“I think it’s simply disgraceful, the amount of… of disbelievers there is.”
“It’s unbelievers he called ’em William,” said Henry with an annoying air of knowledge.
“Well, it’s disbelievers I call ’em,” said William crushingly.
- Number: 6.10
- Published: 1926 (1925 in magazine form)
- Book: William the Conqueror
- Synopsis: The Outlaws set out to annihilate idol-worshippers.
The clergy of William’s village must have found it extremely frustrating having the Outlaws amongst their flock.
The vast majority of their sermons and lessons went totally unnoticed. But, just occasionally, they hear an off-hand clerical remark and take it out of all proportion: cf. William the Reformer, 3.3, and William’s Truthful Christmas, 5.9.
After some discussion, they decided that the legend on their banner should be “Down with Idols”.
“It’s I-D-Y-L-S,” Henry said. “I know, ’cause my mother’s gotter book called ‘Idyls of the King’, and it’s spelt that way on the back.”
“Gosh!” said William deeply shocked. “Does the King worship ’em?”
This is another such incident: a curate tries to spice up Sunday School a little by recounting the story of the Crusades, so, inevitably, the Outlaws make a pact to roam the village “fightin’” local enemies of Christianity – but, not knowing of any way to identify idol-worshippers by sight, the boys begin making a list of those who don’t attend church regularly.
But when they tire of this (“I can still feel her rolling-pin on my back,” said Henry), Ginger makes a startling discovery: “That Miss Frampton what lives at the end of a village, she’s a spiritualist. She worships things called meejums.”
Because it turns out her nephew is a boxing champion, that particular battle doesn’t end happily either.
So, finally, the Outlaws identify the real idolaters at the heart of their community: the boys who go to the Catholic Sunday School.
And thus The Troubles enter the saga…