Monday, October 14, 2019

Reader's Diary #2092- Unknown British author: The Three Sillies

My mother used to reference the old British folk tale "The Three Sillies" quite often when I was a child but as an adult I haven't found too many others familiar with the story.

It tells of a man who is courting a daughter and one day while visiting her family discovers them crying over the future fate of a grandchild who may be injured by a mallet that is lodged in the ceiling and which, they assume, could someday fall on his head. (The version I was always told had an axe, not a mallet.) Of course the obvious and sensible solution rather than crying about it would be to simply remove the mallet. The courting man mocks them and sets upon a challenge of his own devising to travel far and find three folks who are sillier. Should he be successful he wishes to marry the daughter. (Why he'd want to marry into such a silly family anyway, I'm not sure-- doesn't sound like he's the sharpest tool in the shed either.)

Of course he is successful, managing to find a series of humorously silly (i.e., dumb) individuals. You can see why kids would enjoy the story of idiocy and slapstick, though being an old folktale it has its share of violence (even in this version which tried to sanitize the axe into a mallet). And I guess there's a moral about simply fixing a problem with the most obvious and easy solution, but I just remember it from my childhood for being funny, not because of any profound lesson.

No comments: