Day 273: Aunt Florence, Toy Maker

The facts

“It’s a long time since we did anything about the war,” said William.

  • Number: 25.10
  • Published: 1945 (same year in magazine form)
  • Book: William and the Brains Trust
  • Synopsis: William tries to help the war effort using a shapeless toy knitted by Aunt Florence.


The Outlaws organise a bring-and-buy sale “in ade of the Prisoners of War”.

The sight of Aunt Florence knitting at the open window gave William an idea.
Aunt Florence noticed a stream of village children passing the window and gazing in at her. To each she gave a pleasant greeting, murmuring at intervals: “So nice and friendly, these country children.” She did not know, of course, that above the open window was fixed a notice: “WOT IS SHE NITTING NOW? PENNY A GESS. PRIZE FOR WINER.”

But two things go wrong; firstly, the boys of the village are far more interested in swapping toys than in buying them (leading to very little benefit for prisoners of war). And, more seriously, Aunt Florence is staying with the Browns and keen to help. Aunt Florence has recently read a book on toy-making, but even with the benefit of such expert knowledge she still manages to knit only a “shapeless repulsive object”.

William rather cleverly manages to turn Aunt Florence’s contribution from an embarassment into a triumph by holding a popular competition: “The green mistry. Wot is it? Penny to ges. Prize to winer.”