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The Myth of the Thieving Swedes

At the beginning of time, there was herring and crisp bread enough for all, and people shared the bounty.

Then one day Lars and Ingmar were walking in the fields of paradise, and Lars said, “It is wrong that all people should enjoy herring when some are tall and blonde and brooding, and others are joyful brunettes who do not go to saunas. Let us, who are possessed of an existential cinema, gather the herring to ourselves, that we may eat it after our massages.”

And so Lars and Ingmar went to all the peoples of the world, and they said to them, “Dark and short people: lend us your herring, and in a few days we will return it to you with a mustard sauce, or perhaps pickled in sweet wine.” And the people thought this was a good idea, so they brought the herring to Lars and Ingmar, and they waited.

But they waited and waited! For Lars and Ingmar did not return, but rather sat upon their low-cost, home-assembled furniture, and laughed. And to this day one says “like a thieving Swede,” whenever someone uses herring which is not properly his own.

One Response to “The Myth of the Thieving Swedes”

  1. Ed Says:

    I have heard tell of a similar fable, this one involving Russians (or was it Republicans?), explaining the use of the phrase, “red herring.”

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