You can’t SUCCEED, PROCEED, or even ENTER without it! Yes, the lowly E is NEEDFUL, REQUIRED — the KEYSTONE, EVEN, for most English words.
Fans of cryptograms can tell you that the letter E, and the combo of
are the first things they look for when setting out to solve the puzzle.
That said, did you know “English” started out milleniums ago meaning a fishhook?
The Angles, a West Germanic people who immigrated to the British Isles, hailed from the Angul district of Schleswig, which is just south of modern Denmark. Their homeland, part of the Jutland peninsula, was shaped somewhat like a fishhook so its inhabitants used their word for fishhook to refer to their country. When they sailed across the sea they brought this name along, plus the words angler and angling. They weren’t the only Germanic people who came and decided to stay; the squeezed-out locals tarred them all with the same brush: Anglo-Saxons.
An Ethnic Legend: We have a friend whose parents immigrated to Canada from Denmark. When she was young, her father told her that the original inhabitants of Britain couldn’t talk; their only communication was grunts and squeaks. He claimed the Angles were the ones who taught the British how to talk. I’m not sure where he learned this bit of history, but we took it with a grain of sea salt.
“Another one asked about the gates, sir. Some old lady from Canada this time.”
“Well, what can they know about history and culture? Living in igloos, running about on dogsleds half the year. EH?”
“Piddly little, I suppose. Gets tiresome, though.”
“True, but they’re paying £25 each to see the place. Our bread and butter, if you will. Stiff upper lip, Witherham. Fall is coming.”
“I’ll do my best, sir. But if I hear one more, ‘Why don’t you paint the other one?’ I may go off my nut. Say, could I perhaps trade with Franks? I’ve always wanted a crack at being the manor ghost.”
“Then you’ll hear a steady stream of ‘Who’s under that sheet?’ and ‘I don’t believe in ghosts.’ Tourists are impossible to satisfy! Franks has threatened to throttle the next skeptic. He’s doing the turret tour now; we’re getting a robot for the ghost.”
I’ve discovered another new blogger I’d like to introduce you to this morning. She blogs as Sojerden and has posted a pictorial Guide to several historic English cities. So if a quick tour of Dover interests you this morning, hop on over to her latest post via Air Internet and see the sights with her.
And now for a chuckle at the expense of some confused tourists:
All Hail Neil!
One day some years back a guide was leading a group of American tourists around the British Houses of Parliament and explaining this and that, when he saw the House Speaker crossing the corridor ahead of them, decked in his flowing robes.
The two men were friends so the tour guide called out, “Neil!” and they exchanged a friendly wave. Then the guide turned back to the American tourists — and found them all on their knees.