This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Thing To Do Today: have pity.

There's more than one place in England called Pity Me, but the one I know is in County Durham. It was there that I was told about the bus driver, who, encountering a priest who asked for Pity Me, Single, replied Pity me, Father: married!

Well, it amused me at the time.

Where the name of the place Pity Me originates, whether from French or Latin or English, is discussed HERE, but the story I like best is that the monks taking St Cuthbert to his final resting place in Durham Cathedral dropped his coffin, upon which an irritated voice from the coffin ordered the monks to pity me.

Pity seems to have gone out of fashion lately in favour of empathy. I think this is, well, a pity. I know the saying no one wants to be pitied, but, as Charlie Brown says, there are times when I'll take all the pity I can get.

The great advantage of pity, however, is that it encourages us to take pity on others. 

Of course empathy (and its rather old-fashioned sister sympathy) encourage us to do something, too, but it's mostly to admire our own sensitive navels.

So go on: put a penny in the box.

Well, it's a start, isn't it.

Thing To Do Today: have pity. This word comes from the Old French pité, from the Latin pietās, duty.

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