A friend brought me a copy of Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character by E. B. Ramsay.  I was reading through it tonight, and wanted to convey one of its stories. A young man was translating the Iliad and his teacher rebuked him for using the word catastrophe. That word is Greek after all, and the task was to translate. The boy proved unable to give a good translation in rhyme.

His teacher said this reminded him of his all master. The old man had been prone to using big words that the parishioners might not know. One of them was ‘catastrophe.‘ So when he heard himself say it, he explained that catastrophe meant the end of a thing.

The next day, some boys pranked the old man by attaching a piece of bush to his horse’s tail. The horse was a good one and didn’t spook, and thus the man never knew of it until he got into town. Then he was made aware by a woman from his congregation who came up to him and said, “Pardon me sir, but there’s a bush tied to your horse’s catastrophe.”

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