Day 107: Parrots for Ethel

The facts

“What did your uncle take you to see yesterday, William?” Douglas said.
“He took me to a place with a lot of dead animals an’ a man givin’ lectures on ’em.”
“Was he int’restin’?” said Ginger.
“Yes,” said William simply, “he’d got a loose tooth what you could see movin’ when he talked. I’ve been thinkin’. It’d be quite easy to get up a show like that but with live animals ’stead of stuffed ones.”
“Can you woggle your teeth?” said Douglas.
“It’s not ne’ssary to woggle your teeth lecturin’ on animals,” said William coldly.

  • Number: 9.6
  • Published: 1928 (1927 in magazine form)
  • Book: William the Good
  • Synopsis: Ethel is ill and all the young men of the village bring presents.


This is a classic story of William’s innocent optimism causing comical but ultimately harmless chaos.

Having decided to deliver a lecture on animals, Ginger announces that sometimes people donate animals to good causes (such as the Royal family). Accordingly, William drafts a notice reading:

Ginger threw William a cold glance. “Seems to me,” he said, “a pity some people can’t stop their sisters goin’ about the world makin’ all this mis’ry. Breakin’ people’s trumpets an’ throwin’ people’s mouth-organs away.”

mister william brown is going to lekcher on anmals and will be gratful to anyone who will give or lend him anmals to be lekchered on mister william brown will take grate care of them mister william brown is out now lookin for valubul insex but will be back before dinner mister william brown will be glad if people givin him anmals to be lekchered on will put them on the seat in the back garden an tie them up if they are savvidge anmals cause of doin damidge an eatin things reely wild anmals should have cages as mister william browns father will be mad with him if dammidge is done to the garden by wild animals lent or given him for his lekcher if anmals are lent him will they kinly have a label with the address of their home so as mister william brown the lekcherer on anmais may bring them home after they have been lekchered on things like hedgehogs or porkquipines must be fetched mister william brown is a very interestin lekcherer an anyone may kinly come an listen to him who likes if the summerhouse is full peple may come an look at him thru the window (“Good deal about you in it,” Ginger commented,”an’ not much about us”)

Meanwhile, Ethel, being her usual mercenary self, is taking full advantage of her quarantine to extract gifts from her suitors. Hector and George (older brothers to Ginger and Henry) each bring her, rather begrudgingly, her requested gift of a parrot, and leave it on the very same bench that William has designated for donations to his animal lectures.

The predictable happens, but fortunately everyone ends up happy: Ethel cured, the Outlaws in proud possession of two parrots, and Hector and George “congratulating each other on the narrow escape from the lifelong unhappiness that marriage with Ethel would have meant”.