The sun was shining brightly on the morning of the big day, but the ground was still white with snow and the air was very cold.
Outside the gates of Wonka's factory, enormous crowds of people had gathered to watch the five lucky ticket holders going in. The excitement was tremendous. It was just before ten o'clock. The crowds were pushing and shouting, and policemen with arms linked were trying to hold them back from the gates.
Right beside the gates, in a small group that was carefully shielded from the crowds by the police, stood the five famous children, together with the grown-ups who had come with them.
The tall bony figure of Grandpa Joe could be seen standing quietly among them, and beside him, holding tightly on to his hand, was little Charlie Bucket himself.
All the children, except Charlie, had both their mothers and fathers with them, and it was a good thing that they had, otherwise the whole party might have got out of hand. They were so eager to get going that their parents were having to hold them back by force to prevent them from climbing over the gates. 'Be patient!' cried the fathers. 'Be still! It's not time yet! It's not ten o'clock!'
Behind him, Charlie Bucket could hear the shouts of the people in the crowd as they pushed and fought to get a glimpse of the famous children.
'There's Violet Beauregarde!' he heard someone shouting. 'That's her all right! I can remember her face from the newspapers!'
'And you know what?' somebody else shouted back. 'She's still chewing that dreadful old piece of gum she's had for three months! You look at her jaws! They're still working on it!'
'Who's the big fat boy?'
'That's Augustus Gloop!'
'So it is!'
'Enormous, isn't he!'
'Who's the kid with a picture of The Lone Ranger stencilled on his windcheater?'
'That's Mike Teavee! He's the television fiend!'
'He must be crazy! Look at all those toy pistols he's got hanging all over him!'
'The one I want to see is Veruca Salt!' shouted another voice in the crowd. 'She's the girl whose father bought up half a million chocolate bars and then made the workers in his peanut factory unwrap every one of them until they found a Golden Ticket! He gives her anything she wants! Absolutely anything! She only has to start screaming for it and she gets it!'
'Dreadful, isn't it?'
'Shocking, I call it!'
'Which do you think is her?'
'That one! Over there on the left! The little girl in the silver mink coat!'
'Which one is Charlie Bucket?'
'Charlie Bucket? He must be that skinny little shrimp standing beside the old fellow who looks like a skeleton. Very close to us. Just there! See him?'
'Why hasn't he got a coat on in this cold weather?'
'Don't ask me. Maybe he can't afford to buy one.'
'Goodness me! He must be freezing!'
Charlie, standing only a few paces away from the speaker, gave Grandpa Joe's hand a squeeze, and the old man looked down at Charlie and smiled.
Somewhere in the distance, a church clock began striking ten.
Very slowly, with a loud creaking of rusty hinges, the great iron gates of the factory began to swing open.
The crowd became suddenly silent. The children stopped jumping about. All eyes were fixed upon the gates.
'There he is!' somebody shouted, 'That's him!'
And so it was!
Mr Willy Wonka
Mr Wonka was standing all alone just inside the open gates of the factory.
And what an extraordinary little man he was!
He had a black top hat on his head.
He wore a tail coat made of a beautiful plum-coloured velvet.
His trousers were bottle green.
His gloves were pearly grey.
And in one hand he carried a fine gold-topped walking cane.
Covering his chin, there was a small, neat, pointed black beard — a goatee. And his eyes — his eyes were most marvellously bright. They seemed to be sparkling and twinkling at you all the time. The whole face, in fact, was alight with fun and laughter.
And oh, how clever he looked! How quick and sharp and full of life! He kept making quick jerky little movements with his head, cocking it this way and that, and taking everything in with those bright twinkling eyes. He was like a squirrel in the quickness of his movements, like a quick clever old squirrel from the park.
Suddenly, he did a funny little skipping dance in the snow, and he spread his arms wide, and he smiled at the five children who were clustered near the gates, and he called out, 'Welcome, my little friends! Welcome to the factory!'
His voice was high and flutey. 'Will you come forward one at a time, please,' he called out, 'and bring your parents. Then show me your Golden Ticket and give me your name. Who's first?'
The big fat boy stepped up. 'I'm Augustus Gloop,' he said.
'Augustus!' cried Mr Wonka, seizing his hand and pumping it up and down with terrific force. 'My dear boy, how good to see you! Delighted! Charmed! Overjoyed to have you with us! And these are your parents? How nice! Come in! Come in! That's right! Step through the gates!'
Mr Wonka was clearly just as excited as everybody else.
'My name,' said the next child to go forward, 'is Veruca Salt.'
'My dear Veruca! How do you do? What a pleasure this is! You do have an interesting name, don't you? I always thought that a veruca was a sort of wart that you got on the sole of your foot! But I must be wrong, mustn't I? How pretty you look in that lovely mink coat! I'm so glad you could come! Dear me, this is going to be such an exciting day! I do hope you enjoy it! I'm sure you will! I know you will! Your father? How are you, Mr Salt? And Mrs Salt? Overjoyed to see you! Yes, the ticket is quite in order! Please go in!'
The next two children, Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teavee, came forward to have their tickets examined and then to have their arms practically pumped off their shoulders by the energetic Mr Wonka.
And last of all, a small nervous voice whispered, 'Charlie Bucket.'
'Charlie!' cried Mr Wonka. 'Well, well, well! So there you are! You're the one who found your ticket only yesterday, aren't you? Yes, yes. I read all about it in this morning's papers! Just in time, my dear boy! I'm so glad! So happy for you! And this? Your grandfather? Delighted to meet you, sir! Overjoyed! Enraptured! Enchanted! All right! Excellent! Is everybody in now? Five children? Yes! Good! Now will you please follow me! Our tour is about to begin! But do keep together! Please don't wander off by yourselves! I shouldn't like to lose any of you at this stage of the proceedings! Oh, dear me, no!'
Charlie glanced back over his shoulder and saw the great iron entrance gates slowly closing behind him. The crowds on the outside were still pushing and shouting. Charlie took a last look at them. Then, as the gates closed with a clang, all sight of the outside world disappeared.
'Here we are!' cried Mr Wonka, trotting along in front of the group. 'Through this big red door, please! That's right! It's nice and warm inside! I have to keep it warm inside the factory because of the workers! My workers are used to an extremely hot climate! They can't stand the cold! They'd perish if they went outdoors in this weather! They'd freeze to death!'
'But who are these workers?' asked Augustus Gloop.
'All in good time, my dear boy!' said Mr Wonka, smiling at Augustus. 'Be patient! You shall see everything as we go along! Are all of you inside? Good! Would you mind closing the door? Thank you!'
Charlie Bucket found himself standing in a long corridor that stretched away in front of him as far as he could see. The corridor was so wide that a car could easily have been driven along it. The walls were pale pink, the lighting was soft and pleasant.
'How lovely and warm!' whispered Charlie.
'I know. And what a marvellous smell!' answered Grandpa Joe, taking a long deep sniff. All the most wonderful smells in the world seemed to be mixed up in the air around them — the smell of roasting coffee and burnt sugar and melting chocolate and mint and violets and crushed hazelnuts and apple blossom and caramel and lemon peel . . .
And far away in the distance, from the heart of the great factory, came a muffled roar of energy as though some monstrous gigantic machine were spinning its wheels at breakneck speed.
'Now this, my dear children,' said Mr Wonka, raising his voice above the noise, 'this is the main corridor. Will you please hang your coats and hats on those pegs over there, and then follow me. That's the way! Good! Everyone ready? Come on, then! Here we go!' He trotted off rapidly down the corridor with the tails of his plum-coloured velvet coat flapping behind him, and the visitors all hurried after him.
It was quite a large party of people, when you came to think of it. There were nine grown-ups and five children, fourteen in all. So you can imagine that there was a good deal of pushing and shoving as they hustled and bustled down the passage, trying to keep up with the swift little figure in front of them. 'Come on!' cried Mr Wonka. 'Get a move on, please! We'll never get round today if you dawdle like this!'
Soon, he turned right off the main corridor into another slightly narrower passage.
Then he turned left.
Then left again.
The place was like a gigantic rabbit warren, with passages leading this way and that in every direction.
'Don't you let go my hand, Charlie,' whispered Grandpa Joe.
'Notice how all these passages are sloping downwards!' called out Mr Wonka. 'We are now going underground! All the most important rooms in my factory are deep down below the surface!'
'Why is that?' somebody asked.
'There wouldn't be nearly enough space for them up on top!' answered Mr Wonka. 'These rooms we are going to see are enormous! They're larger than football fields! No building in the world would be big enough to house them! But down here, underneath the ground, I've got all the space I want. There's no limit — so long as I hollow it out.'
Mr Wonka turned right.
He turned left.
He turned right again.
The passages were sloping steeper and steeper downhill now.
Then suddenly, Mr Wonka stopped. In front of him, there was a shiny metal door. The party crowded round. On the door, in large letters, it said:
THE CHOCOLATE ROOM
The Chocolate Room
'An important room, this!' cried Mr Wonka, taking a bunch of keys from his pocket and slipping one into the keyhole of the door. 'This is the nerve centre of the whole factory, the heart of the whole business! And so beautiful! I insist upon my rooms being beautiful! I can't abide ugliness in factories! In we go, then! But do be careful, my dear children! Don't lose your heads! Don't get over-excited! Keep very calm!'
Mr Wonka opened the door. Five children and nine grown-ups pushed their ways in — and oh, what an amazing sight it was that now met their eyes!
They were looking down upon a lovely valley. There were green meadows on either side of the valley, and along the bottom of it there flowed a great brown river.
What is more, there was a tremendous waterfall halfway along the river — a steep cliff over which the water curled and rolled in a solid sheet, and then went crashing down into a boiling churning whirlpool of froth and spray.
Below the waterfall (and this was the most astonishing sight of all), a whole mass of enormous glass pipes were dangling down into the river from somewhere high up in the ceiling! They really were enormous, those pipes. There must have been a dozen of them at least, and they were sucking up the brownish muddy water from the river and carrying it away to goodness knows where. And because they were made of glass, you could see the liquid flowing and bubbling along inside them, and above the noise of the waterfall, you could hear the never-ending suck-suck-sucking sound of the pipes as they did their work.
Graceful trees and bushes were growing along the riverbanks — weeping willows and alders and tall clumps of rhododendrons with their pink and red and mauve blossoms. In the meadows there were thousands of buttercups.
'There!' cried Mr Wonka, dancing up and down and pointing his gold-topped cane at the great brown river. 'It's all chocolate! Every drop of that river is hot melted chocolate of the finest quality. The very finest quality. There's enough chocolate in there to fill every bathtub in the entire country! And all the swimming pools as well! Isn't it terrific? And just look at my pipes! They suck up the chocolate and carry it away to all the other rooms in the factory where it is needed! Thousands of gallons an hour, my dear children! Thousands and thousands of gallons!'
The children and their parents were too flabbergasted to speak. They were staggered. They were dumbfounded. They were bewildered and dazzled. They were completely bowled over by the hugeness of the whole thing. They simply stood and stared.
'The waterfall is most important!' Mr Wonka went on. 'It mixes the chocolate! It churns it up! It pounds it and beats it! It makes it light and frothy! No other factory in the world mixes its chocolate by waterfall! But it's the only way to do it properly! The only way! And do you like my trees?' he cried, pointing with his stick. 'And my lovely bushes? Don't you think they look pretty? I told you I hated ugliness! And of course they are all eatable! All made of something different and delicious! And do you like my meadows? Do you like my grass and my buttercups? The grass you are standing on, my dear little ones, is made of a new kind of soft, minty sugar that I've just invented! I call it swudge! Try a blade! Please do! It's delectable!'
Automatically, everybody bent down and picked one blade of grass — everybody, that is, except Augustus Gloop, who took a big handful.
And Violet Beauregarde, before tasting her blade of grass, took the piece of world-record-breaking chewing-gum out of her mouth and stuck it carefully behind her ear.
'Isn't it wonderful!' whispered Charlie. 'Hasn't it got a wonderful taste, Grandpa?'
'I could eat the whole field!' said Grandpa Joe, grinning with delight. 'I could go around on all fours like a cow and eat every blade of grass in the field!'
'Try a buttercup!' cried Mr Wonka. 'They're even nicer!'
Suddenly, the air was filled with screams of excitement. The screams came from Veruca Salt. She was pointing frantically to the other side of the river. 'Look! Look over there!' she screamed. 'What is it? He's moving! He's walking! It's a little person! It's a little man! Down there below the waterfall!'
Everybody stopped picking buttercups and stared across the river.
'She's right, Grandpa!' cried Charlie. 'It is a little man! Can you see him?'
'I see him, Charlie!' said Grandpa Joe excitedly.
And now everybody started shouting at once.
'There's two of them!'
'My gosh, so there is!'
'There's more than two! There's one, two, three, four, five!'
'What are they doing?'
'Where do they come from?'
'Who are they?'
Children and parents alike rushed down to the edge of the river to get a closer look.
'Aren't they fantastic!'
'No higher than my knee!'
'Look at their funny long hair!'
The tiny men — they were no larger than medium-sized dolls — had stopped what they were doing, and now they were staring back across the river at the visitors. One of them pointed towards the children, and then he whispered something to the other four, and all five of them burst into peals of laughter.
'But they can't be real people,' Charlie said.
'Of course they're real people,' Mr Wonka answered. 'They're Oompa-Loompas.'
'Oompa-Loompas!' everyone said at once. 'Oompa-Loompas!'
'Imported direct from Loompaland,' said Mr Wonka proudly.
'There's no such place,' said Mrs Salt.
'Excuse me, dear lady, but . . .'
'Mr Wonka,' cried Mrs Salt. 'I'm a teacher of geography
'Then you'll know all about it,' said Mr Wonka. 'And oh, what a terrible country it is! Nothing but thick jungles infested by the most dangerous beasts in the world — hornswogglers and snozzwangers and those terrible wicked whangdoodles. A whangdoodle would eat ten Oompa-Loompas for breakfast and come galloping back for a second helping. When I went out there, I found the little Oompa-Loompas living in tree houses. They had to live in tree houses to escape from the whangdoodles and the hornswogglers and the snozzwangers. And they were living on green caterpillars, and the caterpillars tasted revolting, and the Oompa-Loompas spent every moment of their days climbing through the treetops looking for other things to mash up with the caterpillars to make them taste better — red beetles, for instance, and eucalyptus leaves, and the bark of the bong-bong tree, all of them beastly, but not quite so beastly as the caterpillars. Poor little Oompa-Loompas! The one food that they longed for more than any other was the cacao bean. But they couldn't get it. An Oompa-Loompa was lucky if he found three or four cacao beans a year. But oh, how they craved them. They used to dream about cacao beans all night and talk about them all day. You had only to mention the word "cacao" to an Oompa-Loompa and he would start dribbling at the mouth. The cacao bean,' Mr Wonka continued, 'which grows on the cacao tree, happens to be the thing from which all chocolate is made. You cannot make chocolate without the cacao bean. The cacao bean is chocolate. I myself use billions of cacao beans every week in this factory. And so, my dear children, as soon as I discovered that the Oompa-Loompas were crazy about this particular food, I climbed up to their tree-house village and poked my head in through the door of the tree house belonging to the leader of the tribe. The poor little fellow, looking thin and starved, was sitting there trying to eat a bowl full of mashed-up green caterpillars without being sick. "Look here," I said (speaking not in English, of course, but in Oompa-Loompish), "look here, if you and all your people will come back to my country and live in my factory, you can have all the cacao beans you want! I've got mountains of them in my storehouses! You can have cacao beans for every meal! You can gorge yourselves silly on them! I'll even pay your wages in cacao beans if you wish!"
'"You really mean it?" asked the Oompa-Loompa leader, leaping up from his chair.
'"Of course I mean it," I said. "And you can have chocolate as well. Chocolate tastes even better than cacao beans because it's got milk and sugar added."
'The little man gave a great whoop of joy and threw his bowl of mashed caterpillars right out of the tree-house window. "It's a deal!" he cried. "Come on! Let's go!"
'So I shipped them all over here, every man, woman, and child in the Oompa-Loompa tribe. It was easy. I smuggled them over in large packing cases with holes in them, and they all got here safely. They are wonderful workers. They all speak English now. They love dancing and music. They are always making up songs. I expect you will hear a good deal of singing today from time to time. I must warn you, though, that they are rather mischievous. They like jokes. They still wear the same kind of clothes they wore in the jungle. They insist upon that. The men, as you can see for yourselves across the river, wear only deerskins. The women wear leaves, and the children wear nothing at all. The women use fresh leaves every day . . .'
'Daddy!' shouted Veruca Salt (the girl who got everything she wanted). 'Daddy! I want an Oompa-Loompa! I want you to get me an Oompa-Loompa! I want an Oompa-Loompa right away! I want to take it home with me! Go on, Daddy! Get me an Oompa-Loompa!'
'Now, now, my pet!' her father said to her, 'we mustn't interrupt Mr Wonka.'
"But I want an Oompa-Loompa!' screamed Veruca.
'All right, Veruca, all right. But I can't get it for you this second. Please be patient. I'll see you have one before the day is out.'
'Augustus!' shouted Mrs Gloop. 'Augustus, sweetheart, I don't think you had better do that.' Augustus Gloop, as you might have guessed, had quietly sneaked down to the edge of the river, and he was now kneeling on the riverbank, scooping hot melted chocolate into his mouth as fast as he could.