Blyton’s Bonfires, Guys and Fireworks


It’s bonfire night, or Guy Fawkes’ night this wek, so I thought I would put something together covering what Blyton wrote about the subject.

dscn6584


SECRET SEVEN FIREWORKS

This seems like an obvious first choice, given the title! While the main mystery is about a burglary and catching the thief, the backdrop is of preparing for bonfire night. The Seven gather wood for a bonfire and build a guy to burn.

 

Come out to the field and listen.ssfireworks

BANG! CRASH! WHIZZZZZZZZZ!

Whooooosh-ee-whoo-oosh-eewhooosh! That was the first Moon Rocket!

Sizzle-sizzle-sizzle – the bonfire is burning high – what a sight the flames are! And there’s the old guy, plump and wobbly, dressed in coat, trousers, boots and cap, sitting high on top. Bang! A rocket flew by his ear, and made him jerk his head.

“He’s laughing The old guy’s laughing!” shouted Janet, dancing around the bonfire. “He says he’s as warm as toast at last!”

BANG! Good-bye, Secret Seven, see you again soon! WHOOOOOOSH! Look out, Peter, that rocket went very near your nose! CRASH! What in the wide world was that?

Only one figure is missing from the Grand Firework Party. Guess who it is? Yes, it’s dear old Scamper. He’s terrified of bangs and crashes, so he is lying comfortable in his basket by the fire, pretending he can’t go because his leg is bandaged!


FIREWORK NIGHT – A POEM BY ENID BLYTON

Exactly what it says on the tin. A poem about firework night, and the poor pets like Scamper who don’t like all the noise. You can read it here.


MR TWIDDLE’S BONFIRES (FROM HELLO, MR TWIDDLE!)

With Guy Fawkes day coming up Mr Twiddle is getting quite excited. Mrs Twiddle hates fireworks, though, so he’s not allowed to buy any himself (that and his accident-prone nature means it would be a disaster!) His genius idea this year is to gift the next-door children with a box of fireworks so he can watch them. Only, when he gets home with them Mrs Twiddle wants his help to clear up the garden. They light a lovely bonfire to burn the rubbish… and guess what ends up accidentally in the fire? Yes, the fireworks! (and it was Mrs Twiddle who put them there!)

dscn6577The flames caught hold of them.

They burnt a rocket. BANG! Whoooooosh! The rocket flew out of the bonfire like an aeroplane and took Mrs. Twiddle’s hat off. She gasped and screamed.

“Twiddle!” What was that? Oh, what was that?”

A shower of stars showed up at the end of the garden. It was the end of the rocket. Then BANG! Another one went off and shot out of the fire between Twiddle’s legs, knocking away his fork as it went.

“Oooooh!” said Twiddle in the greatest surprise. He bent to pick up his fork – and another rocket soared over his back, showering him with coloured stars!

The Catherine-wheels spluttered and fizzed. The Roman Candles exploded with a roar. The squibs and other little fireworks went off bang and jumped out of the flames as if they were alive!


THE BONFIRE AT NIGHT – A POEM BY ENID BLYTON

Another bonfire-themed poem which you can read here.


THE BONFIRE FOLK (FROM THE LUCKY STORY BOOK)

This one’s a bit different as it’s not about bonfire night itself. Rather, Peter and Jean do the cobbler a favour by delivering some shoes and get told a wonderful story of bonfire folk as a reward. Their father has a bonfire going, but it will die out before dark. So Peter and Jean collect fir-cones to add to the blaze. That night they sneak down and see some cats, a brownie, a hedgehog and a rabbit who come to warm their toes by the fire.

dscn6578


GUY! GUY! A PENNY FOR THE GUY! – A COMICAL PLAY

This can be found in Enid Blyton’s Book of the Year – a huge volume containing stories, songs, plays and puzzles for every month.

Four children have made a guy and set themselves up on a busy street to earn money for fireworks.

Alan. Look – here’s somebody coming!

(Enter a PASSER-BY.)

CHILDREN (chanting).
Please to remember
The Fifth of November.
Gunpowder, treason and plot!

PASSER-BY. Here you are – here’s a ha’penny for you” (Tosses coin into hat. Walks off.)

PETER (in disgust). Only a ha’penny! Mean old thing! How many fireworks does he think a ha’penny will buy?

BETTY. Look out! Here’s somebody else!

(Enter another PASSER-BY, carrying a basket and hurrying.)

JOHN. Please spare a penny for the guy!

PASSER-BY. No, I’m in a hurry! (Goes off.)

ALAN. Well, of all the stingy creatures! She’s been spending heaps of money at the shops – her shopping-bag was full – ans she can’t give us a penny for the guy!  Yah!

And so the children carry on, being rude and ungrateful. Of course they get their comeuppance – their guy ups and walks off, taking their money with him!


THE RUNAWAY GUY – A POEM BY ENID BLYTON

Another Guy Fawkes who comes to life and runs off – but this time in fear!

Once there was a timid guy
Who heard that he was meant to die
Upon a bonfire blazing high.

Said he, ‘Oh, what a dreadful fate!
I’m quite resolved I will not wait
To meet it. Where’s the garden gate?’

He stepped down from his wooden seat,
And on his two unsteady feet
He ran into the village street.

And where he went I couldn’t say,
But maybe one November day
You’ll meet him shuffling on his way!

You might!

From the Enid Blyton Poetry Book, 1934.


THE ASTONISHING GUY (FROM THE SECOND HOLIDAY BOOK)

Another group of children (six this time) make a guy, though they already have two shillings for fireworks.

dscn6579They began to make a guy. He really was a funny one! They stuffed his body with straw, and made him a round head on which they put a funny mask. Daddy gave Ellen an old hat, and Mummy gave George a pair of old trousers for the guy.

Harry’s uncle gave the children a worn-out coat and a torn shirt and the children found two old boots in a ditch, which they pushed onto the guy’s legs.

When he was finished he looked very real. He sat in the wood-shed, grinning at them, and, as Ellen said, he looked almost as if he was going to get up and join them in their play.

Unfortunately Harry loses all but a penny through a hole in his pocket. Then tools start to go missing from the guy’s shed and the neighbours too. The boys, hiding behind the guy, lie in wait for the robber (who’s silly enough to return to the shed for more tools) and scare him half-to death before he’s caught by their fathers.

And of course, they get enough of a reward to let them buy lots of fireworks!


A VERY GRAND GUY (FROM THE SECOND HOLIDAY BOOK)

It seems making a guy is an idea Blyton revisited several times. Here we are again with Dan and Daisy who make a guy.

The twins worked very hard indeed at the guy. They stuffed a sack full of straw for a body. They stuffed long pieces of sacking for legs and arms, and they joined these to the boy.

Then they made a head and bought a mask for it. Daisy found an old black wool mat in the loft and cut off some of it to make hair for the guy.

“Noe we must dress him,” said Dan. “We will make him the very finest guy anybody has ever seen. It will be quite a pity to burn him, but never mind, guys are always burnt.”

Obviously he has never read about the runaway guy! Anyway, their grand guy gets an old leather coat from the garage, one of Daisy’s scarves, an old pair of flannel trousers and an old pair of boots from the hall cupboard. And finally, to top it off they find a funny old top hat which Daddy never wears.

All’s well until Daddy sees the guy!

So that’s where my leather coat went to! And mt old flannel trousers I use for gardening. And that’s where my boots disappeared to – and you don’t mean to say that’s my BEST TOP HAT!”

dscn6580

Oops!


FIREWORKS IN FAIRYLAND (FROM THE BOOK OF FAIRIES)

This is quite a crazy little story. After a row about knife-sharpening of all things, the fairlyland workmen vow to get even with the fairies and plant fireworks amongst dishes for their big feast.

Everything went well until an elf asked for some ice-cream pudding. For directly the Head Steward began to put a spoon into it, there came a most tremendous noise!

Crack! Splutter-crack! Bang!!!

It was the cracker inside the pudding, gone off directly it was touched!

dscn6581


There are even more stories about guys, bonfires and fireworks I just don’t happen to have any of them!

There’s:

  •  Brer Rabbit and the Guy from Enid Blyton’s Sixth Brer Rabbit Book,
  •  The Guy in the Wheelbarrow from The Golden Book of the Year 
  • Round the Bonfire  from Sky-High (a Birn Brothers Book)
  • The Big Bonfire  from Read to Us (another Birn Brothers Book)
  • Benny and the Bonfire from Just Time for a Story
  • Round My Bonfire from The Big Bedtime Book
  • November Bonfire from Enid Blyton’s Fifth Bedside Book
  • The Bonfire from Enid Blyton’s “Happy Year” Song Book
  • The Big Bonfire from Enid Blyton’s Annual
  • Peter’s Fireworks from Enid Blyton’s Fifth Bedside Book

And that’s not even starting on the magazine entries! I think it’s safe to say that Blyton liked a good bonfire night.

Oh and as a bonus, here is a Secret Seven jigsaw – Secret Seven and the Guy.

600wide3196499

I hope everyone enjoys their bonfire night this year (I won’t because unfortunately I finish work at 7pm and that’s when they start the display here.) But there’s always next year.

So have fun and stay safe!

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Books, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Blyton’s Bonfires, Guys and Fireworks

  1. jillslawit says:

    Not much in the way of health and safety in Blyton’s day, obviously. I enjoyed reading these snippets.

    Like

    • fiona says:

      I thought the same! Which is why I added my comment about ‘keeping safe’ at the end. Blyton really was quite cavalier about the children almost being hit in the face with fireworks!

      Like

  2. Francis says:

    What a varied selection. Thanks a lot, Fiona. I noticed that the Famous Five seemed above getting involved with fireworks – I am sure George would never allow it!
    Thanks
    Francis

    Like

    • Michael Edwards says:

           I’ve often wondered about that – and about the fact that none of the other series children besides the Secret Seven ever had anything to do with fireworks.
           But I think there may be a simpler answer to that than supposing the other characters to be “above” fireworks. I don’t know what dates school holidays had at that time, but I am guessing that Bonfire Night did not occur during a holiday period, given its time in the year; and other than the Secret Seven, stories featuring the other groups of characters deal only with holiday periods. The Secret Seven alone sometimes have stories set during term-time – and I think that may be why that series alone features fireworks (twice, in fact). Perhaps the other characters did fireworks too – but just not during a time that any of the stories cover.

      Like

      • fiona says:

        I think you might have the answer there, Michael. The Five, the Find-Outers (except Bets), the Mannering-Trents and so on would all be at boarding school on November 5th. The schools may have had a bonfire or some sort of event but we wouldn’t have read about it. There was no such thing at Malory Towers or St Clare’s, though. Whyteleaf had the odd bonfire but only to burn the detritus from John Terry and Elizabeth’s work in the gardens.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s