Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 21:59:41 -0500 From: "William H. Smith" Subject: Re: folk tale, "1, 2, 3" At 06:32 PM 1/21/98 EST, you wrote: >Not on topic, (apologies all) but I thought that some of you here might >know this--- > >there's a folk tale, situated variously in areas where pogroms occurred. >In the tale, the provincial governor, or ruler, or even village chief, >tells the local jewish population that one of them will have to debate >him, or vie with him, and if the jewish representative loses,s/he'll be >killed and everyone else driven out. No one wants to be the debater, >and finally an illiterate, lowly sweeper or laborer or cowherd (e > >is selected. The cowherd and the village chief meet in the village >square, and sit face to face, silently for a long time. At last, the >cowherd hold up one finger. The village chief looks startled, then holds >up two fingers. After a while, the cowherd holds up three fingers. The >village chief announces that the cowherd has won and everyone can stay. >Later, each gives a different interpretation of what the other meant. > >Larry Horn, where you der, charley? >Anyone? Anyone know this? > >thanks > >beth simon >assistant professor, linguistics and english >indiana university purdue university >simon[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > The version I heard involved the Pope and the chief rabbi or Rome. The Pope has been told that he has to get the jews out of Rome, but he insists on a test first. The Pope holds up one finger, and the rabbi responds with two. The Pope then takes a bite from an apple, and the rabbi takes a bite from a bagel. The Pope's interpretation is this: One finger = "There is one God." Two fingers = "And two more just like him." The apple = original sin. The bagel = man's continuing sin. The rabbi's interpretation is this: One finger = "I'll poke your eyes out." Two fingers = "I'll poke both your eyes out." The apple and bagel = "I should starve while he eats?" Bill Smith Piedmont College