Danny the Champion of the World Read online
Other books by Roald Dahl
BOY: TALES OF CHILDHOOD
BOY and GOING SOLO
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
CHARLIE AND THE GREAT GLASS ELEVATOR
THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF CHARLIE AND MR WILLY WONKA DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD
GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH
For younger readers
THE ENORMOUS CROCODILE
FANTASTIC MR FOX
THE GIRAFFE AND THE PELLY AND ME
THE MAGIC FINGER
DIRTY BEASTS (with Quentin Blake) THE ENORMOUS CROCODILE (with Quentin Blake) THE GIRAFFE AND THE PELLY AND ME (with Quentin Blake) THE MINPINS (with Patrick Benson) REVOLTING RHYMES (with Quentin Blake)
THE BFG: PLAYS FOR CHILDREN (Adapted by David Wood) CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: A PLAY (Adapted by Richard George) FANTASTIC MR FOX: A PLAY (Adapted by Sally Reid) JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH: A PLAY (Adapted by Richard George) THE TWITS: PLAYS FOR CHILDREN (Adapted by David Wood) THE WITCHES: PLAYS FOR CHILDREN (Adapted by David Wood)
THE GREAT AUTOMATIC GRAMMATIZATOR AND OTHER STORIES
SKIN AND OTHER STORIES
THE VICAR OF NIBBLESWICKE
THE WONDERFUL STORY OF HENRY SUGAR AND SIX MORE
Danny the Champion of the World
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberweii, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by Jonathan Cape Ltd 1975
Published in Puffin Books 1977
Reissued with new illustrations 1994 This edition published 2007
Text copyright (c) Roald Dahl Nominee Ltd, 1975
Illustrations copyright (c) Quentin Blake, 1994
All rights reserved
The moral right of the author and illustrator has been asserted
Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that init is published and without a similar condition including thiscondition being which imposed on the subsequent purchaser
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
This book is for the whole family
1 The Filling-station
2 The Big Friendly Giant
3 Cars and Kites and Fire-balloons
4 My Father's Deep Dark Secret
5 The Secret Methods
6 Mr Victor Hazell
7 The Baby Austin
8 The Pit
9 Doc Spencer
10 The Great Shooting Party
11 The Sleeping Beauty
12 Thursday and School
14 Into the Wood
15 The Keeper
16 The Champion of the World
17 The Taxi
19 Rockabye Baby
20 Goodbye, Mr Hazell
21 Doc Spencer's Surprise
22 My Father
When I was four months old, my mother died suddenly and my father was left to look after me all by himself. This is how I looked at the time.
I had no brothers or sisters.
So all through my boyhood, from the age of four months onward, there were just the two of us, my father and me.
We lived in an old gipsy caravan behind a filling-station. My father owned the filling-station and the caravan and a small field behind, but that was about all he owned in the world. It was a very small filling-station on a small country road surrounded by fields and woody hills.
While I was still a baby, my father washed me and fed me and changed my nappies and did all the millions of other things a mother normally does for her child. That is not an easy task for a man, especially when he has to earn his living at the same time by repairing motor-car engines and serving customers with petrol.
But my father didn't seem to mind. I think that all the love he had felt for my mother when she was alive he now lavished upon me. During my early years, I never had a moment's unhappiness or illness and here I am on my fifth birthday.
I was now a scruffy little boy as you can see, with grease and oil all over me, but that was because I spent all day in the workshop helping my father with the cars.
The filling-station itself had only two pumps. There was a wooden shed behind the pumps that served as an office. There was nothing in the office except an old table and a cash register to put the money into. It was one of those where you pressed a button and a bell rang and the drawer shot out with a terrific bang. I used to love that.
The square brick building to the right of the office was the workshop. My father built that himself with loving care, and it was the only really solid thing in the place. 'We are engineers, you and I,' he used to say to me. 'We earn our living by repairing engines and we can't do good work in a rotten workshop.' It was a fine workshop, big enough to take one car comfortably and leave plenty of room round the sides for working. It had a telephone so that customers could arrange to bring their cars in for repair.
The caravan was our house and our home. It was a real old gipsy wagon with big wheels and fine patterns painted all over it in yellow and red and blue. My father said it was at least a hundred and fifty years old. Many gipsy children, he said, had been born in it and had grown up within its wooden walls. With a horse to pull it, the old caravan must have wandered for thousands of miles along the roads and lanes of England. But now its wanderings were over, and because the wooden spokes in the wheels were beginning to rot, my father had propped it up underneath with bricks.
There was only one room in the caravan and it wasn't much bigger than a fair-sized modern bathroom. It was a narrow room, the shape of the caravan itself, and against the back wall were two bunk beds, one above the other. The top one was my father's, the bottom one mine.
Although we had electric lights in the workshop, we were not allowed to have them in the caravan. The electricity people said it was unsafe to put wires into something as old and rickety as that. So we got our heat and light in much the same way as the gips