CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Chapter 3. Mr Wonka and the Indian Prince

By Roald Dahl
Chapter 3

‘Prince Pondicherry wrote a letter to Mr Willy Wonka,’ said Grandpa Joe, ‘and asked him to come all the way out to India and build him a colossal palace entirely out of chocolate.’ ‘Did Mr Wonka do it, Grandpa?’ ‘He did, indeed. And what a palace it was! It had one hundred rooms, and everything was made of either dark or light chocolate! The bricks were chocolate, and the cement holding them together was chocolate, and the windows were chocolate, and all the walls and ceilings were made of chocolate, so were the carpets and the pictures and the furniture and the beds; and when you turned on the taps in the bathroom, hot chocolate came pouring out. ‘When it was all finished, Mr Wonka said to Prince Pondicherry, “I warn you, though, it won’t last very long, so you’d better start eating it right away.” ‘”Nonsense!” shouted the Prince. “I’m not going to eat my palace! I’m not even going to nibble the staircase or lick the walls! I’m going to live in it!” ‘But Mr Wonka was right, of course, because soon after this, there came a very hot day with a boiling sun, and the whole palace began to melt, and then it sank slowly to the ground, and the crazy prince, who was dozing in the living room at the time, woke up to find himself swimming around in a huge brown sticky lake of chocolate.’ Little Charlie sat very still on the edge of the bed, staring at his grandfather. Charlie’s face was bright, and his eyes were stretched so wide you could see the whites all around. ‘Is all this really true?’ he asked. ‘Or are you pulling my leg?’ ‘It’s true!’ cried all four of the old people at once. ‘Of course it’s true! Ask anyone you like!’ ‘And I’ll tell you something else that’s true,’ said Grandpa Joe, and now he leaned closer to Charlie, and lowered his voice to a soft, secret whisper. ‘Nobody . . . ever . . . comes . . . out!’ ‘Out of where?’ asked Charlie. ‘And . . . nobody . . . ever . . . goes . . . in!’ ‘In where?’ cried Charlie. ‘Wonka’s factory, of course!’ ‘Grandpa, what do you mean?’ ‘I mean workers, Charlie.’ ‘Workers?’ ‘All factories,’ said Grandpa Joe, ‘have workers streaming in and out of the gates in the mornings and evenings — except Wonka’s! Have you ever seen a single person going into that place — or coming out?’ Little Charlie looked slowly around at each of the four old faces, one after the other, and they all looked back at him. They were friendly smiling faces, but they were also quite serious. There was no sign of joking or leg-pulling on any of them. ‘Well? Have you?’ asked Grandpa Joe. ‘I . . . I really don’t know, Grandpa,’ Charlie stammered. ‘Whenever I walk past the factory, the gates seem to be closed.’ ‘Exactly!’ said Grandpa Joe. ‘But there must be people working there . . .’ ‘Not people, Charlie. Not ordinary people, anyway.’ ‘Then who?’ cried Charlie. ‘Ah-ha . . . That’s it, you see . . . That’s another of Mr Willy Wonka’s clevernesses.’ ‘Charlie, dear,’ Mrs Bucket called out from where she was standing by the door, ‘it’s time for bed. That’s enough for tonight.’ ‘But, Mother, I must hear . . .’ ‘Tomorrow, my darling . . .’ ‘That’s right,’ said Grandpa Joe, ‘I’ll tell you the rest of it tomorrow evening.’