Day 300: These Little Mistakes Will Happen

 The facts

“I’ve thought of somethin’ else I’m goin’ to be when I’m grown up,” said William.
“Gosh! Not another!” said Ginger in reluctant admiration.
William decided on a new career every few days. Already, in the course of the last week, he had decided to be diver, golddigger, big-game hunter, tree-lopper, conjurer, atom-bomb maker and snake charmer.

  • Number: 29.8
  • Published: 1954 (same year in magazine form) – originally titled William’s Mistake
  • Book: William and the Moon Rocket
  • Synopsis: The boys need to raise two shillings by doing odd jobs.


William and Ginger are anxious to raise a shilling each in order to see the Wonder Cossacks, a horse-riding circus troupe.

Outraged that Mr Brown is not willing to fund this investment in their futures (the boys’ careers as cossacks obviously depend on soaking up this early experience), William expostulates, “I remember he paid fifteen shillin’s once for garden spray. Gosh! We could’ve seen the Wonder Cossacks…” – he paused and wrinkled his brow in mental effort – “seven an’ a half times for that.”

“Gosh, Miss Milton, don’t write to our fathers, please,” said William. “We’re sorry about your frame an’ it was my fault, an’ I don’t know what made that stone go a diff’rent way to what I threw it. I bet it mus’ be somethin’ to do with the atom bomb. Somethin’ got out into the air out of the atom bomb and… and sort of mesmerised it. Listen, Miss Milton. I’ll mend your garden frame. Honest, I will. I bet I can find a bit of glass an’ I know where there’s a tube of glue.”

But his relentless optimism comes in, and he resolves to earn enough money not only to see the Wonder Cossacks but also to buy lots of ice-cream and a jet bomber.

His ‘best’ idea is to do a favour for his father, namely painting a cupboard brown. They don’t have any brown paint but decide to try a blend of cough mixture, hair tonic and walnut ketchup.

Mr Brown is irate, at least until he makes a cock-up of his own and begins to understand that, well, these little mistakes will happen…