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THE SLEEPING BEAUTY PASSAGE

Page history last edited by Amanda 10 years, 9 months ago

 

The biggest changes I could find were to this passage near the beginning of the book (Part I, Chapter 5), pages 36-7 in 1922/1950, referring to Bumpo and an incident in the first Dr. Dolittle book, The Story of Doctor Dolittle, where Bumpo has the Doctor turn him white so he can pursue Sleeping Beauty:

 

"'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 the 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 nigeress. She had red hair and the biggest feet you ever saw. But Bumpo was no end pleased with her and finally married her amid great rejoicings. The feastings lasted seven days. She became his chief wife and is now known out there as the Crown-Princess Bumpah--you accent the last syllable.'

 

'And tell me, did he remain white?'

 

'Only for about three months,' said the parrot. 'After that his face slowly returned to its natural color. It was just as well. He was so conspicuous in his bathing-suit the way he was, with his face white and the rest of him black.'"

 

In 1988 (p. 30), the boldface words in the first paragraph are eliminated, and “black kings” is changed to “African kings.” The rest of the passage related to The Sleeping Beauty and being white was cut.

 

1998 (p. 28) also leaves off the last four paragraphs, and changes the first paragraph to read as follows:

"'There were great doings in Jolliginki when he left. He was the first man from that country to go abroad. But his father made him come. He said that all the 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.'

 

The most extensive changes to this passage occur in 2001 (p. 34-5), in line with the McKissacks’ statements in their foreword. Their passage reads:

"'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. His father made him come. He said that all the 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. Bumpo was no end pleased with her and finally married her amid great rejoicings. The feastings lasted seven days. She became his chief wife and is now known out there as the Crown Princess Bumpah--you accent the last syllable.'

 

'And tell me, did he keep his lion’s mane?'

 

'Only for about three months,' said the parrot. 'After that his head slowly returned to its natural state. It was just as well. He was so conspicuous the way he was.'”

 

The part about the lion’s mane makes this consistent with the McKissacks’ changes to The Story of Doctor Dolittle in their 1997 revision of that book, where they have Dr. Dolittle mix medicines that grow a lion’s mane on Bumpo’s face, rather than giving him white skin and gray eyes. They’ve also eliminated any reference to Sleeping Beauty/Crown Princess Bumpah being an “albino nigeress.”

 

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