On Saturday, the Guardian published a lost chapter from one of Roald Dahl's earlier drafts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. While the Dahl classic reads like a charming escapist fantasy, it's at heart a grim morality tale about badly-behaved children being punished in various gruesome ways — and now we know just how dark Dahl originally wanted to go.
The newly released chapter was cut after being "deemed too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral for the tender minds of British children almost 50 years ago," according to the Guardian, and it's pretty clear why.
In earlier drafts of the book, there were more children than the final five that made into the published version, and in this chapter, the tour group comes across the Vanilla Fudge Room of the Chocolate Factory:
In the centre of the room there was an actual mountain, a colossal jagged mountain as high as a five-storey building, and the whole thing was made of pale-brown, creamy, vanilla fudge. All the way up the sides of the mountain, hundreds of men were working away with picks and drills, hacking great hunks of fudge out of the mountainside; and some of them, those that were high up in dangerous places, were roped together for safety.
As the huge hunks of fudge were pried loose, they went tumbling and bouncing down the mountain, and when they reached the bottom they were picked up by cranes with grab-buckets, and the cranes dumped the fudge into open waggons – into an endless moving line of waggons (rather like smallish railway waggons) which carried the stuff away to the far end of the room and then through a hole in the wall.
Things then go quickly awry when two kids — Timmy Troutbeck and Wilbur Rice — decide to ignore Willy Wonka's warnings and climb onto the waggons. They soon disappear into the wall of fudge, and their final destination sounds far from pleasant:
"Don't say I didn't warn them," Mr. Wonka declared. "Your children are not particularly obedient, are they?"
"But where has it gone?" Both mothers cried at the same time. "What's through that hole?"
"That hole," said Mr Wonka, "leads directly to what we call The Pounding And Cutting Room. In there, the rough fudge gets tipped out of the waggons into the mouth of a huge machine. The machine then pounds it against the floor until it is all nice and smooth and thin. After that, a whole lot of knives come down and go chop chop chop, cutting it up into neat little squares, ready for the shops."
While Wonka comforts the parents by telling them the boys might be rescued, they are never heard from again and have become casualties of the magical tour. These children's disappearances help to prove our hero Charlie Bucket's virtue and show why he deserves to inherit the chocolate factory, but the message is clear: If you don't behave yourself and listen to adults, you too might be "chop chop chopped" into "neat little squares" — and that's pretty dark indeed.
The 1964 book became considered a children's classic soon after its publication. Shortly after that, the story was adapted into the 1971 classic Gene Wilder movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and again in 2005 to the Johnny Depp Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (though the first film was definitely the best).
You can read the full excerpt here, as well as view newly uncovered illustrations from Sir Quentin Blake, who drew the original book's illustrations. And just be thankful that you didn't read it at a younger, more impressionable age.