's chocolate bars in the hope of finding one! He'll sell more than ever before! Oh, how exciting it would be to find one!'
'And all the chocolate and sweets that you could eat for the rest of your life - free!' said Grandpa George. 'Just imagine that!'
'They'd have to deliver them in a truck!' said Grandma Georgina.
'It makes me quite ill to think of it,' said Grandma Josephine.
'Nonsense!' cried Grandpa Joe. 'Wouldn't it be something, Charlie, to open a bar of chocolate and see a Golden Ticket glistening inside!'
'It certainly would, Grandpa. But there isn't a hope,' Charlie said sadly. 'I only get one bar a year.'
'You never know, darling,' said Grandma Georgina. 'It's your birthday next week. You have as much chance as anybody else.'
'I'm afraid that simply isn't true,' said Grandpa George. 'The kids who are going to find the Golden Tickets are the ones who can afford to buy bars of chocolate every day. Our Charlie gets only one a year. There isn't a hope.'
The First Two Finders
The very next day, the first Golden Ticket was found. The finder was a boy called Augustus Gloop, and Mr Bucket's evening newspaper carried a large picture of him on the front page. The picture showed a nine-year-old boy who was so enormously fat he looked as though he had been blown up with a powerful pump. Great flabby folds of fat bulged out from every part of his body, and his face was like a monstrous ball of dough with two small greedy curranty eyes peering out upon the world. The town in which Augustus Gloop lived, the newspaper said, had gone wild with excitement over their hero. Flags were flying from all the windows, children had been given a holiday from school, and a parade was being organized in honour of the famous youth.
'I just knew Augustus would find a Golden Ticket,' his mother had told the newspapermen. 'He eats so many bars of chocolate a day that it was almost impossible for him not to find one. Eating is his hobby, you know. That's all he's interested in. But still, that's better than being a hooligan and shooting off zip guns and things like that in his spare time, isn't it? And what I always say is, he wouldn't go on eating like he does unless he needed nourishment, would he? It's all vitamins, anyway. What a thrill it will be for him to visit Mr Wonka's marvellous factory! We're just as proud as anything!'
'What a revolting woman,' said Grandma Josephine.
'And what a repulsive boy,' said Grandma Georgina.
'Only four Golden Tickets left,' said Grandpa George. 'I wonder who'll get those.'
And now the whole country, indeed, the whole world, seemed suddenly to be caught up in a mad chocolate-buying spree, everybody searching frantically for those precious remaining tickets. Fully grown women were seen going into sweet shops and buying ten Wonka bars at a time, then tearing off the wrappers on the spot and peering eagerly underneath for a glint of golden paper. Children were taking hammers and smashing their piggy banks and running out to the shops with handfuls of money. In one city, a famous gangster robbed a bank of a thousand pounds and spent the whole lot on Wonka bars that same afternoon. And when the police entered his house to arrest him, they found him sitting on the floor amidst mountains of chocolate, ripping off the wrappers with the blade of a long dagger. In far-off Russia, a woman called Charlotte Russe claimed to have found the second ticket, but it turned out to be a clever fake. The famous English scientist, Professor Foulbody, invented a machine which would tell you at once, without opening the wrapper of a bar of chocolate, whether or not there was a Golden Ticket hidden underneath it. The machine had a mechanical arm that shot out with tremendous force and grabbed hold of anything that had the slightest bit of gold inside it, and for a moment, it looked like the answer to everything. But unfortunately, while the Professor was showing off the machine to the public at the sweet counter of a large department store, the mechanical arm shot out and made a grab for the gold filling in the back tooth of a duchess who was standing near by. There was an ugly scene, and the machine was smashed by the crowd.
Suddenly, on the day before Charlie Bucket's birthday, the newspapers announced that the second Golden Ticket had been found. The lucky person was a small girl called Veruca Salt who lived with her rich parents in a great city far away. Once again Mr Bucket's evening newspaper carried a big picture of the finder. She was sitting between her beaming father and mother in the living room of their house, waving the Golden Ticket above her head, and grinning from ear to ear.
Veruca's father, Mr Salt, had eagerly explained to the newspapermen exactly how the ticket was found. 'You see, boys,' he had said, 'as soon as my little girl told me that she simply had to have one of those Golden Tickets, I went out into the town and started buying up all the Wonka bars I could lay my hands on. Thousands of them, I must have bought. Hundreds of thousands! Then I had them loaded on to trucks and sent directly to my own factory. I'm in the peanut business, you see, and I've got about a hundred women working for me over at my place, shelling peanuts for roasting and salting. That's what they do all day long, those women, they sit there shelling peanuts. So I says to them, "Okay, girls," I says, "from now on, you can stop shelling peanuts and start shelling the wrappers off these chocolate bars instead!" And they did. I had every worker in the place yanking the paper off those bars of chocolate full speed ahead from morning till night.
'But three days went by, and we had no luck. Oh, it was terrible! My little Veruca got more and more upset each day, and every time I went home she would scream at me, "Where's my Golden Ticket! I want my Golden Ticket!" And she would lie for hours on the floor, kicking and yelling in the most disturbing way. Well, I just hated to see my little girl feeling unhappy like that, so I vowed I would keep up the search until I'd got her what she wanted. Then suddenly... on the evening of the fourth day, one of my women workers yelled, "I've got it! A Golden Ticket!" And I said, "Give it to me, quick!" and she did, and I rushed it home and gave it to my darling Veruca, and now she's all smiles, and we have a happy home once again.'
'That's even worse than the fat boy,' said Grandma Josephine.
'She needs a really good spanking,' said Grandma Georgina.
'I don't think the girl's father played it quite fair, Grandpa, do you?' Charlie murmured.
'He spoils her,' Grandpa Joe said. 'And no good can ever come from spoiling a child like that, Charlie, you mark my words.'
'Come to bed, my darling,' said Charlie's mother. 'Tomorrow's your birthday, don't forget that, so I expect you'll be up early to open your present.'
'A Wonka chocolate bar!' cried Charlie. 'It is a Wonka bar, isn't it?'
'Yes, my love,' his mother said. 'Of course it is.'
'Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if I found the third Golden Ticket inside it?' Charlie said.
'Bring it in here when you get it,' Grandpa Joe said. 'Then we can all watch you taking of
f the wrapper.'
'Happy birthday!' cried the four old grandparents, as Charlie came into their room early the next morning.
Charlie smiled nervously and sat down on the edge of the bed. He was holding his present, his only present, very carefully in his two hands. WONKA'S WHIPPLE-SCRUMPTIOUS FUDGEMALLOW DELIGHT, it said on the wrapper.
The four old people, two at either end of the bed, propped themselves up on their pillows and stared with anxious eyes at the bar of chocolate in Charlie's hands.
Mr and Mrs Bucket came in and stood at the foot of the bed, watching Charlie.
The room became silent. Everybody was waiting now for Charlie to start opening his present. Charlie looked down at the bar of chocolate. He ran his fingers slowly back and forth along the length of it, stroking it lovingly, and the shiny paper wrapper made little sharp crackly noises in the quiet room.
Then Mrs Bucket said gently, 'You mustn't be too disappointed, my darling, if you don't find what you're looking for underneath that wrapper. You really can't expect to be as lucky as all that.'
'She's quite right,' Mr Bucket said.
Charlie didn't say anything.
'After all,' Grandma Josephine said, 'in the whole wide world there are only three tickets left to be found.'
'The thing to remember,' Grandma Georgina said, 'is that whatever happens, you'll still have the bar of chocolate.'
'Wonka's Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight!' cried Grandpa George. 'It's the best of them all! You'll just love it!'
'Yes,' Charlie whispered. 'I know.'
'Just forget all about those Golden Tickets and enjoy the chocolate,' Grandpa Joe said. 'Why don't you do that?'
They all knew it was ridiculous to expect this one poor little bar of chocolate to have a magic ticket inside it, and they were trying as gently and as kindly as they could to prepare Charlie for the disappointment. But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance was there.