This story by Roald Dahl is about a young girl named Sophie who is whisked away from her home in an orphanage by the BFG – the Big Friendly Giant. He tells her about his job, to blow dreams into the rooms of children, and also about his terrifying neighbours – other giants who EAT children. Together, Sophie and the BFG manage to defeat the other giants, with a little help from Her Majesty the Queen of England.
Where did Roald Dahl keep his ideas?
The BFG came from an idea that Roald Dahl had a long time before he wrote the book. Throughout his life Roald kept many ‘ideas books’ – notebooks which were packed with potential story ideas. Here you can see a page from an ideas book which shows one of the very first times the BFG entered Roald’s mind.
When Roald used one of the ideas, he would tick it off and write down the name of the book he used it in.
A list of Gobblefunk words
The BFG is full of incredible words that Roald invented specially for the BFG. In the second image, you can see how he created long lists of these words, such as ‘gloriumptious’ and ‘whizz-fizzing’. This made-up language is called ‘Gobblefunk’.
The BFG in Danny the Champion of the World
Did you know that The BFG isn’t the only time that the legend of the Big Friendly Giant appears in a Roald Dahl story? In Danny the Champion of the World Danny’s father tells Danny a bedtime story, all about the BFG. The third image here is from the very first draft of Danny the Champion of the World, written in Roald’s spidery handwriting. Roald loved this idea so much that he had to write a whole new children’s book, just for his new character.
The man who captured and kept
in bottles - ideas from the brain
- pieces of knowledge
- jokes (BFG)
I saw them thrashing around furiously
in their jars.
But when do you get
your patients [?]
- People like you –
- oh dear.
I was let out again in the end, but
as you can see he took most of
my knowledge, thoughts etc. ... as you
can see I’m quite dotty.
(Big Friendly Giant)
The child who made the wish. “
I watched him putting a spoonful of cocoa into
each mug, Then Three sugar-lumps into mine and Two into
his. The Kettle was not boiling yet.
“So”, he said, “from the dreams and the
wishes of children, The Big Friendly Giant makes his
secret magic powders. And when the powders are ready, he
stores them in
small wooden barrels at the back of the
cave. Each barrel has
with a label on it giving the name
of the powder.”
“What sort of names?” I asked.
“Wait”, my father said. “That comes later. So
every night, as soon as it is dark, The BFG gets ready
to go visiting. He has a huge black suitcase
very large one,
and the inside of it
suitcase is divided up into lots of tiny
square compartments or holes. He fills each compartment with a
different powder and he takes great care to see that they
are all properly labelled. When he goes out at night, he
always takes two things with him, the suitcase with the
powders in it and a long hollow, blow-pipe.”
The kettle was boiling now and my father poured the
water into the mugs and stirred them well. He gave me
mine first, then fetched his own and settled down again on
the edge of the bunk.
“Have you ever seen him?” I asked. “The BFG?” //
(next p) (31)
he skimmed toward her.
lemons & fresh coffee.
The Fleshlumpeating Giant
a notmucker, a squeakpop.
bottlewart paggle dropey
Snipsy (Lilliam Stovell)
squiffsquiddle ristling fruggler
stoching whopsy-waddling prunking crodswitch
pongswizzler filking kickswitch
fizzwurtler ^ wiggler slidger dissible
... spitzwoggler squibbling
bizzfizz squackling (grob fatch)
wash-hinger swiddling grilky
codswallop slunging grouty
shedbelly reg rasper
rotrasper phizz-whizz [Houser?]
swishfiggler (chidler or tottle-child)
Gunzle Swipe Squiffler squinky
- Full title:
- Manuscript page from Roald Dahl’s Ideas Book; Manuscript page from the first draft of ‘The BFG’; Manuscript page from the first draft of ‘Danny the Champion of the World’
- c. 1948–87 (Ideas Book); 1981 (The BFG draft); 1974 (Danny the Champion of the World draft)
- Notebook / Manuscript / Draft
- Roald Dahl
- © The Roald Dahl Story Company Limited
- Usage terms
© The Roald Dahl Story Company Limited, image courtesy of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.
- Held by
- Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre
- RD/11/2/141; RD/2/19/1/1; RD/2/12/1/14
- Article by:
- Imogen Carter, consultant: M O Grenby
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