The red policeman got so wet that by the time he reached his house all the dye had come out of his suit. He felt very angry indeed.
"I must try not to make mistakes," he said, "sometimes they bring one into fearful trouble. As my suit is spoilt I think I will give up being a policeman. A policeman without a suit is no good at all."
So he went to bed and had hot bricks to his feet and a mustard plaster on his chest, and sent for the tailor to measure him for a new suit of clothes.
When the tailor came the policeman said to him, "I am quite tired of being a policeman, and I think I should now like to be a soldier. Please measure me for a soldier's suit. The coat you will make of green cloth and the trousers must be yellow."
"Please measure me for a soldier's suit."
"But," said the tailor, "soldiers wear scarlet coats and blue trousers."
"That is just the point," said the policeman. "I don't want to be like all the others. If I did I should go in for khaki. Just you do what I tell you, and make me a green coat and yellow trousers at once."
The tailor said, "Yes, sir," and went away.
In a few days he called again, bringing with him a yellow coat and green trousers. The policeman could have cried with disappointment.
"Didn't I tell you quite plainly that I wanted a green coat and yellow trousers?"
"I am truly sorry, sir," said the tailor, "but as you no doubt know, the best of us make mistakes sometimes."
"There is something in that," said the policeman, "and if the suit fits me I will forgive you."
Then he went into his dressing-room and put on the yellow coat and the green trousers. They fitted him beautifully. So that he forgave the tailor, and sent round to him to say that he would try to pay his bill when he got some money.
He began to strut about in his new clothes.
After looking at himself a good deal in the mirror the policeman went out into the street and began to strut about in his new clothes. "This is much better than being a policeman," he said, "a policeman has little to do, but a soldier has nothing to do till he is sent for to fight. By the way I must go and buy a sword, and then I will go up to the old man's house and let him see me in my new clothes. Perhaps he will give me two halfpennies to put in the pockets."
He bought his sword at the toy shop and went straight to the old man's house. When he got there the old woman was in the garden knocking apples off a tree with a clothes prop. No sooner did she see the policeman in his yellow coat and green trousers than she ran screaming into the house, and hid herself under the bed.
The old woman was knocking apples off a tree.
But when the old man saw him he shouted, "Hurrah, hurrah, the red policeman has turned soldier. Now we needn't be afraid of him any more."
And he called upstairs to his wife, "Come down at once and get me my bag."
The old woman came downstairs quickly. She took down the bag from its nail and handed it to her husband. "Run," she said, "as hard as you can, and bring me a hen and anything else nice that takes your fancy. Bags were made to put things in. And the red policeman--the soldier, that is to say--will stay to dinner."
The soldier sat down in the chair and lit his pipe, and the old man went out with the bag. Very soon he returned with two hens, a fat duck, several rolls of butter, a large piece of bacon, some cabbages, some ice cream, and two pots of marmalade.
The old woman cooked everything but the ice cream and the marmalade, and they had a very good dinner indeed.
"This is much better than being a policeman," said the soldier when they had finished.
"I should just think it was," said the old man.
"And so should I," said the old woman.
"Now I must wish you both good evening," said the soldier, "for I hear the bugle calling."