Arthurian ephemera

December 18, 2008

Once upon a time, though it wasn’t in my time, and it wasn’t in your time, and it wasn’t in anybody’s time, the good and brave knight Sir Percival sallied forth on his trusted steed.  Advancing slowly through a wood in the quiet of the afternoon, he came in sight of an old furrier speedily making his way through the underbrush.

He said to the furrier, “Good man, pray where are you going?”  Said the furrier, “Good sir knight, I am in great haste.  My youngest daughter is gravely ill, and only a medicine made from the blood of a bogey may save her.”  And he held up the body of a bogey which he had caught.  “And how far have you to travel?” asked Sir Percival.  “It is many leagues yet,” said the furrier, “and I am in great fear that I shall arrive too late.”

Then Sir Percival said to him, “Last night God sent me a dream.  In my dream I saw a man who carried in his hand a bogey.  He placed a silver coin in the bogey’s mouth, then threw both coin and bogey into a pond.  Suddenly he transformed into a great bird of prey for the space of one hour.”

Then asked Sir Percival of the furrier, “Have you a silver coin?”  He had none.  Then Percival, giving him a silver coin and pointing to a nearby pond, said, “Take this coin and place it in the bogey’s mouth.  Then throw both coin and bogey into that pond.  If you do this, you shall transform into a great bird of prey for the space of one hour.  Then you shall fly home quickly.”  So the man advanced toward the pond and, putting the coin into the mouth of the bogey, threw both into the pond.  And he suddenly transformed into a great bird of prey.  The bird grasped the bogey with its talons and flew rapidly away, and the furrier’s daughter was saved.

And this tale is known as The Tale of Percival’s Theo-REM and the Furrier Transform.

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3 Responses to “Arthurian ephemera”


  1. I only get half of it. I guess that makes me a semi-geek.

    I love this kind of joke, though. I used to know a guy who had dozens of them, of which I can remember only one or two.

  2. The Provincial Says:

    That was just plain WRONG.

    My only geeky math joke is much shorter: Did you hear the one about the humble mathemetician? He writes deferential equations.

    (And then there’s the one about the non-conformist panhandler: he begs to differ.)

  3. cburrell Says:

    I apologize for cooking up such a terrible pun. I must admit that I had a good time doing it.

    I’ve not heard that joke about the deferential equations, person-whom-I-shall-call-The Provincial, but I like it. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    One of my favourite math jokes concerns an old Polish gentlemen forced to assume control of a jetliner when the pilot has a heart attack. After struggling to comprehend all of the cockpit controls, he exclaims, “But I’m just a simple Pole in a complex plane!” 8-)

    There are others, too. The best mathematics jokes turn on the way that mathematicians think, rather than just on puns.


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