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The Tale of Henry Sugar

28 February 2014

One of the most memorable books from my childhood is The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl.

In the story Henry Sugar trains his mind to do amazing things, after he reads a doctor’s report about a patient who had trained his own mind to walk on hot coals without feeling any pain. Henry realises that if he works hard he can train his mind to do anything and then spends hours and hours every day teaching himself to see through playing cards. He works for years at this until he teaches himself to see through a playing card in 3 seconds. He then uses his ability one night to win large amounts of money at the casino.

Henry wakes up the next morning and feels regret that he has a wonderful skill and all he has to show for it is a pile of money. He proceeds to throw all of his money out of the window to the crowds in the street outside his apartment. Henry then dedicates his life and his skills to doing good and helping other people.

Of all the books I read as a child, why has this one particularly stayed with me? I think it is because:

  • It demonstrates that our minds can achieve amazing things,
  • It is an inspiring tale that reminds us if we work hard we can learn to do almost anything,
  • It is an exciting and suspenseful story!

Books can give us so much and Roald Dahl was a truly great exponent of this. I hope all readers of this weblog have similar memories of books which stayed with them. Book Week is coming up - why not dig out those childhood favourites and read them again?