Excerpt from Royal Jelly

by Roald Dahl

Read by Emma Rye

The big heavy haunted-looking eyes of the woman were moving intently over the man’s face and neck. There was no skin showing at all on the neck, not even at the sides below the ears. The whole of it, to a point where it disappeared into the collar of the shirt, was covered all the way round with those shortish hairs, yellowy black.

‘Mind you,’ he said, turning away from her, gazing lovingly now at the baby, ‘it’s going to work far better on a tiny infant than on a fully developed man like me. You’ve only got to look at her to see that, don’t you agree?’

The woman’s eyes travelled slowly downward and settled on the baby. The baby was lying naked on the table, fat and white and comatose, like some gigantic grub that was approaching the end of its larval life and would soon emerge into the world complete with mandibles and wings.

‘Why don’t you cover it up, Mabel?’ he said. ‘We don’t want our little queen to catch a cold.’