Thursday, June 05, 2003

"Well, well," murmured the Doctor. "Fancy Bumpo studying at Oxford. Well, well!"
"There were great doings in Jolliginki when he left. He was scared to death to come. He was the first man from that country to go abroad. He thought he was going to be eaten by white cannibals or something. You know what those niggers are -- that ignorant! Well! -- But his father made him come. He said that all black kings were sending their sons to Oxford now. It was the fashion, and he would have to go. Bumpo wanted to bring his six wives with him. But the king wouldn't let him do that either. Poor Bumpo went off in tears -- and everybody in the palace was crying too. You never heard such a hullabaloo."
"Do you know if he ever went back in search of The Sleeping Beauty?" asked the Doctor.
"Oh, yes," said Polynesia -- "the day after you left. And a good thing for him he did: the king got to know about his helping you to escape; and he was dreadfully wild about it."
"And The Sleeping Beauty? -- did he ever find her?"
"Well, he brought back something which he said was The Sleeping Beauty. Myself, I think it was an albino niggeress. She had red hair and the biggest feet you ever saw."

Extract from the original 1923 edition of 'THE VOYAGES OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE' by Hugh Lofting, which goes some way towards explaining why modern editions admit quite openly to having been 'expurgated' and also explains how so many people that grew up on these delightful bedtime stories back in the 20s and 30s developed such narrow views on the world.