Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 01:51:02 -0800
From: SETH SKLAREY crissiet[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IX.NETCOM.COM
Subject: Re: sanskrit proof of spittin' rabbit
Once upon a time a famous Indian artist and an old Indian storyteller were
Cardiff countryside, when the artist noticed an unusual rabbit with 5 legs.
nothing with him, but a small flat rock nearby served as his drawing board
and he etched the image of this rare rabbit into the rock with a sharp rock.
The Indian artist new of the technique of batik-ing and knew that if he chewed a
colored berry and spit it on the rock that he could reproduce the image by
a piece of cloth to the rock which was wet with the berry juice, which made
a good dye. He began selling the reproductions as he travelled to finance
their continued journey as they made their way back to India. He also made a
gold ornament my pouring molten gold over the rock, the first proof of which
he kept for himself and wore around his neck. One day when making the
little cakes which he liked to eat as he was waiting for his bowels to move,
he inadvertently placed some of the cake dough on the rock and after he had
baked it he noticed the impression of the rabbit. He began to make other
drawings on rocks and sold the reproductions and became rather famous. But
he was best known for his spitting image of the rare Welch Rabbit as well as
for the cakes with various themes which he sold to illustrate his many
One day a gang of thieves who had heard about the artist tried to steal the
gold proof from the artist, but he wisely put it in his mouth.
When he realized they would probably search his mouth too, he spit it into a
pudding he was making. After the artist died the storyteller continued to
tell the story about the
smart artist who made the spitting image of the rare Welch rabbit, about the
the pudding and about the journey cakes. Many years later, after John
Crapper invented the toilet, the fact that the artist liked to eat the cakes
while waiting for his
bowels to move, the journey cakes also came to be known as johnny cakes.
The storyteller often told the story of the artist at a seaside resort on
Ocean and sometimes drew a picture of the rabbit on the sand. Sometimes he even
wrote some of the story in the sand to attract tourists so he could sell his
These sand scripts were what the tourists called the language he spoke, but a
French entrepreneur found the story to be a better sell without the script
or sans script, and eventually corrupted the spelling to Sanskrit.
As you can see from the time written, about 4:00 o'clock in the morning that
this all came to me in a dream.
Wittgenstein School of the Unwritten (Sans Script) Word
Coconut Grove, FL
crissiet[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ix.netcom.com
Thanks very much, Rudy (and indirectly Carl). I didn't know that, and was in
fact like probably most of us operating in effect with a second-order folk-
etymology, as with the classic cases of "Welsh rarebit" (which really was
originally "Welsh rabbit") or "journey-cake" (which really was something closer
to Johnny-cake) or, I would argue, "spit and image" (which, if not from
"spittin' image", was as far as I can tell originated as "spitten [past part.]
image"). On the same subject, Carl B's reference to "the proof of the pudding
is in the eating" as an instance in which proof/prove really DOES refer to
'test' rather than 'demonstrate' reminds me of the curious variant of this
expression: "the proof is in the pudding". This illustrates a kind of loss of
transparency also found in "happy as a clam" (originally, if the standard
references are correct [and I'm beginning to wonder!], "happy as a clam at
high tide"). I'm sure someone is going to produce evidence that it really WAS
"happy as a clam", with evidence from Sanskrit. But if not, can anyone think
of other opacified proverbs like "the proof is in the pudding" or expressions
like "happy as a clam"?