Many people don’t know that some of their favorite children’s stories were conceived in the wondrous imagination of Roald Dahl. Dahl was an extremely prolific and versatile writer, having written 19 novels, including “The Gremlins”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and “Fantastic Mr. Fox”.
Roald Dahl, one of the most prolific authors of children’s literature and the inventor of Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Talented Mr Fox, The BFG and many more, has shaped and invigorated children’s imaginations for decades. In addition, during his lifetime of writing, this wonderful English storyteller invented a whole new language called “Gobblefunk.”
Dahl created more than 500 new words and character names that were playfully nonsensical yet recognizable, from the well-known “Oompa-Loompas” and “whizzpopping” to the less known “crodoscollop” and “splatch-winkle.”
The words are found across his literary works and explain meaning when Dahl’s dreamworld transcends normal adjectives. This brilliant invention begs the question of how one can possibly create and integrate such originality.
He also wrote short stories, screenplays, and poems, and many love him for his particularly macabre motifs and unexpected plot twists.
Dahl’s versatility didn’t end with literature: during World War II, he was a fighter pilot in the British Royal Air Force, and he was successful enough to become a wing commander. In 1960, Dahl’s infant son was injured by a reckless taxi driver, and as a result suffered from hydrocephalus. Dahl collaborated with the hydraulic engineer Stanley Wade and the neurosurgeon Kenneth Till to create the “Wade-Dahl-Till” valve, a device which saved as many as 3000 children suffering from the dangerous condition.
Dahl died in 1990 at the age of 70, and a man as exceptional as he was deserved an equally exceptional funeral. Dahl’s granddaughter arranged a special Viking funeral for him, to honor his Norwegian roots and his life, which was full of conquests.
To stay true to the Viking burial ritual, Dahl’s coffin and grave were filled with some of his favorite possessions. These included his prized snooker cues, expensive burgundy, assorted chocolates, his favorite HB pencils and a circular power saw. It is unclear whether he was really fond of the circular saw, or if it was included to help him build ships for the Norse gods in the afterlife.
During the funeral, the famous poem, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” was read aloud. The poem was written by Dylan Thomas, a writer who was Dahl’s friend and supporter, and the reading of the poem served as the closing act of their long friendship.
After Dahl’s death, his wife continued to run many charity foundations he started, and she continued to raise money for the benefit of terminally ill children and young people across the world.
Nowadays, Dahl’s grave is a place where both children and adults leave toys and small tokens to honor the legacy of this prolific writer and exceptional man.