Royal Jelly (short story)

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"Royal Jelly" is a short horror story by Roald Dahl. It was published in the February 1983 issue of Twilight Zone Magazine.[1][2] It was included in Dahl's books Tales of the Unexpected, Kiss Kiss, and published as a standalone volume in 2011.[3]

The story was adapted as an episode of the series Tales of the Unexpected in 1980, featuring Timothy West and Susan George as the couple.[4]


Albert and Mabel Taylor have a newborn baby daughter. Mabel is frightened because the child won't eat and has been losing weight since birth. Albert, a beekeeper, devises the novel solution of adding royal jelly, used to make bee larvae grow, to the baby's milk. The baby begins to drink ravenously, getting fatter.

Albert admits to putting royal jelly in their daughter's milk, and Mabel asks him to stop. He tries to soothe his wife by explaining its nutritional value as stated in several magazines. Despite his wife's continued objections, Albert continues to add royal jelly to his daughter's milk, resulting in her growing larger. Finally Albert admits that he himself ate royal jelly in an effort to increase his fertility, which obviously worked as their daughter was conceived soon after.

Mabel begins to realise how much her husband resembles a gigantic bee, and how their daughter looks like a large grub. At the end of the story, Albert says, "Why don't you cover her up, Mabel? We don't want our little queen to catch a cold."

Television adaptation[edit]

The Tales of the Unexpected episode follows the story closely, but keeps the daughter concealed until the final reveal at the end.


  1. ^ "Twilight Zone - Magazine Index 1981-1989". Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  2. ^ "The Twilight Zone Magazine (February 1983) Cover Illustration". Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  3. ^ Dahl, Roald. Royal Jelly: A Short Story from Roald Dahl's 'Kiss Kiss'. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780241961896.
  4. ^ "Royal Jelly - Tales Of The Unexpected, Season 2, Episode 1 (1 Mar. 1980)".