On the 100th Birthday of Roald Dahl please remember this letter that he wrote: Vaccinate your kids and teach them to read.
Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old.
As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed
and not feeling particularly alarmed about it.
Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery,
I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners,
and when it came to her turn to make one herself,
I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.
Are you feeling all right? I asked her.
I feel all sleepy,she said.
In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.
The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis
and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her.
…..There is today something that parents can do
to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs.
They can insist that their child is immunised against measles.
I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days
a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered.
Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family
and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.
Little Red Riding Hood And The Wolf; by Roald Dahl
As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma’s door.
When Grandma opened it, she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
And Wolfie said, ‘May I come in?’
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
‘He’s going to eat me up!’ she cried.
And she was absolutely right.
He ate her up in one big bite.
But Grandmamma was small and tough,
And Wolfie wailed, ‘That’s not enough!
I haven’t yet begun to feel
That I have had a decent meal!’
He ran around the kitchen yelping,
‘I’ve got to have a second helping!’
Then added with a frightful leer,
‘I’m therefore going to wait right here
Till Little Miss Red Riding Hood
Comes home from walking in the wood.’
He quickly put on Grandma’s clothes,
(Of course he hadn’t eaten those).
He dressed himself in coat and hat.
He put on shoes, and after that,
He even brushed and curled his hair,
Then sat himself in Grandma’s chair.
In came the little girl in red.
She stopped. She stared. And then she said,
‘What great big ears you have, Grandma.’
‘All the better to hear you with,’
the Wolf replied.
‘What great big eyes you have, Grandma.’
said Little Red Riding Hood.
‘All the better to see you with,’
the Wolf replied.
He sat there watching her and smiled.
He thought, I’m going to eat this child.
Compared with her old Grandmamma,
She’s going to taste like caviar.
Then Little Red Riding Hood said, ‘
But Grandma, what a lovely great big
furry coat you have on.’
‘That’s wrong!’ cried Wolf.
‘Have you forgot
To tell me what BIG TEETH I’ve got?
Ah well, no matter what you say,
I’m going to eat you anyway.’
The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature’s head,
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.
A few weeks later, in the wood,
I came across Miss Riding Hood.
But what a change! No cloak of red,
No silly hood upon her head.
She said, ‘Hello, and do please note
My lovely furry wolfskin coat.’