“Gosh! didn’t he carry on!” said William, “Sayin’ I wasn’t fit to be a member of a civ’lised community! Well, I jolly well don’t want to be a member of one. I’m jolly well sick of civ’lised communities. I’m jolly well sick of tryin’ to help civ’lisation an’ the yuman race. All I get for it is my bow an’ arrow took off me an’ no fireworks. That shows civ’lisation’s all wrong an’ l’m jus’ about fed up with it. I’m jolly well goin’ back to the days before there was any civ’lisation. I bet we’d all be a jolly sight better off if we all went back to bein’ savages same as those ole Markie was tellin’ us about that lived in trees.’
“Tree-dwellers,” said Ginger.
“Yes, them… Well, I’m jolly well goin’ back to bein’ one. I’d sooner live in a tree than a house any day.”
- Number: 30.3
- Published: 1954
- Book: William and the Space Animal
- Synopsis: William decides to start living in a tree… and sees something rather odd.
A new neighbour, Mr Redditch, is making Mr Brown’s life hell both at home and away from it (he is a fellow member of the local golf club and a fellow commuter to London). This makes Mr Brown extremely irritable, and in a particularly sore moment he bans William from marking Bonfire Night.
“You see,” the man from the Insurance Company explained to William, “this chap staged a burglary because he wanted to get the insurance money. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” said William, adding zestfully – for William liked his drama laid on thick – “He’s prob’ly the head of a gang of international crim’nals. Prob’ly Scotland Yard have been huntin’ for him for years. He’s prob’ly a smuggler as well. An’ a spy. He’s prob’ly foiled the best brains in the Secret Service.”
It’s while he and Ginger are occupying a tree in Mr Redditch’s garden while he’s (supposedly) away on holiday that they witness Mr Redditch sneaking around and behaving rather oddly.
They don’t immediately twig [yes I did have to make that pun] how odd it is, but in their entirely altruistic attempt to help him, they do manage to let his insurance company know; and his insurance company is very grateful.