Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bow and Arrow

As a youthful hunter I took up the bow. And came close to setting the worlds record for missing close up shots of deer. After a few unsuccessful years, I gave it up and stuck with my hunting dogs, upland game , geese and duck hunting.  What goes around comes around they say. And so it has come to pass that as a historian and former bow hunter I return  to the bow and arrow.
At Agincourt, English Archers wiped out the cream of French knighthood with their longbow arrows. At the Pope and Young museum in Chatfield, Minnesota, I saw the history of American archery displayed very vividly. And in Email hoaxes I’ve  noted that a picture of a huge  dead mountain lion had been claimed to prove that the animal had been killed by a bow hunter in at least fifteen states. The message being on the unreliability of such so called  email “proofs.”   It is with some trepidation that I now share with you an email message on the subject of the battle of Agincourt and it impact on us over 600 years later!

"I never knew this before, and now that I know it, I feel compelled to send it on to my more intelligent friends in the hope that they, too, will feel edified. Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as 'plucking the yew' (or 'pluck yew'). Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, See, we can still pluck yew! Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentals fricative F', and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute! It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as 'giving the bird’.

Of course, another version of this story is that Winston Churchill, a world renowned historian, knew well that it took two fingers to draw the English longbow. Thus he used a more accurate symbol. The one that came to stand for victory….

19 comments:

  1. thank you for this bit of history, even if it elicited a chuckle or two from me. :)

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  2. Haha! Wonderful story. I almost believe it. Thanks for the laugh.

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  3. Hahahaha! You sure had me smiling at this one. You sure made my day. :-)

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  4. Why, TB... you made me giggle. Had no idea this is where that was headed!

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  5. I can't believe how much I have learned from the social studies teacher! I loved this one but suspect your class never got to hear it.

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  6. Hihi , enjoyed your story, best regard from Belgium

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  7. Hi There, I truly had forgotten where the 'giving the bird' sign came from... I did remember the Churchill 'victory' sign... Thanks for the history lesson. Quite interesting this morning!

    Happy Advent to you.
    Betsy

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  8. Thanks for the smiles I had while reading the email history you shared. Who knew history could be so enlightening and entertaining? Actually, I think I like the Churchill version better.

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  9. The things I learn here. LOL, couldn't help myself enjoying my history lesson of the day. I love the victory sign of Churchill and now understand where it arouse from.

    I just love your Baron. What a fine looking Shepard. I had one named Lobo. He was loyal to his end when he went blind but still knew who was who.

    BlessYourHearts

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  10. What a very interesting story! Thank you for sharing it.

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  11. I used Agincourt teaching history at Cal as an example of the effect of new military techniques and strategies upon old technology, along with the machine gun in WW1.
    Nice posting.

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  12. Funny story from history! How about one from her-story? The fellow who is hen-pecked is clearly out of (c)luck. The fellow with a short bow is plainly out of (p)luck.

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  13. Thank you for sharing this piece of history. :)

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  14. Oh MY! I haven't seen this in years! And it is so good - and, well, believable, almost!
    Thanks for the chuckle this morning.
    BTW, your swans are here.

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  15. I'm thinking you had your tongue firmly planted in your cheek but it makes a dandy story!

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  16. I will have to share this one with my long-time archer husband, who is also an avid reader of battle history. :)

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  17. Thanks, I love stuff like this. By the way, the use of the yew tree for bows goes way back to the Celts. Jack Whyte goes on about it In his historical series on the Arthurian legends. The slow growing yew was declared sacred as a way to protect it.

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