Gleanings from the Past #79

Understanding Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy ready-made things in the shops. But since there are no shops where you can buy friends, men no longer have any friends. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943 What Is a Mirror? Then the cow asked: “What is a mirror?” “It is […]

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Truth in Advertising

I am unable to verify the authenticity of the following story. Nevertheless, it’s quite interesting. When Frank Winfield Woolworth (the founder of F. W. Woolworth Company) first opened his store, a businessman in the area felt threatened. So, he advertised in the local paper. The ad read: DO YOUR LOCAL SHOPPING HERE. WE HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS […]

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Some Strange Lines from Serious Fiction Manuscripts

In 1981, a well-known editor based in New York, who wished to remain anonymous, sent several excerpts from unsolicited manuscripts of supposedly serious fiction he received to the National Lampoon. They were published in the section called “From the Slush Pile”: “Pardon?” she asked in a tone that made me want to wash my hands. […]

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Lost in Time

John Gottschalk, former CEO of Omaha World-Herald told the Readers’ Digest the following quaint story: Last summer we drove our 1915 Ford Model T to an antique automobile show in a neighboring town. When we arrived, I was told that a business client wanted me to visit him at his nearby farm. Later that day we […]

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A Short Story with All Words Beginning with the Letter W

The following 440-word short story consists entirely of words beginning with the letter W. It contains only 18 hyphenated words. This anonymously-written story first appeared in the November 18, 1876, issue of the Waikato Times: “Warm weather, Walter! Welcome warm weather! We were wishing winter would wane, weren’t we?” “We were well wearied with waiting,” […]

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Gleanings from the Past #70

Plural of Égal Gustav Masson, the late genial French Master of Harrow School, once told me that he asked one of his class one day the following question: “What is the plural of égal?” The boy addressed looked mischievously at his tutor — whose good nature every Harrow boy could depend on — and with […]

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A Starmonger and a Lottery Prediction and Disappointment, Oh My!

There is a Filipino idiom, “pera na, naging bato pa“, which literally translates to, “what should have been money on hand just turned into stone”. The following true story that I witnessed when I was in the Philippines illustrates this idiom perfectly. During my stay in the Philippines, I had neighbors who are a couple […]

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Don’t You Know Me?

English novelist Anthony Trollope related the following story which occurred in 1872 in his autobiography, posthumously published in 1883: I came home across America from San Francisco to New York, visiting Utah and Brigham Young on the way. I did not achieve great intimacy with the great polygamist of the Salt Lake City. I called […]

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The Dark Origins Of Children’s Fairy Tales

This is a guest post by Melissa Lobo. Many of the children’s stories that abound today involve charming main characters accompanied by silly (and only sometimes smart) sidekicks who, though they learn an important lesson on the way, end their adventures with a neat-and-tidy happily ever after. Nonetheless, this type of plot device has not […]

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Gleanings From The Past #55

The Sword and the Pen The sword of the warrior was taken down for the purpose of being polished. It had not been long out of use. The rust was rubbed off, but there were spots that would not go; they were of blood. The sword was placed on the table, near the pen of […]

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