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I'm curious as to what you purveyors of words think of the word niggly?

peace.

palefox
 
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Welcome to the community, Palefox.

Here's what I think of the word niggly, which you have purveyed to us.

I think it has not yet been recognized as a word in the English language.

However it appears to be related to the word niggle, so perhaps some day it will be used as "finicky" and "excessively critical" are now used.

Did you see it in print somewhere?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by jerry thomas:
Welcome to the community, Palefox.
thanks. This site was mentioned in the Chicago Sun-Times today. That's how I found my way over here.
quote:
I think it has not yet been recognized as a word in the English language.
On this side of the ocean, yes. But on the other side, I find the word and its forms niggling, nig, niggardly in use.

quote:
However it appears to be related to the word http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=niggle so perhaps some day it will be used as "finicky" and "excessively critical" are now used.

Did you see it in print somewhere?
Yes, I did. And the reason I'm asking is that in America, reading and hearing these words, though not related to the N__ word, they do sound like it and wonder if it might not be better to let these "middle ages" scandanavian derived words rest in peace.

Hence, my query.

peace.

palefox
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Might not be better to let these "middle ages" scandanavian derived words rest in
peace.
------------------------------------------
Why not use them more often, thus washing away the association with any pejorative term?

BTW, welcome to the asylum!
 
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If you don't like the words it sounds like, don't use it. Other people will probably use it anyway, but you will have the satisfaction of taking action.

The mere fact that a word sounds something like another should have no bearing on the matter.
 
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Quite so.

Where will it end otherwise with our being unable to talk about "rugger"; "duck"; "God" or "chit"?

Incidentally, am I alone in finding such devices as "the N... word" rather pointless? Those who know what it means, know the word; those who don't will simply be confused.

Richard English
 
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I've always felt that Niagara sounds a bit too much like that "N-word" too so perhaps we'd be better getting rid of place names derived from native American languages too.

Can't be too careful after all.

Roll Eyes

Glaubt es mir - das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heisst: gefährlich leben.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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To be perfectly careful, maybe the name of that state that lies between Illinois and Ohio should be changed to "Native Americana," and its capital, "Native Americanapolis."
 
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I have spent a small portion of my life as a (drumroll, please) professional stand-up comic. I say small because, while I was occasionally paid, it was never enough to pay the bills. Plus, the other stand-ups were some of the world's greatest dickheads but that's another story.

I mention this because this thread brings to mind a line THAT I WROTE which was later stolen by other "comics" who claimed it as their own (the bastards!!) so if you've heard this before, you're now getting it from its source:


I knew a black guy who was really mysterious - no one could figure him out. I said to him one time "Y'know, you're a real enigma." Unfortunately he was also a bit hard of hearing and he beat the crap out of me!


(ba-dum-Bum!) Thank you, thank you! That's my time and don't forget to tip your waitstaff.
 
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Richard and arnie say, "The mere act that a word sounds something like another should have no bearing on the matter."

That seems to me unduly perscriptivist. We choose words to communicate (one hopes), and I have to be concerned with my hearer's reaction. Particularly when that reaction may be, as CJ says, to "beat the crap out of me."

Probably where you brits live, "niggling" would not be as subject to misunderstanding as it is on our side of the pond.
 
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I agree that there might be times when a simile is better than the word of first choice since it may lessen confusion. However, I can't even think of a one-word simile for "niggling". The OED defines it as "troublesome or irritating in a petty way".

And i certainly would prefer to have a niggling doubt rather "a troublesome and irritating doubt that is petty".

The first is clear and concise the second verbose and woolly.

There is, so far as I have been able to establish, no confusion in the UK between the word "nigger" (which is considered offensive here these days) and such words as niggardly or niggling.

That there seems to be in the USA is maybe a reflection on grammatical awareness.

Richard English
 
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Niggle is also commonly used to denote a small injury claimed by a sportsman. A hungover cricketer might say he has picked up a groin niggle to avoid a hard day in the field.
 
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I want to thank you all for your discussion. The Indiana stuff had me ROFL. Nice joke, CJ. If you can, look for last weeks episode of "The Bernie Mac Show". It dealt with Chris Rock stealing Bernie's material. Funny.

To me, it's interesting that these sound-alike words tug at some of our American liberal sensibilities; while the Euro's have a 'get over it' - like attitude.
quote:
Richard English wrote:
There is, so far as I have been able to establish, no confusion in the UK between the word "nigger" (which is considered offensive here these days) and such words as niggardly or niggling
Are you saying that it has only been recently, that the N__-word has been considered offensive in the U.K.?

And, Richard, we in the U.S. say "nagging doubt" instead of "niggling doubt". Maybe Shufitz is right: because of our (the states') history, these words just never got a foothold. And wouldn't it be easier to use a different word instead of risking hurting someone. just asking...

peace.

palefox
 
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It's not that recent but it is within my own lifetime. Nigger brown was a perfectly acceptable term for a colour shade only around forty years ago; Agatha Christie's book, "Ten Little Nigger Boys" was named after a popular nursery rhyme that was still popular well after the second World War.

Nigger is now considered offensive here and would not be used in polite exchange (although it is used frequently in arguments - as it is in the USA, I am quite sure)

The term has been unacceptable in the USA for longer although it was,again quite acceptable at the time that Mark Twain wrote his novels - and maybe later.

I have a feeling that there is a collective guilt that assails the American ego over the unhumnanity that so many white Americans exhibited towards black Americans over the years and that this guilt is what drives them to try to expunge all traces, even verbal traces, of those days.

A nagging doubt is also used here - but its meaning is not the same. Nagging involves repitition and is not necessarily niggling. A nagging doubt is one that keeps coming back; a niggling doubt is one which irritates but which may not keep returning. Of course, a doubt could be both niggling and nagging.

Both words are said to be of scandinavian origin but the root word for each is different.

Richard English
 
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No, really?

It's as stupid as the coinage of "herstory" in the belief that "history" was a male-dominated word.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by jerry thomas:
[...]

I think it has not yet been recognized as a word in the English language.
[...]



First used, according to OED2, in 1840:

niggly (______), a.
[f. niggle v.2 + -y1.]
= niggling ppl. a.; also, irritable, short-tempered.
1840 W. Harcourt Let. in A. G. Gardiner Life W. Harcourt (1923) I. ii. 24, I think his trees niggly as you would say, and he teaches an odd doctrine about trees.
1862 C. C. Robinson Dial. Leeds 40 Ah doant want to live soa as fowks could cawal us niggly.
1898 B. Kirkby Lakeland Words 107 He was as niggly ower a penny as many a yan is ower a pund.
1952 M. Tripp Faith is Windsock iii. 43 Well, aren't you a niggly old bastard?
1959 [see niggle v.2 3 d].
1967 E. Short Embroidery & Fabric Collage iv. 106 Care must be taken to avoid niggly detail and a temptation to imitate a pencil line or brush stroke exactly.
1973 A. Ross Dunfermline Affair 65 _What about_going to get the bloody stuff?' Thomson said. He was niggly, and showed it.
 
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Is that really true? I had heard it, certainly, but have always assumed it was an urban myth.

Richard English
 
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"herstory" can be defined as: women's history.

It's in common usage here in the States and Canada among among women activists and lesbians.

I, however, disagree with the_bear's writing: "It's as stupid as the coinage of "herstory" in the belief that "history" was a male-dominated word." Apples and oranges.

peace.

palefox
 
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Originally posted by palefox:
_"herstory"_ can be defined as: women's history.


palefox


So allowing the specious etymology of "history" to create the quite ridiculous "herstory" presumably means that we may now redefine "history" to mean only the story of men.

Apples and oranges ?
I think not, more like sauce for the goose.

Glaubt es mir - das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heisst: gefährlich leben.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
Apples and oranges ?
I think not, more like sauce for the goose.


err... I believe he was comparing the use of "nig", "niggly", "niggardly" to the coinage of "herstory" and it's use. Yes, apples and oranges.

peace.

palefox
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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women activists
and lesbians.
-----------------------------------------
WoMEN? Oh, horrors! That's wopersons! Big Grin
 
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quote:
WoMEN? Oh, horrors! That's wopersons! Razz


Correction: woperdaughters Smile
 
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Originally posted by jerry thomas:
quote:
WoMEN? Oh, horrors! That's wo_persons!_ Razz


Correction: woper_daughters_ Smile

ahem... woperdaughters-of-ill-repute-ors! Eek

peace.

palefox
 
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quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
So allowing the specious etymology of "history" to create the quite ridiculous "herstory" presumably means that we may now redefine "history" to mean only the story of men.


I don't understand why you consider the etymology of "history" to be specious.

The word "herstory" may seem ridiculous to you, but it was coined in 1970 (OED) or 1971 (M-H) to emphasize the contributions women have made which are largely omitted in history texts. History is, in a large sense, the story of men. Perhaps the OED's second quote (from 1976) will explain it: "When women in the movement use herstory, their purpose is to emphasize that women's lives, deeds, and participation in human affairs have been neglected or undervalued in standard histories."

Jane Mills, in Womanwords: A Dictionary of Words About Women (The Free Press, 1992), says "To get so intensely annoyed by feminist neologisms (chairperson can have the same effect) can only be regarded as an over-reaction for, as [Deborah] Cameron points out: 'Herstory is an excellent word in many contexts pointing out with wit and elegance that most history is precisely the story of men's lives; while wimmin might be universally applauded as a clever piece of spelling reform, had it not become associated with the unpopular "extremism" of the women's movement. (Feminism and Linguistic Theory, 1985)'

Eunice de Souza writes"

"It's interesting that one of the major feminist presses in England calls itself Virago. The word of course denotes a noisy, domineering woman. By taking on such a name, the press intended (with ironic awareness) to turn the negative connotation into one with positive vibrations. Such an attitude is the equivalent of saying Black is Beautiful."

(Apparently Longmans Green and Co Ltd originally published the book in 1989, Virago Press Ltd published a paperback edition in 1991, and The Free Press reprinted it as a hardback in 1992.)

M-W says "herstory" is a blend of "her" and "history". Think of it as a portmanteau word.

Tinman

[This message was edited by tinman on Sat Sep 13th, 2003 at 2:46.]
 
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I do not have a full OED but I can tell you that the Concise has no reference to "herstory" and no usage notes under either "history" (and its associates) or "her".

Accoding to my Concise Oxford, the word history is from the Greek "historia" which means "finding out" or "narrative".

Richard English
 
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My reference to the OED was to the OED Online. I don't know if you can access that or not. I access it from my home computer through my local library. "Herstory" can also be found at Oxford Reference Online, which I also access through my library.

Tinman
 
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I can access both of these but they are subscription services and I haven't subscribed!

Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
I do not have a full OED but I can tell you that the Concise has no reference to "herstory" and no usage notes under either "history" (and its associates) or "her".

Accoding to my Concise Oxford, the word history is from the Greek "historia" which means "finding out" or "narrative".

Richard English


My point exactly, tinman.
The word history does not come from

his + story.

This is the specious origin to which I referred.

The coinage herstory is a formation by analogy to this specious etymology.

If we agree (and I don't !) that herstory is a legitimate word meaning (and this is hard witout getting into a circular definition) "the story of women through the ages" and that history means "the story of men and women through the ages" then what is the word that means simply "the story of men (NOT women) through the ages" ?

You can't have one without the other. As I said what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

The coinage of "herstory" based on the notion that "history" because of an accident of spelling somehow excludes women is, I maintain, ridiculous.

Perhaps we should also consider

Hispanic........- > Herspanic
anti-histamine..- > anti-herstamine
histogram.......- > herstogram
histrionic......- > herstrionic

and while we are at it

herbaceous......- > hisbaceous
herbalist.......- > hisbalist
heredity........- > hisedity
hermit..........- > hismet

What's that I hear you say ? I'm just being silly and choosing ludicrous examples ?

Of course I am but in my view "herstory" is as ludicrous a word as any of my coinages above and for exactly the same reason :- specious etymology.

Glaubt es mir - das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heisst: gefährlich leben.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Jolly good, Bob! Perhaps, however, one might consider that the source of such nuttiness was chauvinism. There is the saying that feminism is the radical notion that women are people. For too long the powers that run the world have viewed women as less than men. For example, would you really want to be a woman under the Taliban - or even under extreme right-wing Christianity?

In truth, I feel that this whole patriarchy thing got started as an unconscious reaction to women's natural "magic," for want of a better term. Women live a bit longer than men, endure pain better, survive famine better, spit blood, swallow penises, often have multiple orgasms, spit out babies, give milk, and think with both rational and emotional sides of their brains at the same time. This capacity scares men, and what we men can't understand we try to either control or kill.
 
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Couldn't agree more Asa.

I just hate to see phony "logic" being used as a justification for debasement of the language.

Glaubt es mir - das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heisst: gefährlich leben.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
I can access both of these but they are subscription services and I haven't subscribed!


I haven't subscribed, either, but I can access and use them through my library's subscription. I just pull up my library's website, click on "databases", then "Oxford English Dictionary", enter my Library card number, and I'm in business.

Tinman
 
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quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
The word history does not come from

his + story_.

This is the specious origin to which I referred.

The coinage herstory is a formation by analogy to this specious etymology.

No, of course that is not the etymology of history. But I don't believe that those who coined herstory really believed that was the etymology, either. They simply substituted her for his as a political and social statement. The word may be linguistically flawed, but the statement is valid. I'm not in love with the word, either, though it is a clever pun. But I see no reason to get bent out of shape over it, either. Perhaps if I were a linguist or etymologist I would feel differently. (Maybe I should reword that.) Part of the appeal of the word to feminists is that it does tend to piss men off.

Tinman

[This message was edited by tinman on Sat Sep 13th, 2003 at 23:45.]
 
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quote:
If we agree (and I don't !) that herstory is a legitimate word meaning (and this is hard witout getting into a circular definition) "the story of women through the ages" and that history means "the story of men and women through the ages" then what is the word that means simply "the story of men (NOT women) through the ages" ?



What about this question then ? Perhaps we need to coin "himstory" to redress the balance.

quote:
I'm not in love with the word, either, though it is a clever pun.


That explains my reaction then. See my previous correspondence with CJ on the subject of puns.

Glaubt es mir - das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heisst: gefährlich leben.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by palefox:

I, however, disagree with the_bear's writing: "It's as stupid as the coinage of "herstory" in the belief that "history" was a male-dominated word." Apples and oranges.




You appear to define stupidity in one case as apples and stupidity in another case as oranges.

They differ how, exactly?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by the_bear:
quote:
Originally posted by palefox:

I, however, disagree with the_bear's writing: "It's as stupid as the coinage of "herstory" in the belief that "history" was a male-dominated word." Apples and oranges.




You appear to define stupidity in one case as apples and stupidity in another case as oranges.

They differ how, exactly?

Well, they do both grow on trees, but, for instance, only one of them is a citrus fruit. I'll let you guess which one.

peace.

palefox
 
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J.R.R. Tolkein wrote a charming book called
'Tree and Leaf' in which the main character is called Niggle.

The original short story was in fact called 'Leaf by Niggle'

So, 'niggle' can be a pronoun also.

Roll Eyes

I think it's a very nice word.

Smile

Tadpole
 
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Richard English,
I meant to mention this earlier. I've never heard of "Ten Little Nigger Boys" and googled it. Amazing! Here, it's title and subsequent lines are "Ten Little Indians". Which of course Agatha Christie turned into a play. According to this page, it premiered in London in 1943 with the title "Ten Little Niggers". But when opening the following year in New York, the name was changed to "Ten Little Indians".

At the bottom of the page are both nursery rhymes.
"Ten Little Indians" by Septimus Winner, 1868
"Ten Little Niggers" by Frank Green, 1869

peace.

palefox
 
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A very belated Welcome to Wordcraft, Palefox! Smile Big Grin Wink Cool Roll Eyes Razz

It is great hearing new perspectives!
 
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Oh, Palefox, welcome to our crew. Sorry this is so belated, but I have been away for some time. But now that I have a computer moved to the first floor, I should be able to access it much more frequently!
 
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In fact the scansion of the phrase "ten little niggers" in the first line is wrong in and the nursery rhyme as I learnt it was "ten little nigger boys".

Ten little Indians is far better and it is maybe a rare example of political correctness and verbal correctness coinciding!

Richard English
 
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Richard, I never heard it as anything other than "Ten little indian boys". And here it is not just a rhyme, but a little song to teach kids how to count to ten!
 
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Thank you Kalleh and Morgan for the welcomes. A nice bunch of people, I have happened upon. Big Grin

quote:
Richard English wrote:
Ten little Indians is far better and it is maybe a rare example of political correctness and verbal correctness coinciding!
That can definitly be true of the working titles in the 1940's. But, all the way back in the 1860's, just a few years after the Civil War? Remember, the "Indian" title came first.

Here's some more info I've dug up from AgathaChristie.com

"The novel is named for and constructed according to a popular Victorian music hall show song written by Frank Green in England in 1869. It was an adaptation of the American comic song, 'Ten Little Indians', written by Septimus Winner, published 1868. The author includes the complete song in Chapter 2 of the novel. The original title was deemed offensive by American publisher, Dodd, Mead & Co. who changed it to 'And Then There Were None'"

Now for a possible reason(?): Both authors (Winners and Green) didn't want the reader or listener to care too much for the characters who were dropping dead. This was suppossed to be comedy, after all. And Septimus must've been a northerner, because, hey c'mon, his name was... Septimus. Smile

Now, Green thought that his listeners would care too much for the Native Americans that were keeling over so he changed it.

Man, these songs SUCK...

And how about the last line in both.
One little (insert choice here) boys living all alone;
He got married, and then there were none.


These guys didn't miss a beat. (pun intended) Wink

peace.

palefox
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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This takes the thread a bit askew, but I'm reminded of the case of political correctness run amok regarding the chain of restaurants here in the US named "Sambos." Since the Kipling story was "little Black Sambo," illiterate people of African ancestry assumed that Sambo was African, and began to protest the restaurant's name. A pity that they weren't all required to read the story and learn that Sambo was Indian, (REAL Indian!) and a most plucky lad!
 
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Asa, you've hit it and that's exactly the point here. The term "Little Black Sambo" does have a negative black connotation, even if, originally, it wasn't meant to. click on link above.

Now, with that said... Do we, as non-African American's continue to use the term, hiding behind the "true" meaning? Or accept its interpretation.

... short scene.
Chet: (white guy) How's it going?

Paul: (black guy) Last month, I lost my job.

Chet: That's too bad.

Paul: Yeah. My three supervisors, who conspired together to fire me, by the way, fought so hard to take credit for my work, the ended up fighting themselves right out the door.

Chet: Well, that should make you feel better, right?

Paul: Almost. The company president called me to offer me my job back with higher pay and more responsibility.

Chet: Well, aren't you the little black Sambo.

Paul, thinking this is an insult, punches Chet in the face.

Chet: What d'ya do that for? Little Black Sambo's a fable about rewarding good people when something bad happens to them.

Paul: Oh, I'm sorry. You called me Sambo... I thought you called me "Little Black Rambo"

For more info on the fable, click here.

peace.

palefox
 
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Well, now, Palefox, where'd I get the notion that Kipling wrote it? I'll ascribe it to a "senior moment!" Frown

Archaic Asa
 
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Before this, I really hadn't had time to read the whole thread. Tonight I did. It is similar to the "men vs. women" thread. Too bad I was in Europe and not able to get into the "history, herstory" discussion. You all know what I would have thought! Razz
 
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