Miranda Mary Piker

The Miranda Mary Piker poem, from an early draft of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • The Miranda Mary Piker poem, from an early draft of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • The Miranda Mary Piker poem, from an early draft of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

When Roald Dahl was writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he originally had the idea for 15 children to enter the factory. However, he found that there were too many children for the story to flow well, and with each new draft he reduced the numbers of children from 15 to 10, then to seven and six, before ending up with the five children in the published story.

But Roald did write draft scenes for the rude and naughty children who were eventually cut from the finished book, and we have these drafts in the Roald Dahl archives. Two of these children were called Marvin Prune and Miranda Mary Piker. 

In Roald’s words: “I remember one small girl I slung out of the book, who was called Miranda Mary Piker. She was the filthiest, rudest and most disobedient creature you could imagine.”

In one of the early drafts, Miranda Mary Piker goes swimming in the chocolate river and falls down the chocolate waterfall. To the horror of her parents, she ends up in the room where Willy Wonka’s famous Crunchy Munchy Peanut Brittle Bars are made.

The extract shown above is an early version of her poem, in which the Oompa-Loompas claim she has been turned into Peanut Brittle. The full transcript of the poem is:

"Oh, Miranda Mary Piker,
How could anybody like her,
Such a rude and disobedient little kid,
So we said why don't we fix her
In the Peanut-Brittle Mixer,
Then we're sure to like her better than we did.
Soon this girl who was so vicious
Will have gotten quite delicious
And her parents will have surely understood
That instead of saying, 'Miranda,
'Oh the beast we cannot stand her!'
They'll be saying, 'Oh, how tasty and how good!'"

Although this section never made it into the published book, it was later published as a short story, Spotty Powder in Puffin Post magazine in 1973 - and you can buy Spotty Powder here.

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