Danny’s life seems perfect: his home is a gypsy caravan, he’s the youngest car mechanic around, and his best friend is his dad, who never runs out of wonderful stories to tell. And when Danny discovers his father’s secret, he’s off on the adventure of a lifetime. Here’s Roald Dahl’s famous... read more
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... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
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. 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 in which to catch a pheasant. 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.
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, trapped down a hole with a broken ankle, and eventually manages to get him back to the car and they head home. Danny's father has to take strong sleeping pills to deal with the pain of his broken ankle.
While Danny's father is recovering from his injury, they hear that Mr. Hazell's pheasant-shooting party is approaching. 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, and when this is done they hide the sleeping pheasants in a local woman's house by taking a taxi. The woman then brings all the sleeping pheasants in a baby cradle. 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, William and Danny herd the groggy birds onto Hazell's Rolls Royce, ruining the paintwork (and interior). Once the pheasants have woken completely, they fly away from the scene - in the opposite direction from Hazell's wood.
Danny is hailed as a champion by his father 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 raisins inside the caravan. They each receive two pheasants, except the Doc, who didn't want any.
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. In the Wood
15. The Keeper
16. The Champion of the World
17. The Taxi
19. Rockabye Baby
20. Good Bye Mr. Hazell
21. Doc Spencer's Surprise
22. My Father