“The explanation is worse than the blunder”

Back in the 1950s I collected proverbs, and when in New York I roamed the used-book stores looking for proverb books to add to my collection. I was told in each store that Colonel Ginzburg had been there two weeks before and had bought all the proverb books.

Who was Colonel Ginzburg? I found out who he was when an article in the New York Times said he was connected with the United Nations and he had published a book of worldwide proverbial wisdom. I got his book, and I was pleased to see that all Ginzburg’s proverbs were already in the books I had. There was, however, a Turkish proverb: “The explanation is worse than the blunder.” It was followed by this Turkish delight:

    A king known for his cruelty demanded that his court jester illustrate, within the hour, the meaning of the proverb, or be tortured to death.

    When the king and his queen, some time later, slowly mounted a staircase, the jester stole behind them and gave the king a loving pinch on his behind. The king, with sword drawn, wheeled around and was about to decapitate the fool who yelled:

    “Sorry, Your Majesty, I thought it was the Queen!”

Who Said What,” by Jacob A. Stein, Legal Spectator, The Washington Lawyer, April 2007

Legal Spectator & More, by Jacob Stein
Legal Spectator & More, by Jacob Stein

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Posted in: Caught Our Eye

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