Day 137: The Outlaws and the Hidden Treasure

The facts

“When we become millionaires we’ll buy a decent sort of house,” said William, “with no carpets or anythin’ like that in, so that they can’t say you’ve made ’em muddy with not wiping your boots, an’ we can break anythin’ we want to ’cause it won’t matter ’cause we can pay for it I’m goin’ to break ten windows every day. I bet I’ll have more fun than anyone else in the world. I’m goin’ to keep a window mender in my house all the time mendin’ the windows ready for me to break ’em again. An’ I’m not goin’ to have any flowers or paths in the garden. I’m jus’ goin’ to let it go wild with long grass an’ trees. An’ I’m goin’ to buy a lot of wild animals from the Zoo to live in it: elephants an’ lions an’ tigers an’ giraffes an’ things like that. All livin’ wild in the garden, but we’ll tame them so’s they’ll be tame with us but wild with everyone else. I’m not goin’ to have any flowers in the garden. I never see any sense in flowers. An’ I’m goin’ to have a sweet shop in the house too so’s we can get sweets whenever we like. We’ll all be livin’ together in this house. An’ I’m goin’ to have a real train runnin’ through it all down tlie passages an’ through the rooms, with real coals, so’s we can drive it about when it’s too wet to go out to play with the wild animals. I’m goin’ to have witchbacks instead of staircases an’ I’m goin’ to have swings on the roof an’ I’m goin’ to have a water-shute from the roof right down to a pond in the garden. An’ I’m goin’ to have one room with insects all over it: snails an’ caterpillars crawlin’ all over the walls,-so’s we can watch ’em. An’ they’ll look a jolly sight nicer than what wallpaper does. Seems queer to me,” he ended meditatively, “that people have been buildin’ houses all these years an’ never thought of a few sens’ble things like that.”

  • Number: 12.7
  • Published: 1930 (same year in magazine form, originally titled William and the Buried Treasure)
  • Book: William’s Happy Days
  • Synopsis: The Outlaws need to dig up some buried treasure in a neighbour’s garden, so they come up with a ruse to make her leave the house.

Verdict

So far as the Outlaws are concerned, their task is to perpetrate a Red-Headed League-like trick on their neighbour Miss Peache, for the simple reason that they need unfettered access to her garden at precisely 7:10pm. And they need unfettered access to her garden at precisely 7:10pm, because that is the hour at which buried treasure, enchanted by a witch, becomes available in it – or so they are informed by a map they discover.

They are lucky, because it turns out that Miss Peache is an “expert on dreams” and the interpretation thereof.

And so, William puts on an ingenuous face, goes up to her and announces: “I dreamed about you last night, an’ I was so surprised to see you comin’ out of the gate ’cause I din’ know you were a real person. I thought you were only in a dream.”

He comes up with increasingly bizarre contortions that appeared in this supposed dream, so as to get her out of her house. He even steals her precious silver inkpot so that he can ‘dream’ that she needs to visit Mr Popplestone at exactly 7:10pm in order to recover it.

She remains cheerfully oblivious of their frankly ludicrous game, but it all ends out OK because the bizarre episode provides the perfect opportunity for Mr Popplestone to propose to Miss Peache.

Unfortunately, though, they never find any buried treasure.