Monday, December 07, 2015


Greek Examination

J.M. Synge (1871-1909), The Aran Islands (Dublin: Maunsel & Co., Ltd., 1907), pp. 138-139 (from Part III):
On one voyage he had a fellow-sailor who often boasted that he had been at school and learned Greek, and this incident took place:—

One night we had a quarrel, and I asked him could he read a Greek book with all his talk of it.

'I can so,' said he.

'We'll see that,' said I.

Then I got the Irish book out of my chest, and I gave it into his hand.

'Read that to me,' said I, 'if you know Greek.'

He took it, and he looked at it this way, and that way, and not a bit of him could make it out.

'Bedad, I've forgotten my Greek,' said he.

'You're telling a lie,' said I.

'I'm not,' said he; 'it's the divil a bit I can read it.'

Then I took the book back into my hand, and said to him—

'It's the sorra a word of Greek you ever knew in your life, for there's not a word of Greek in that book, and not a bit of you knew.'

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