Magic Man in James & the Giant Peach

Instructor: Debra Patuto

Debra has taught at elementary levels and has an M.ed with certification in elementary education and special education

This lesson is about the old Magic Man in the story, 'James and The Giant Peach,' by Roald Dahl. This mysterious character has a magical surprise that leads James on an unexpected journey to find happiness and friendship.


What would you do if someone gave you a bag full of magic? Would you be afraid to use it? Or would you follow the instructions exactly as they were given and hope that the magic would work? Let's see what the main character, James, did when he received a bag of magic.

The Beginning

James, in the story James and The Giant Peach was sent to live with his aunts after his parents tragically died. To make matters worse, his aunts were dreadful. They physically and mentally abused him. James was miserable and lonely with no friends. You can't help but feel bad for this poor young boy.

One day after a horrible argument with his aunts, James set out into the corner of his yard where he broke down and cried. When completely out of the blue, a mysterious old magic man appeared and handed James a bag of magical objects. The man guaranteed that the magical objects would get him out of his misery. Talk about perfect timing!

About The Magic Man

We do not know much about the magic man but picture in your head a little old man dressed in green, with bristles all over his face, and a long nose. He also had a cane that he leaned on for support. In his hand, he carried a small white bag full of magic.

Although we shouldn't engage with strangers, James listened to everything this man said. The man then handed James a bag full of magical objects that were glowing green and crystal-like. He told James that the magic in the bag had more magic than all the rest of the world. James was curious, wouldn't you have been?

Green Crystal-Like Objects Similar to the ones in the Bag the Old Magic Man Gave James
green crystal

The man gave James a brief but odd explanation of what the green objects were. He mentioned crocodile tongues boiled with lizard eyeballs in a witch's skull. Gross! This description of the items didn't scare James at all. James was so miserable; he was willing to try just about anything to escape from his cruel aunts. The magic man and this bag of magic gave him hope for a better future.

Another odd and mysterious thing to note about the old magic man is that after he had given James strict instructions to follow, he left, never to return to the story. This opportunity was a one shot deal for James. Could he make this magic work?

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