In order to head-off any more Mobty Python emails, let me just post these two:
Jonah, I saw you rrecent post in the Corner regarding determining if a woman is a witch. As a resident of Salem MA and someone who has viewed Monty Python & The Holy Grail approximately 178,091,645 times, I can with utmost certainty assure you that Hammurabi’s code has absolutely nothing to do with determing if a woman is a witch.
In order to properly determine this, you must realize that witches burn. What else burns? Wood does. And since wood floats, and ducks also float, if a woman weighs the same as a duck, she is in fact a witch. At that point you may burn her without fear of recriminations.
I’m glad to be of help, and if in the future, please let me know if you need help satisfying the demands of any Knights who say “Ni!” The answer involves shrubbery.
An even better skit involving witches and the matter of them floating comes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. I’ve attached the relevant scene altough I’m sure it is too lengthy for the corner.
Danny [last name withheld]
CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch! We’ve got a witch! A witch!
VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch, might we burn her?
CROWD: Burn her! Burn!
BEDEMIR: How do you know she is a witch?
VILLAGER #2: She looks like one.
BEDEMIR: Bring her forward.
WITCH: I’m not a witch. I’m not a witch.
BEDEMIR: But you are dressed as one.
WITCH: They dressed me up like this.
CROWD: No, we didn’t – no.
WITCH: And this isn’t my nose, it’s a false one.
VILLAGER #1: Well, we did do the nose.
BEDEMIR: The nose?
VILLAGER #1: And the hat – but she is a witch!
CROWD: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!
BEDEMIR: Did you dress her up like this?
CROWD: No, no… no … yes. Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
VILLAGER #1: She has got a wart.
BEDEMIR: What makes you think she is a witch?
VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
BEDEMIR: A newt?
VILLAGER #3: I got better.
VILLAGER #2: Burn her anyway!
CROWD: Burn! Burn her!
BEDEMIR: Quiet, quiet. Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
CROWD: Are there? What are they?
BEDEMIR: Tell me, what do you do with witches?
VILLAGER #2: Burn!
CROWD: Burn, burn them up!
BEDEMIR: And what do you burn apart from witches?
VILLAGER #1: More witches!
VILLAGER #2: Wood!
BEDEMIR: So, why do witches burn? [pause]
VILLAGER #3: B -… ’cause they’re made of wood…?
CROWD: Oh yeah, yeah…
BEDEMIR: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.
BEDEMIR: Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?
VILLAGER #2: Oh, yeah, yeah… right.
BEDEMIR: Does wood sink in water?
VILLAGER #1: No, no.
VILLAGER #2: It floats! It floats!
VILLAGER #1: Throw her into the pond!
CROWD: The pond!
BEDEMIR: What also floats in water?
VILLAGER #1: Bread!
VILLAGER #2: Apples!
VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks! (A fine example of scientific knowledge)
VILLAGER #1: Cider!
VILLAGER #2: Great gravy!
VILLAGER #1: Cherries!
VILLAGER #2: Mud!
VILLAGER #3: Churches – churches!
VILLAGER #2: Lead – lead!
ARTHUR: (Dramatically) A duck.
BEDEMIR: Exactly! So, logically…,
VILLAGER #1: If… she.. weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood.
BEDEMIR: And therefore – ?
VILLAGER #1: A witch!
CROWD: A witch!
BEDEMIR: We shall use my larger scales! [yelling]
BEDEMIR: Right, remove the supports! [whop] [creak]
CROWD: A witch! A witch!
WITCH: It’s a fair cop.