The Ant-Eater by Roald Dahl

The Ant-Eater
1983

Some wealthy folks from U.S.A.,
Who lived near San Francisco Bay,
Possessed an only child called Roy,
A plump and unattractive boy –
Half-baked, half-witted and half-boiled,
But worst of all, most dreadfully spoiled.
Whatever Roy desired each day,
His father bought him right away –
Toy motorcars, electric trains,
The latest model aeroplanes,
A colour television-set,
A saxophone, a clarinet,
Expensive teddy-bears that talked,
And animals that walked and squawked.
That house contained sufficient toys
To thrill a half a million boys.
(As well as this, young Roy would choose,
Two pairs a week of brand-new shoes.)
And now he stood there shouting, “What on earth is there I haven’t got?
“How hard to think of something new!
The choices are extremely few!”
Then added, as he scratched his ear,
“Hold it! I’ve got a good idea!
I think the next thing I must get
Should be a most peculiar pet –
The kind that no one else has got –
A giant ANTEATER! Why not?”
As soon as father heard the news,
He quickly wrote to all the zoos.
“Dear Sirs,” he said, “My dear keepers,
Do any of you have anteaters?”
They answered by return of mail.
“Our anteaters are not for sale.”
Undaunted, Roy’s fond parent hurled
More messages across the world.
He said, “I’ll pay you through the nose
If you can get me one of those.”
At last he found an Indian gent
(He lived near Delhi, in a tent),
Who said that he would sacrifice
His pet for an enormous price
(The price demanded, if you please,
Was fifty thousand gold rupees).
The ant-eater arrived half-dead.
It looked at Roy and softly said,
“I’m famished. Do you think you could
Please give me just a little food?
A crust of bread, a bit of meat?
I haven’t had anything to eat
In all the time I was at sea,
For nobody looked after me,”
Roy shouted, “No! No bread or meat!
Go find some ants! They’re what you eat!”
The starving creature crawled away.
It searched the garden night and day,
It hunted every inch of ground,
But not one single ant it found,
“Please give me food!” the creature cried.
“Go find an ant!” the boy replied.
By chance, upon that very day,
Roy’s father’s sister came to stay –
A foul old hag of eighty-three
Whose name, it seems, was Dorothy.
She said to Roy, “Come let us sit
Out in the sun and talk a bit,”
Roy said, “I don’t believe you’ve met
My new and most unusual pet?”
He pointed down among the stones
Where something lay, all skin and bones.
“Anteater!” He yelled. “Don’t lie there yawning!
This is my aunt! Come say good-morning!”
(Some people in the U.S.A.
Have trouble with the words they say.
However hard they try, they can’t
Pronounce simple words like AUNT.
Instead of AUNT, they call it ANT,
Instead of CAN’T, they call it KANT.)
Roy yelled, “Come here, you so and so!
My aunt would like to say hello!”
Slowly, the creature raised its head.
“Do you mean that that’s an ant?” it said.
“Of course!” cried Roy. “Aunt Dorothy!
This aunt is over eighty-three.”
The creature smiled. Its tummy rumbled.
It licked its starving lips and mumbled,
“A giant ant! By gosh, a winner!
At last I’ll get a decent dinner!
No matter if it’s eighty-three.
If that’s an ant, then it’s for me!”
Then, taking very careful aim,
It pounced upon the startled dame.
It grabbed her firmly by the hair
And ate her up right then and there,
Murmuring as it chewed the feet,
“The largest ant I’ll ever eat.”
Meanwhile, our hero Roy had sped
In terror to the potting-shed.
And tried to make himself obscure
Behind a pile of horse-manure.
But ant-eater came sneaking in
(Already it was much less thin)
And said to Roy, “You little squirt,
I think I’ll have you for dessert.”

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl
Born: 13 September 1916, Llandaff, Wales
Nationality: British
Died: 23 November 1990, Oxford, England

Dahl was a novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, poet, and wartime fighter pilot. He was born in wales to Norwegian parents and served in the Royal Airforce during WW2 as a fighter pilot and intelligence officer. He rose to prominence as a writer in the 1940s with works for children and adults and became one of the world’s best-selling authors with over 250 million copies of his work being sold.

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