Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Frobscottle and Whizzpoppers

[Andy and I have been reading The BFG, a book neither of us have read by one of our favorite writers.   The subject matter is quite juvenile, but it's presented in such a charming way that I can't help but love it.  I love the creative use of language, and the deep-thinking side of me likes the interest in cultural sensitivity. When I read it aloud, I had to stop in several places because I was laughing so hard. Maybe I'm really just as mature as a fourth grader.  Still, I think it's worth sharing.] 

"Here is frobscottle!" he cried, holding the bottle up proud and high, as though it contained some rare wine. "Delumptious fizzy frobscottle!" he shouted.  He gave it a shake and the green stuff began to fizz like mad.

"But look!  It's fizzing the wrong way!" Sophie cried.  And indeed it was.  The bubbles, instead of travelling upwards and bursting on the surface, were shooting downwards and bursting at the bottom.  A pale green frothy fizz was forming at the bottom of the bottle.

"What on earth is you meaning the wrong way?" asked the BFG.

"In our fizzy drinks," Sophie said, "the bubbles always go up and burst at the top."

"Upwards is the wrong way!" cried the BFG.  "You mustn't ever be having the bubbles going upwards! That's the most flushbunking rubbish I ever is hearing!"

"Why do you say that?" Sophie asked.

"You is asking me why?" cried the BFG, waving the enormous bottle around as though he were conducting an orchestra.  "You is actually meaning to tell me you cannot see why it is a scrotty mistake to have the bubbles flying up instead of down?"

"You said it was flushbunking.  Now you say it's scrotty.  Which is it?" Sophie asked politely.

"Both!" cried the BFG.  "It is a flushbunking and a scrotty mistake to let the bubbles go upwards!  If you can't see why, you must be as quacky as a duckhound! By ringo, your head must be so full of frogsquinkers and buzzwangles, I is frittered if I know how you can think at all!"

"Why shouldn't the bubbles go upward?" Sophie asked.

"I will explain," said the BFG. "But tell me first what name is you calling your frobscottle by?"

"One is Coke," Sophie said. "Another is Pepsi. There are lots of them."

"And the bubbles is all going up?"

"They all go up," Sophie said.

"Catasterous!" cried the BFG.  "Upgoing bubbles is a catasterous disastrophe!"

"Will you please tell me why?" Sophie said.

"If you will listen carefully I will try to explain," said the BFG.  "But your brain is so full of bugwhiffles, I doubt you will ever understand."

"I'll do my best," Sophie said patiently.

"Very well, then.  When you is drinking this cokey drink of yours," said the BFG, "it is going straight down into your tummy.  Is that right? Or is it left?"

"It's right," Sophie said.

"And the bubbles is going also into your tummy.  Right or left?"

"Right again," Sophie said.

"And the bubbles is fizzing upwards?"

"Of course," Sophie said.

"Which means," said the BFG, "that they will all come swishwiffling up your throat and out of your mouth and make a foulsome belchy burp!"

"That is often true," Sophie said.  "But what's wrong with a little burp now and again?  It's sort of fun."

"Burping is filthsome," the BFG said.  "Us giants is never doing it."

"But with your drink," Sophie said,"what was it you called it?"

"Frobscottle," said the BFG.

"With frobscottle," Sophie said, "the bubbles in your tummy will be going downwards and that could have a far nastier result."

"Why nasty?" asked the BFG, frowning.

"Because," Sophie said, blushing a little, "if they go down instead of up, they'll be coming out somewhere else with an even louder and ruder noise."

"A whizzpopper!" cried the BFG, beaming at her.  "Us giants is making whizzpoppers all the time!  Whizzpopping is a sign of happiness.  It is music to our ears!  You surely is not telling me that a little whizzpopping is forbidden among human beans?"

"It is considered extremely rude," Sophie said.

"But you is whizzpopping, is you not, now and again?" asked the BFG.

"Everyone is whizzpopping, if that's what you call it," Sophie said.  "Kings and Queens are whizzpopping.  Presidents are whizzpopping.  Glamorous film stars are whizzpopping.  Little babies are whizzpopping.  But where I come from, it is not polite to talk about it."

"Redunculous!" said the BFG.  If everyone is making whizzpoppers, then why not talk about it? We is now having a swiggle of this delicious frobscottle and you will see the happy result." The BFG shook the bottle vigorously.  The pale green stuff fizzed and bubbled.  He removed the cork and took a tremendous gurgling swig.

"It's glummy!" he cried.  "I love it!"

For a few moments, the Big Friendly Giant stood quite still, and a look of absolute ecstasy began to spread over his long wrinkly face. Then suddenly the heavens opened and he let fly with a series of the loudest and rudest noises Sophie had ever heard in her life. They reverberated around the walls of the cave like thunder and the glass jars rattled on their shelves. But most astonishing of all, the force of the explosions actually lifted the enormous giant clear off his feet, like a rocket.

"Whoopee!" he cried, when he came down to earth again.  "Now that is whizzpopping for you!"

-Roald Dahl, The BFG


  1. I remember loving that book in Elementary School, but I apparently have no recollection of it as that passage triggered nothing in my memory. What an interesting guy he is (have you read his autobiography of his early years? The part about his tonsils made me sick to my stomach).

  2. I can't believe you'd never read the BFG! How tragic your lives must have been before now!