Roald Dahl's Collection
Online Journey's Book Review Special


There was a film adapted version of this book in year 1989. The Story id all about a young boy named Danny. Danny's mother died suddenly when he was only four months old and from then on he lived with his father in an old Gypsy vardo at the back of a filling station, where his father fixed cars. By the time Danny was seven years old, he was able to take apart, and then put back together a switch motor.Danny's father owned the filling station, and it was the only piece of land for miles around that was not owned by a wealthy but unpleasant local man called Mr. Victor Hazell, who owns a brewery and drives around in a silver Rolls-Royce. After Mr. Hazell threatened Danny and Danny's father subsequently refused to give him service, various inspectors came to visit them, including a health inspector who said he was concerned about the condition of the caravan, and another inspector who wanted to check that the petrol being sold was of an adequate standard. Danny's father was convinced that Mr. Hazell was having these inspectors sent in to try and drive them out, and this made him furious.When Danny was nine years old he woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't find his father. When his father eventually returned, he said that he'd been to poach pheasants from Hazell's Wood. Danny's father then let Danny in on a secret of poaching: pheasants love raisins, and placing a raisin inside a "Sticky Hat" (a piece of paper rolled into a cone shape with glue on the inside) is the perfect trap with which to catch a pheasant, since it won't run away if it can't see. Another trick that Danny's dad taught him was the "Horse-Hair Stopper": A horse's tailhair, when threaded through a raisin, would cause the raisin (upon swallowing) to become lodged in the pheasant's throat. This in turn causes the pheasant to become so preoccupied with trying to swallow the raisin that a poacher can easily catch it. Other methods are less effective. Soaking the raisins in gin to make the pheasant drunk only works if the bird eats more than a dozen of them.One evening, Danny's father went poaching and promised to be back no later than 10:30 p.m. Danny, waking at 2.10am, discovers his father's absence. Fearing the worst, he sets off in an Austin Seven motor car that his father has been repairing, but while driving along the road he notices a car in the distance. He eventually passes the car and realises that it's the police, who then come back to pursue him. However, the windy layout of the road makes it easy for Danny to drive through a gap in a hedge without being seen, and the police car races past.He finds his father in Hazell's Wood, where he has fallen down a specially-dug pit-trap and suffered a broken ankle, and eventually manages to get him back to the car. They head home, where they call Doc Spencer, a good friend of Danny's father and a fellow poacher, to treat Danny's father for his injury. Danny's father is prescribed strong sleeping pills to deal with the pain of his broken ankle, but declines to use them.While Danny's father is recovering from his injury, they hear that Mr. Hazell's annual pheasant-shooting party is approaching, which he hosts to curry favor and prestige among the gentry. They decide to humiliate him by luring all the pheasants away from the forest, so there will be no pheasants to shoot. Danny suggests that they should put the contents of sleeping tablets inside raisins which the pheasants will then eat; his father dubs this new method the "Sleeping Beauty." Having poached 120 pheasants from Mr. Hazell's woods, they hide the drugged pheasants at the local vicar's house, while they take a taxi home. The next morning, the vicar's wife delivers the sleeping pheasants in a specially-built oversized baby carriage. As she is walking toward them, the pheasants began to wake up and fly, but they droopily fall back down. An angry Hazell arrives at the filling station just as the pheasants are waking up. With the help of Sgt. Samways, the local constable, Danny and his father herd the groggy birds onto Hazell's Rolls Royce, where they scratch the paintwork and defecate all over it, inside and out. Once the pheasants have woken completely, they fly away from the scene - in the opposite direction from Hazell's wood. Mr. Hazell drives off in disgrace, his fancy car and shooting party both ruined.Danny is hailed as "the champion of the world" by his father, Doc Spencer, and Sgt. Samways, but their victory is a bittersweet one, due to the fact that all the pheasants flew away. But Doc Spencer shows them six pheasants who have died from eating too many drugged raisins. They each receive two pheasants, except the Doc, who didn't want any.Danny and his father walk off toward town, intending to buy a new oven for cooking their pheasants. As they stroll along, Danny muses about how fortunate he is to have a father who is so imaginative and fun to be with.


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