10th July 1998 at 01:00
Ten-year-old Joe is accident- prone. On class outings it is Joe's packed lunch that gets lost. It is Joe who slips in cow pats. His class teacher is understand-ing. She is also a realist. So when the class play was being cast she made sure that Joe would have a part which minimised the effect of a possible accident.

The play involved a stolen pet rabbit. One character had to reply to the policeman's question: "Is this the boy you saw with the rabbit?" with, "It is". Surely the ideal role for Joe.

Joe threw himself into his very minor part. In rehearsals he varied his delivery of the two words from assertively loud "It is!" to shyly quiet "It is". Miss was confident Joe would be a success. Came the night, came the line. "Is this the boy you saw with the rabbit?" Came the reply, "Is it?".

Ebenezer Butler

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