Wednesday, 8 October 2003

...And perhaps the Horse will learn to Sing.

An epigram :
One of your most ancient writers, a historian named Herodotus, tells of a thief who was to be executed. As he was taken away he made a bargain with the king: in one year he would teach the king's favorite horse to sing hymns. The other prisoners watched the thief singing to the horse and laughed.
"You will not succeed," they told him. "No one can."
To which the thief replied, "I have a year, and who knows what might happen in that time. The king might die. The horse might die. I might die.
And perhaps the horse will learn to sing.
-- "The Mote in God's Eye", Niven and Pournelle.
[Click on horses to hear them]


Klaatu said...

Actually, this is one of my favourite stories of all time. It is the human condition writ small, concise and poignant. I'd put my favourite Irish joke alongside it (it's not offensive, it's the kind of joke you can tell in a Dublin pub and provoke nothing but gentle nods of agreement) (I know this for a fact)

A man is walking across the Cork and Kerry mountains, he's quite lost. He sees a man leaning against a sty smoking a pipe and strolls up to him. 'I'm trying to get to Tipperary,' he says, 'can you tell me the way?' The man nods agreeably and sucks on his pipe, thinks about it for a while. 'Well,' he says decisively after a couple of minutes, 'the thing is, I wouldn't start from here.'

Who says the Japanese invented Zen?

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