Day 22: The Helper

The facts

“If William’s going to help,” remarked Mr Brown, “thank Heaven I shan’t be here. Your assistance, William, always seems to be even more devastating in its results than your opposition!”

  • Number: 2.10
  • Published: 1922 (1920 in magazine form)
  • Book: More William
  • Synopsis: William’s family are moving house, and William decides that the removal men could do with a helping hand.


This is a really wonderful instance of William’s zealous helpfulness leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Throughout the day, everything he touches goes wrong, and he even manages to hinder the efforts of the professional (or semi-professional) removal men, who in fact seem to be as incompetent as he is with the added drawback of laziness.

“Well,” William excused himself, “you said things do get broken removin’. You said so yourself! I didn’t break it on purpose. It jus’ got broken removin’. I don’t get much thanks,” he continued bitterly. “Me givin’ up my half holiday to helpin’ you removin’, an’ I don’t get much thanks!”

This being one of the earlier William stories to be published, it is possible that Richmal Crompton was satirising the trials and tribulations of dealing with removal men (one of whom “’urt ’is legs at the Blue Cow comin’ ’ere'”) just as much as the trials and tribulations of dealing with William (who eventually manages to get himself first trapped in the removal van, and then stuck on the roof of the new house).

Could he grow up to be just as chaotic and unhelpful as the removers?

(I’ve classified this one as ending William comes out on the bottom but it’s closer to being neutral really. Definitely the hardest one so far to categorise.)