Day 149: William and the Sleeping Major

The facts

They bad reached a bend in the path and there, just in front of them, by the side of the path, was an elderly man of military appearance who was fast asleep in a bath chair.
“He’s dead,” said Ginger cheerfully. .
“He can’t be,” said-Douglas. “He’s breathin’.”
“P’raps he’s dyin’,” said Ginger still more cheerfully. “P’raps if we wait a bit, he’ll stop breathin’.”
They stood round the bath chair, watching and waiting expectantly.


The Outlaws are certainly creative. When they come across a sleeping old man sitting peacefully in the woods, after eating the remains of his picnic, William suggests a new game: “Let’s have a ninquest on him. I’ll be the judge.” (“It isn’t a judge when it’s a ninquest,” Ginger cuts in. “It’s a coronationer.”)

“If you’re a doctor you’re supposed to have passed exams in tellin’ whether people are dead.”

When William tires of his judicial role (and Ginger from his role as murderer, Douglas from his role as policeman and Henry from his role as doctor), they decide, of course, to sell the old man on to an acquaintance of theirs, Victor Jameson, for threepence.

When the slumbering major’s family comes looking for him, William frantically asks Victor to reverse their transaction. But Victor has already sold him on.