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Serendipper
Posts: 201
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:05 am

Hello

Post by Serendipper » Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:20 am

Hey y'all! I'm Serendipper :) Derived from serendipity, it means that I tend to stumble into ideas and I prefer not to take credit for it's not of my own effort, but serendipitous luck. And I thought it sounded silly :D

Etymology

The name Ceylon has a complicated history going back to antiquity. Deriving from the Old-Tamil word Cerentivu which means literally "Island of Cheras", a Tamil term for nagas meaning "hill", the island was known by the Romans as Serendivis and by Arabs as Serandib and the Persians as Serendip; the word serendipity is derived from this word.

The Three Princes of Serendip

The story has become known in the English-speaking world as the source of the word serendipity, coined by Horace Walpole because of his recollection of the part of the "silly fairy tale" in which the three princes by "accidents and sagacity" discern the nature of a lost camel. In a separate line of descent, the story was used by Voltaire in his 1747 Zadig, and through this contributed to both the evolution of detective fiction and the self-understanding of scientific method.

No sooner do the three princes arrive abroad than they trace clues to identify precisely a camel they have never seen. They conclude that the camel is lame, blind in one eye, missing a tooth, carrying a pregnant woman, and bearing honey on one side and butter on the other. When they later encounter the merchant who has lost the camel, they report their observations to him. He accuses them of stealing the camel and takes them to the Emperor Beramo, where he demands punishment.

Beramo asks how they are able to give such an accurate description of the camel if they have never seen it. It is clear from the princes' replies that they have used small clues to infer cleverly the nature of the camel.

Grass had been eaten from the side of the road where it was less green, so the princes had inferred that the camel was blind on the other side. Because there were lumps of chewed grass on the road that were the size of a camel’s tooth, they inferred they had fallen through the gap left by a missing tooth. The tracks showed the prints of only three feet, the fourth being dragged, indicating that the animal was lame. That butter was carried on one side of the camel and honey on the other was evident because ants had been attracted to melted butter on one side of the road and flies to spilled honey on the other.

As for the woman, one of the princes said: "I guessed that the camel must have carried a woman, because I had noticed that near the tracks where the animal had knelt down the imprint of a foot was visible. Because some urine was nearby, I wet my fingers and as a reaction to its odour I felt a sort of carnal concupiscence, which convinced me that the imprint was of a woman’s foot."

"I guessed that the same woman must have been pregnant," said another prince, "because I had noticed nearby handprints which were indicative that the woman, being pregnant, had helped herself up with her hands while urinating."

At this moment, a traveler enters the scene to say that he has just found a missing camel wandering in the desert. Beramo spares the lives of the three princes, lavishes rich rewards on them, and appoints them to be his advisers.

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