Day 51: William’s Extra Day

The facts

“I simply can’t think, William,” said Mrs Brown feelingly, “how do you get such dreadful holes in your heels?”
“It’s that hard road on the way to school, I ’spect,” said William. “I ’spect ’f I didn’t go to school an’ kept to the fields an’ woods I wun’t gettem like wot I do. I wun’t mind not going – just to save you trouble. I wun’t mind growin’ up ign’rant like what you say I would if I didn’t go to school – just to save you trouble.”

  • Number: 4.11
  • Published: 1924 (same year in magazine form)
  • Book: William the Fourth
  • Synopsis: William discovers that 29 February doesn’t really count.


Having been (slightly) told by his mother that Leap Day is a day that doesn’t really count, William sets off “lookin’ for adventure”: “catch me goin’ to school on an extra day wot doesn’t count in the ornery year”.

He swaps his clothes with a gypsy and tells an elderly man he comes across that he’d been kidnapped at birth.

“Let’s all be thankful,” said Mr Brown, “that February 29th only happens every four years.”
“Yes, but William doesn’t,” said Robert gloomily. “William happens all year round.”

“That’s most interesting. What are your earliest recollections prior to being stolen?”
William was thoroughly enjoying himself. “Oh, I remember a palace an’ a garden with stachues an’ peacocks an’, er, waterfalls.”

But it all seems a bit contrived and arbitrary and I feel a lot more could have been done with the idea of William’s Extra Day.