Bulstrode the Hero is a magazine rebus story.
There is much excitement around the river as everyone prepares for a big rowing race. As Thomas stops on the bridge, he sees Bulstrode looking grumpy as usual. Thomas does not know how he can be grumpy, being surrounded by colourful flags and cheering people.
The rowers get into their rowing boat and the coach blows his whistle. Then, all the rowers start to move their oars together and the boat starts to speed along the river. A little boy who is standing on the bank gets so excited that he loses his footing and falls into the river. Bulstrode's captain hears the cries for help and quickly throws a lifebelt to the frantic boy. The boy manages to grasp the lifebelt and the captain pulls him to the safety of Bulstrode.
The crowd cheers loudly, but not for the race. They are cheering for Bulstrode and his captain for rescuing the little boy. Thomas calls from the bridge to tell Bulstrode that he is not just a useless old barge; he is the real winner today.