Bill the Boast
A fireman who worked in Rhymney colliery thought that he was the bees knees, and his workmates were sick to death of his swanking. His name was William, but within the boundaries of his braggery he was known as Bill the Boast.
Men who court danger every day belong to a fraternity of fear and swallow superstition as easily as they bib their beer. Bill was the exception, the odd man out.
When others returned home on meeting a black dog or squint-eyed woman on their workward way, Bill swaggered on as bold as brass.
Colliers always crossed their fingers for luck on going down the mine and never whistled underground because the sound was known to call up the devil, but, Bill, bristling with bravado, was forever whistling at work.
Bills workmates finally went whacky and decided to knock him down a peg or two. They smuggled a pair of white trousers into the pit; they filled the legs with small coal and hung them above an air-door in Bills district.
Later, when the fearless fireman was making sure that everything in his area was shipshape, he suddenly banged his head on something hard. Looking up in a starry gaze, he saw a white object swaying in the breeze.
Bill the Boast had a bad dose of the willies and ran for his life, never to return to the pit because the word soon got round that he was all mouth and trousers.
Key Contact: Rhymney Valley Tales
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