Roald Dahl wrote some of my favorite books that I read as a child. Matilda being my top favorite, but I really enjoyed everything I read by him. I’m so excited to be able to be apart of this 100th Celebratory Tour, and I hope you guys enjoy this excerpt from The Witches, and make sure to check out the tour schedule below to follow along and see the other books and their AMAZING covers!
From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG! This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches.Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There's nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma's stories—but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Witches Chapter 1: A Note about Witches
In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on
But this is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES.
The most important think you should know about REAL WITCHES is this.
Listen very carefully. Never forget what comes next.
REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary
women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ORDINARY JOBS.
That is why they are so hard to catch.
A REAL WITCH hates children with a red-hot sizzling hatred that is more
sizzling and red-hot than any hatred you could possibly imagine.
A REAL WITCH spends all her time plotting to get rid of the children in her
particular territory. Her passion is to do away with them, one by one. It is all she
thinks about the whole day long. Even if she is working as a cashier in a
supermarket or typing letters for a businessman or driving around in a fancy car
(and she could be doing any of these things), her mind will always be plotting and
scheming and churning and burning and whizzing and phizzing with murderous
“Which child,” she says to herself all day long, “exactly which child shall I
choose next for my squelching?”
A REAL WITCH gets the same pleasure from squelching a child as you get
from eating a plateful of strawberries and thick cream.
She reckons on doing away with one child a week. Anything less than that
and she becomes grumpy.
One child a week is fifty-two a year.
Squish them and squiggle them and make them disappear.
That is the motto of all witches.
Very carefully a victim is chosen. Then the witch stalks the wretched child
like a hunter stalking a little bird in a forest. She treads softly. She moves quietly.
She gets closer and closer. Then at last, when everything is ready…phwisst!…and she
swoops! Sparks fly. Flames leap. Oil boils. Rats howl. Skin shrivels. And the child
A witch, you must understand, does not knock children on the head or stick
knives in them or shoot at them with a pistol. People who do those things get caught
by the police.
A witch never gets caught. Don’t forget that she has magic in her fingers and
devilry dancing in her blood. She can make stones jump about like frogs and she can
make tongues of flame go flickering across the surface of the water.
These magic powers are very frightening.
Luckily, there are not a great number of REAL WITCHES in the world today.
But there are still quite enough to make you nervous. In England, there are probably
about one hundred of them altogether. Some countries have more, others have not
quite so many. No country in the world is completely free from WITCHES.
A witch is always a woman.
I do not wish to speak badly about women. Most women are lovely. But the
fact remains that all witches are women. There is no such thing as a male witch.
On the other hand, a ghoul is always a male. So indeed is a barghest. Both are
dangerous. But neither of them is half as dangerous as a REAL WITCH.
As far as children are concerned, a REAL WITCH is easily the most dangerous
of all the living creatures on earth. What makes her doubly dangerous is the fact that
she doesn’t look dangerous. Even when you know all the secrets (you will hear
about those in a minute), you can never be quite sure whether it is a witch you are
gazing at or just a kind lady. If a tiger were able to make himself look like a large dog
with a waggy tail, you would probably go up and pat him on the head. And that
would be the end of you. It is the same with witches. They all look like nice ladies.
Kindly examine the picture opposite. Which lady is the witch? That is a
difficult question, but it is one that every child must try to answer.
For all you know, a witch might be living next door to you right now.
Or she might be the woman with bright eyes who sat opposite you on the bus
She might be the lady with the dazzling smile who offered you a sweet from a
white paper bag in the street before lunch.
She might even—and this will make you jump—she might even be your
lovely school-teacher who is reading these words to you at this very moment. Look
carefully at that teacher. Perhaps she is smiling at the absurdity of such a suggestion.
Don’t let that put you off. It could be part of her cleverness.
I am not, of course, telling you for one second that your teacher is actually a
witch. All I am saying is that she might be one. It is most unlikely. But—and here
comes the big “but”—it is not impossible.
Oh, if only there were a way of telling for sure whether a woman was a witch
of not, then we could go round them all up and put them in a meat-grinder.
Unhappily, there is no such way. But there are a number of little signals you can look
out for, little quirky habits that all witches have in common, and if you know about
these, if you remember them always, then you might just possibly manage to escape
from being squelched before you are very much older.