Day 297: William and Little Yubear

 The facts

“My mother was mad on Thursday,” said William.
On Thursday William, bent on perfecting himself in his chosen career as a diver, had donned a home-made diving suit, consisting chiefly of trays and saucepans from his mother’s kitchen, with the addition of a few empty tins from the dustbin and a length of garden hose from the tool-shed, and dropped from the tree that overhung the pond into its murky depths.
He had been rescued by a passer-by and taken home, sodden with pond water and encrusted with slime, having left a good part of Mrs Brown’s kitchen equipment behind him. “No,” he continued regretfully, “I’ll have to wait till she’s forgotten about Thursday before I start practisin’ bein’ a diver again.”

  • Number: 29.5
  • Published: 1954 (same year in magazine form) – originally titled William’s New Friend
  • Book: William and the Moon Rocket
  • Synopsis: William and Hubert end up impersonating the same French exchange student.

Verdict

The eponymous “Little  Yubear” is none other than Hubert Lane, who (by an odd chain of events precipitated, naturally, by William) ends up being mistaken for a French exchange student.

Hubert, who is not aware that he is a French exchange student and believes himself to have been invited into the host family’s house to eat as many buns as he likes, acts in a way that the daughter believes to be very odd but that the mother blithely dismises as “probably a French custom”. His search through their drawers for cream buns was explained away as, “The French are a nation full of intellectual curiosity. It’s a well-known fact.”

“I did that jolly well, didn’t I? I’ve got a jolly lot of tact. I’ve a good mind to be one of those men in the government called dip-something.”
“Dipsomaniacs?” suggested Ginger vaguely.
“I ’spect so…”

William ends up swapping places with Yubear, but when Mrs Brown offers to host him, things take a turn for the awkward…