The Tricks of The TwitsEdit
Mr and Mrs Twit are introduced and the narrator talks about beards and ugly people.
The Glass EyeEdit
Mrs Twit likes to let Mr Twit know that she is always watching him. She does this by placing her glass eye into Mr Twit's mug of beer at the breakfast table. This makes Mr Twit always jump in shock.
In revenge for the glass-eye trick, Mr Twit places a frog in Mrs Twit's bed. He teases Mrs Twit by claiming the item in her bed is a Giant Skillywiggler, with teeth like screwdrivers with which it would bite off her toes. Mrs Twit faints during this trick, later to recover as the frog sits on her face.
The Wormy SpaghettiEdit
Seeking revenge for the Frog trick, Mrs Twit engineers the Spaghetti Incident. Mr Twit enjoys spaghetti for his lunch, and so the day after the Frog trick, Mrs Twit mixes worms from the garden into the cooked spaghetti, and hides the lot by covering it in a tomato and cheese sauce. Mr Twit notices that his lunch is moving, but Mrs Twit claims that the spaghetti is of a new brand, 'Squiggly Spaghetti'. Mr Twit eats it all, causing Mrs Twit to burst out laughing.
Mrs. Twit Goes Ballooning UpEdit
- After the Worms in the Spaghetti trick, Mr Twit makes Mrs Twit believe that she is slowly shrinking by gluing pieces of wood no thicker than a penny onto her cane each night, as well as onto the legs of a stool. He says that the only cure for this condition is to be stretched. He does this by tying Mrs Twit by her ankles to an iron ring in the ground outside, then tying helium-filled balloojueens to her arms until she is rising off the ground. As Mr Twit is about to leave her where she is for a few nights, Mrs Twit tells him to make sure that her ankles are secured so she doesn't float away. This only serves to prompt Mr Twit to cut the rope, sending Mrs Twit flying off. She bites the balloons off one at a time and sinks back to earth and lands on top of Mr Twit, beating him up with her cane.
There is an unimaginatively-named "Big Dead Tree" in the Twits' garden. This, Mr Twit uses to trap birds, by spreading "HUGTIGHT" sticky glue on the branches. Those that get stuck, he eventually picks off to be put into a pie baked by Mrs Twit. He also manages, inadvertently, to catch four boys by the same method when they foolishly climb the tree themselves. Mr Twit sees them and very nearly bakes them instead. Luckily, they escape in time by unbuttoning their trousers running for home naked. It is this use of glue that gives his pet monkey Muggle-Wump and his family the idea of using it against the Twits.
The end of the TwitsEdit
Muggle-Wump and his family prank the Twits by making them think their house is upside down. They stand on their heads not realising the birds dropped "HUGTIGHT" glue on them and they get stuck. They then get the "Shrinks" and vanish into piles of clothes.
The Twits, as a book, has, as Dahl himself acknowledged, occasionally made adults feel physically sick — perhaps not least because of the graphic description of what lies within Mr Twits' beard in the second chapter of the book (all the chapters being very short by the standards of Dahl's novels). However, it seems it was written with the view that children enjoy being disgusted — and frightened. Whatever the truth in this theory, it has remained popular amongst children and due to its shortness is occasionally seen as a good "starting point" by British parents — and primary school teachers — when introducing children to Roald Dahl's stories for younger readers.
The idea of The Twits was triggered by Dahl's simple desire to write "something about beards" since he had an acute dislike of them himself. The first sentence of the story — "what a lot of hairy faces one sees nowadays" — is a genuine complaint. The Twits as a book has remained so successful since its publication in 1980 — at least in the United Kingdom — that it was adapted for the stage in 1999. Certain things within the book, such as Mr Twit's beard, "Wormy Spaghetti" and bird pie, appear within Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes. A monkey named Muggle-Wump. A monkey bearing a more than passing resemblance to Quentin Blake's illustration of the same character also appears in The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me. A Roly-Poly Bird likewise makes an appearance in The Enormous Crocodile and is also to be found in Dirty Beasts.
ISBN 0-224-06491-6 (hardcover, 2003) ISBN 0-14-130107-4 (paperback, 2002) ISBN 0-375-82242-9 (hardcover, 2002) ISBN 0-14-131138-X (paperback, 2001) ISBN 0-14-034640-6 (paperback, 1991) ISBN 0-14-031406-7 (paperback, 1982) ISBN 0-224-01855-8 (hardcover, 1980)