Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Dahl Roald - Страница 2
'And is Mr Willy Wonka really the cleverest chocolate maker in the world?'
'My dear boy,' said Grandpa Joe, raising himself up a little higher on his pillow, 'Mr Willy Wonka is the most amazing, the most fantastic, the most extraordinary chocolate maker the world has ever seen! I thought everybody knew that!'
'I knew he was famous, Grandpa Joe, and I knew he was very clever …'
'Clever!' cried the old man. 'He's more than that! He's a magician with chocolate! He can make anything – anything he wants! Isn't that a fact, my dears?'
The other three old people nodded their heads slowly up and down, and said, 'Absolutely true. Just as true as can be.'
And Grandpa Joe said, 'You mean to say I've never told you about Mr Willy Wonka and his factory?'
'Never,' answered little Charlie.
'Good heavens above! I don't know what's the matter with me!'
'Will you tell me now, Grandpa Joe, please?'
'I certainly will. Sit down beside me on the bed, my dear, and listen carefully.'
Grandpa Joe was the oldest of the four grandparents. He was ninety-six and a half, and that is just about as old as anybody can be. Like all extremely old people, he was delicate and weak, and throughout the day he spoke very little. But in the evenings, when Charlie, his beloved grandson, was in the room, he seemed in some marvellous way to grow quite young again. All his tiredness fell away from him, and he became as eager and excited as a young boy.
'Oh, what a man he is, this Mr Willy Wonka!' cried Grandpa Joe. 'Did you know, for example, that he has himself invented more than two hundred new kinds of chocolate bars, each with a different centre, each far sweeter and creamier and more delicious than anything the other chocolate factories can make!'
'Perfectly true!' cried Grandma Josephine. 'And he sends them to all the four corners of the earth! Isn't that so, Grandpa Joe?'
'It is, my dear, it is. And to all the kings and presidents of the world as well. But it isn't only chocolate bars that he makes. Oh, dear me, no! He has some really fantastic inventions up his sleeve, Mr Willy Wonka has! Did you know that he's invented a way of making chocolate ice cream so that it stays cold for hours and hours without being in the refrigerator? You can even leave it lying in the sun all morning on a hot day and it won't go runny!'
'But that's impossible!' said little Charlie, staring at his grandfather.
'Of course it's impossible!' cried Grandpa Joe. 'It's completely absurd! But Mr Willy Wonka has done it!'
'Quite right!' the others agreed, nodding their heads. 'Mr Wonka has done it.'
'And then again,' Grandpa Joe went on speaking very slowly now so that Charlie wouldn't miss a word, 'Mr Willy Wonka can make marshmallows that taste of violets, and rich caramels that change colour every ten seconds as you suck them, and little feathery sweets that melt away deliciously the moment you put them between your lips. He can make chewing-gum that never loses its taste, and sugar balloons that you can blow up to enormous sizes before you pop them with a pin and gobble them up. And, by a most secret method, he can make lovely blue birds' eggs with black spots on them, and when you put one of these in your mouth, it gradually gets smaller and smaller until suddenly there is nothing left except a tiny little pink sugary baby bird sitting on the tip of your tongue.'
Grandpa Joe paused and ran the point of his tongue slowly over his lips. 'It makes my mouth water just thinking about it,' he said.
'Mine, too,' said little Charlie. 'But please go on.'
While they were talking, Mr and Mrs Bucket, Charlie's mother and father, had come quietly into the room, and now both were standing just inside the door, listening.
'Tell Charlie about that crazy Indian prince,' said Grandma Josephine. 'He'd like to hear that.'
'You mean Prince Pondicherry?' said Grandpa Joe, and he began chuckling with laughter. 'Completely dotty!' said Grandpa George. 'But very rich,' said Grandma Georgina. 'What did he do?' asked Charlie eagerly. 'Listen,' said Grandpa Joe, 'and I'll tell you.'
Mr Wonka and the Indian Prince
'Prince Pondicherry wrote a letter to Mr Willy Wonka,' said Grandpa Joe, 'and asked him to
come all the way out to India and build him a colossal palace entirely out of chocolate.'
'Did Mr Wonka do it, Grandpa?'
'He did, indeed. And what a palace it was! It had one hundred rooms, and everything was made of either dark or light chocolate! The bricks were chocolate, and the cement holding them together was chocolate, and the windows were chocolate, and all the walls and ceilings were made of chocolate, so were the carpets and the pictures and the furniture and the beds; and when you turned on the taps in the bathroom, hot chocolate came pouring out.
'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.'