Four More Shrewdness Anecdotes (Post No.3092)


Compiled by London Swaminathan


Date: 25  August 2016


Time uploaded in London: 17-07


Post No.3092


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks for the pictures.



1.Autograph Sale!

Cornelian Otis Skinner (American author and actress) declares that as a child she was so ugly that her mother used to weep.  “But I did have a genius for something even then”, she says.

I was good at trade and I made money from dad. He thought I was a good correspondent; I was; for every letter I wrote him, I received an answer. I cut the Cornelia from the address on the envelope containing his reply, and sold the Otis Skinner as my father’s autograph. Sometimes it brought a dime, sometimes a quarter”.



2.Otto Kahn

Otto Kahn, the well-known financie , was one day driving through the East Side of New York when he saw a large sign reading,

“Samuel Kahn, cousin of Ottoman Kahn”

He immediately called up his lawyer, instructing him to have the sign changed, sparing no expense.  A few days later Kahn drove by the place again. The offending sign had been changed. It read, Samuel Kahn, formerly cousin of Otto Kahn.



(3)Thousand Dollars a Week!

When the films were in their infancy, David Freedman claimed to have arranged a splendid contract for Francis X Bushman by a well-conceived stratagem. Bushman had been playing in Chicago at 250 dollars a week. Freedman brought him to New York and met him at grand central to take him across the Broadway to the office of Metro. Freedman carried a sack of 2000 pennies. He stewed these along behind him in a thin trickle as they walked.


First children and then curious adults began to follow. By the time they had crossed 42nd street to Broadway and entered the office of Metro, a vast throng was surging in their wake. Looking out the window, the executive of Metro was easily induced to sign Bushman at a thousand dollars a week.



4.Boy and the Blacksmith

A boy, generally known about the village as being not too bright was annoying the busy blacksmith. Hoping to scare him away, the blacksmith finally held a red hot piece of iron under the boys nose.

“If you give me half a dollar I will lick it” , said the simple looking youngster.

The smith held out the coin. Without a word the boy took the coin and licked it, dropped it in his pocket, and whistling softly walked away.


— Subham–

Anti-Barber, Goldsmith, Potter, Blacksmith, Carpenter Proverbs (Post No.3063)

blacksmith, tribe

Picture of blacksmiths

Compiled by london swaminathan

Date: 15th    August 2016

Post No. 3063

Time uploaded in London :–  6-24 AM

( Thanks for the Pictures)




(for old articles go to OR



Part-3 of the Caste Proverbs. Please see the first two parts for the Anti Brahmin, Anti agricultural caste and Anti Bania proverbs

In the olden days, village barbers were marriage brokers, surgeons, Chiropodists and quacks. So proverb makers found abundant material for vituperative sarcasm.

mumbai barber

Anti-Barber Proverbs


1.Among men most deceitful is the barber, among birds the crow, among the things of water the tortoise.

2.Barbers, doctors, pleaders, prostitutes – all must have cash down.


3.A barber learns by shaving fools, for which reason you stick to your barber but change your washer man, since a new Dhobi washes clean.

4.You may hammer a barber on the head with a shoe, but you will not make him hold his tongue.


5.A barber found a purse, and all the world knew it.

6.Of the inquisitive barber the wise say, “Throw a dog a morsel to stop his mouth” (It is like saying “Choke of a reporter with a scrap of stale news)

7.A barber out of work bleeds the wall or shaves a cat to keep his hand in.

(In Tamil also there is a proverb: Jobless barber caught a cat to shave it)

8.A barber’s penny, all profit and no risk

9.A burglary at a barber’s: stolen, three pots of combings!

10.If you go back four generations, you will find that your uncle was a barber (the meaning is barbers are unduly intimate with the inmates of zenana)


Anti-Goldsmith Proverbs

1.Trust not the goldsmith; he is no man’s friend, and his word is worthless.

2.If you have never seen a tiger, look at a cat; if you have never seen a thief, look at a Sonar (Swarnakar=Goldsmith)

3.The goldsmith, the tailor and the weaver are too sharp for the angel of death; God alone knows where to have them.

4.A Sonar (Swarnakar=Goldsmith) will rob his mother and sister; he will filch gold even from his wife’s nose ring.


5.If he cannot steal, his belly will burst with longing.

6.He will ruin your ornament by substituting base metal for the gold you gave him, and will clamour for wages into the bargain.

7.A pair of rogues: the goldsmith and the man who sifts his ashes for scraps.


Anti-Potter Proverbs

1.A potter is always thinking of his pots and, if he falls out with his wife he finds a solace in pulling his donkey’s ears.

2.When the clay is on the wheel the potter may shape it as he will, though the clay re-joins “Now you trample on me, one day I shall trample on you”.


3.Turned on the wheel you know better for it; praise not the pot till it is fired

4.If you are civil to a potter he will neither respect you nor will he sell his pots.

5.The potter can sleep sound; no one will steal his clay.

6.In a deserted village even a potter is a scribe.

A potter’s wife is a meddlesome fool, she will burn herself on the carcass of the Dhobi’s donkey ( Dhobi ke gadhe par Kumhaarin Satii huuii)


Anti-Blacksmith Proverbs

1.A blacksmith’s single stroke is worth a goldsmith’s hundred

2.A Lohar (Loha kara= Blacksmith)is a bad friend; he will either burn you with fire or stifle you with smoke

3.His shop is always in an untidy mess; it is the place where the donkeys roll

4.Sparks are the lot of the blacksmith’s legs.

5.Such is his good nature that a monkey begged of him a pair of anklets.

6.Never buy his pet Myna (maina), even if you can get it for a farthing, for the bird will drive you mad by mimicking the noise of a hammer

7.To sell a needle in the Lohar’s quarter (Taking coals to New Castle)

8.Before the smith can make a screw he must learn to make a nail.


Picture of Carpenters

Anti-Carpenter Proverbs

1.The carpenter thinks nothing but wood.

2.His wife walks and talks in time to the noise of the plane.

3.When carpenter is out of work he keeps his hand in by planing his friend’s buttocks.

4.The carpenter’s face is cited as a type of unpunctuality, since it is never to be seen at the time when he promised to come.

5.A whore’s oath and a Sutar’s chip are worthless

6.A fool of a Barhai’s has neither chisel nor adze and wants to be the village carpenter.

To be continued………………….

In the next session I will give Anti-Oil monger, Anti Tailor, Anti washer man; Fisherman, Weaver, Shoemaker Proverbs.

Source:The People of India, Sir Herbert Risley, Year 1915.