Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life

Published in 1989

-Synopsis-

The sweet scents of rural life infuse this collection of Roald Dahl's country stories, but there is always something unexpected lurking in the undergrowth...

Background

-Background-

The sweet scents of rural life infuse this collection of Roald Dahl's country stories, but there is always something unexpected lurking in the undergrowth...

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life brings together seven of Roald Dahl's short stories set in and around the Buckinghamshire countryside where Roald lived. The collection was first published in 1989, but all of the stories were originally written in the late 1940s. They are based on Roald's experiences with his friend Claud, a man who lived in the nearby town of Amersham. Claud was an experienced poacher and shared Roald's passion for "gambling in small amounts on horses and greyhounds."

From troublesome cows to rat-infested hayricks to maggot farming, Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life brings the tales of everyday country folk and their strange passions wonderfully to life. And many of the characters that feature in this collection went on to inspire and appear in other stories: there's Parson's Pleasure, which features an antiques dealer and bogus clergyman called Boggis, later the name of one of the farmers in Fantastic Mr Fox. And Danny's dad, the filling-shop owner with some ingenious methods for catching pheasants from Danny the Champion of the World, makes an early appearance inThe Champion of the World.

The seven stories in the collection are:

  • Preface
  • Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life
  • Parson's Pleasure
  • The Ratcatcher
  • Rummins
  • Mr Hoddy
  • Mr Feasey
  • The Champion of the World

Some of these stories inspired Danny the Champion of the World

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