Sunday, 15 May 2011

V is for…Vermicious Knids

You’ve got to hand it to Roald Dahl. (And what is the ‘it’ that we hand over in that sentence? A drink, a medal, a dirty sock? Let’s go with medal.) Only Roald Dahl, that wonderful wordsmith, could come up with baddies called Vermicious Knids, and make them sound somewhat like a giant, horribly 'aware', poo:

‘It looked like an enormous egg balanced on its pointed end. It was as tall as a big boy and wider than the fattest man. The greenish-brown skin had a shiny wettish appearance and there were wrinkles in it…

…The eyes were everything. There were no other features, no nose or mouth or ears, but the entire egg-shaped body was itself moving very very slightly, pulsing and bulging gently here and there as though the skin were filled with some thick fluid.’

Nice. Way to go, Mr Dahl. I’ve just been put off my chocolate mini roll. Bleegh.

The Vermicious Knids (pronounced K’nids) are some of the horrors facing Charlie and his friends travelling in the Great Glass Elevator. This is the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and as a child I enjoyed it more – probably due to the horrible sounding Knids – although there is much strange silliness going on throughout the story. It also was a lot darker a tale. The idea of Minusland, where people drifted around in ghostly mist waiting to be born (made into a plus), was frankly terrifying.

We’re not quite told how Vermicious Knids kill their victims. Willy Wonka gives us a lot of hyperbole about what they can do (rasp people into a thousand tiny bits! Grate you like cheese! Stretch out its neck and bite off your head!) but Grandma Georgina correctly questions how it can bite anything, since all it has are eyes.

However I knew. I knew exactly what Vermicious Knids would do. They’d squoosh you to death! They’d sit, squash and suffocate you in seconds! (It appears his hyperbole is catching.) Although it is thoughtful of them to spell out the word ‘scram’ first.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Published: 1973
Author: Roald Dahl
Illustrator: Faith Jacques
Editor: Kaye Webb

Vermicious fact one: Although I loved Dr Seuss books, I found his world quite scary too, especially those manic oh-so-intent swished little creatures.

Vermicious fact two: The scariest book I owned was one about true life ghost stories. I have no idea where I got it from; I think I picked it up in a jumble sale when I was 13. Oh My. I gave it to a friend on the pretext that she’d like it, and then kept ‘forgetting’ to take it home with me.

Vermicious fact three: Not as scary, but still pretty damn close, were the Armada Ghost books. Yikes! These were spooky little short story anthologies designed to give children sleepless nights.

Vermicious fact four: I wasn’t that keen on ‘The Groke’ from the Moomin books.

Vermicious fact five: I always ended up being eaten by a Minotaur in ‘choose your own adventure’ books.


Old Kitty said...

Here's me thinking: There's a sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate factory?!!? Where have I been!??! LOL!!

Off I go to investigate this!! Thanks!! Take care
x said...

Thanks for the visit. I agree, ponies in trees and fields of trucks are the stuff horror movies are made of.
I'm following you. I especially like your Nancy Drew post. I thought about her for N but downgraded to Ned Flanders.

Diane said...

Thanks for stopping by! great to meet you . What a lovely and very different blog you have! Off for a better read. xxx

Helen Collard said...

I am in awe of The Groke. Chilling.

Did you ever read Rebecca's World by Terry Nation - wonderful warped Dorothy-esque adventures from the creator of Dr. Who.

MorningAJ said...

I always assumed they had worms too.... nasty things all round, I'd say.

Out on the prairie said...

Leave it to Dahl to give us a very bizzare tale into fantasy land.

Rosie said...

Hello, thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. Glad you like the Tamarisk tree. I now know about Vermicious Knids! I'm not sure I like the sound of them:)

snafu said...

Try and say that after few rounds.
My boys loved most of his books and this one was no exception.

Auto Title Loans said...

You know what stills scares me to this day? Tales from the Crypt and Goosebumps books. I also never knew there was a sequel to Charlie. Why don't you think it gained the popularity that Charlie did?

Anonymous said...

I can not imagine ever reading a scary book. My imagination is way to active. I would never sleep.That friend that kept "forgetting" probably was spooked like I would have been.

Rose said...

this is a terrible thing to confess but I've never read the great glass elevator, I've obviously missed out!

Happy Frog and I said...

I do love these posts of yours as you know. Not long to go to the end which is a shame, I for one shall miss them.

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh oh oh! Love Roald Dahl! And when those vernicious knids appeared in the elevator, I was soooo scared. Almost as much as that image of Tash in C S Lewis' The Last Battle. I still can't look at it.

Laura Marcella said...

Love Roald Dahl! His imagination was off the charts.

I had two books on real life ghost stories. I got them for free from buying a certain amount of books in one of those Scholastic book sales. I read them once and never again. I remember the stories and it still gives me the creeps just thinking about them 15 years later, lol!

Brianna said...

I think some Dr. Seuss character's are terribly frightening too :) Glad I'm not alone.