Grandad’s Useful Hints

Grandad David

For those who have followed my blog for a while you will have read my Grandad’s testimony in Testimony Tuesday – Grandad’s story.

I mentioned to some fellow bloggers recently that Grandad had left us his “Little Book” of Useful Hints which he wrote in from 8 November 1906 until 22 April 1908. I was encouraged by them to share some of his writings and so occasionally I will post some of Grandad’s musings.

This is the first page of his book inscribed with the date at the top, his name and address in Cadiz Street, Leith, Edinburgh. Cadiz Street is still there although I’m sure the tenement building has been refurbished and perhaps replaced. There is a hand drawing of a pair of crossed swords and a plant pot on a stand. I’m not quite sure what the plant drawing has to do with Useful Hints. It may have a deeper meaning or he most probably just liked plants.

His book of jottings has poems, popular songs of the time, facts, proverbs, fables, drawings and as he says “Useful Hints”. Whether they are still useful hints for us today remains to be seen. I hope they will be interesting as they were written over 100 years ago in a different time and culture. Some pearls of wisdom, encouragement and inspiration may perhaps still therein be found waiting to be discovered.

This one particular entry taken from an Aesop’s fable says;

He who puts on a show of learning, of religion of a superior capacity in any respect, or, in short of any virtue or knowledge to which he has no proper claim, is and will always be found to be “an ass in a lion’s skin”.

This wasn’t one of the fables that I was familiar with. The story is that a donkey puts on a lion’s skin which has been left out to dry and scares the other animals who run away in fear. In his pride and joy he “brays” and the fox then realises who it really is and says:

If you had kept your mouth shut you might have frightened me, too. But you gave yourself away with that silly bray

The moral of the story is that a fool may deceive by his dress and appearance, but his words will soon show what he really is.

The Ass in a Lion’s skin