Here something Dragons

Y'know how the ancient maps had the "Here Be Dragons" bit waaaay off in the far reaches of empty ocean? They did that for two related reasons.

First, it was a result of dragons' inherent shyness.

Second, the word really wasn't "be". Rather, it became that through the courses of time. The 'b' in "be" isn't really a 'b' but is a composite of several letters, kinda like the 'y' as used in "ye" is really an Old English "thorn" and has a "th" sound. The 'B' is an Old English "westha" and the composite represents a "we" sound. (German has this composite with its scripty 'B', but that has a "ss" sound.) So that middle word in modern English is really "wee".

The real phrase was actually "Here Wee Dragons". This phrase was always put off in the empty ocean because dragons had avoidant paruresis, also known as bashful bladder syndrome. For these reasons, dragons always flew way off into the oceans to pee.

(Originally posted to the Tamson House mailing list.)

Text copyright 2004 by Wayne Morrison, all rights reserved.

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