Friday, November 17, 2006

What's in a name?

Three stories about surnames, all of which are true.

In Tsarist Russia, the Duma had no real power, but one of its tasks was to adjudicate on requests for changes of surname. They would listen to the petitioner, decide if a name change was justified, and, if so, would allocate a new name. One such petitioner, who was burdened with the surname which translates as "HardFart", pleaded his case so eloquently before the Duma that they decided in his favour and changed his name to SoftFart.

In Germany in the early years of the last century, numerous immigrants, many of them Jewish, applied for change of surname to something that sounded German. The fee for this was 500 marks. Shlomo Aniskovitch took himself to the appropriate department, where they gave him a new name. When he arrived home, his wife couldn't wait to find out what it was. "We are now Mr and Mrs Schleissloch", he said quietly. "Schleissloch??" screamed his wife. "You paid 500 marks for Schleissloch????" "No," he replied, "I paid 1500 marks. The extra 1000 was to get the first L .."

A young brave went to the tepee of the tribal elder whose task it was to name newborn children. "How do you decide on these names, oh Wise One?" asked the young brave. The elder explained how he always depended on inspiration from the world around him. "For example, if I see clouds scurrying across the sky, I might give the child the name Running Cloud." He paused and then added: "Anyway, TwoDogsScrewing, why did you want to know?"

Well, if the stories aren't true, they ought to be.

2 comments:

Thailand Gal said...

LOL! Oh, that was a funny, delightful story. I'll be back to read more. :)

Peace,

-Chani

EBRU said...

Perfect stories.:)))