Anecdotes and very short stories with quotes told and narrated by famous writers and characters by English-culture.com and Carl William Brown
Life is too short for a long story.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
One good anecdote is worth a volume of biography.
William Ellery Channing
Anecdotes and maxims are rich treasures to the man of the world, for he knows how to introduce the former at fit place in conversation.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Anecdotes serve as materials for the history of manners. Hence the history of manners has become the prime object of the researches of philosophers. How is this prominent feature in history to be depicted? The artist must not here draw at fancy, a beautiful or fantastical line. He must regard his object with mi|nute attention, and he must reflect long on a thousand little strokes, which are to give the faithful resemblance.
Like many rich men, he thought in anecdotes; like many simple women, she thought in terms of biography.
A collections of anecdotes and maxims is the greatest of treasures for the man of the world, for he knows how to intersperse conversation with the former in fit places, and to recollect the latter on proper occasions.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
When a man fell into his anecdotage it was a sign for him to retire from the world.
Believe The Impossible
Every great achievement was once impossible until someone set a goal to make it a reality.
Lewis Carroll’s famous masterpiece Through the Looking Glass contains a story that exemplifies the need to dream the impossible dream. There is a conversation between Alice and the queen, which goes like this: “I can’t believe that!” said Alice. “Can’t you?” the queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
When you dare to dream, many marvels can be accomplished. The trouble is, most people never start dreaming their impossible dream.
The boiling frog
The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually. According to contemporary biologists the premise of the story is not literally true; a frog submerged and gradually heated will jump out. However, some 19th-century experiments suggested that the underlying premise is true, provided the heating is sufficiently gradual. The boiling frog story is generally told in a metaphorical context, with the upshot being that people should make themselves aware of gradual change lest they suffer eventual undesirable consequences. This may be in support of a slippery slope argument. It is also used in business to illustrate the idea that change needs to be gradual to be accepted. The expression “boiling frog syndrome” is sometimes used as shorthand for the metaphor.
The Whole World Came Together
The young mother was ready for a few minutes of relaxation after a long and demanding day. However, her young daughter had other plans for her mother’s time.
“Read me a story, Mom,” the little girl requested. “Give Mommy a few minutes to relax and unwind. Then I’ll be happy to read you a story,” pleaded the mother.
The little girl was insistent that Mommy read to her now. With a stroke of genius, the mother tore off the back page of the magazine she was reading. It contained a full-page picture of the world. As she tore it into several pieces, Mom asked her daughter to put the picture together and then she would read her a story. Surely this would buy her considerable relaxing moments.
A short time later, the little girl announced the completion of her puzzle project. To her astonishment, she found the world picture completely assembled. When she asked her daughter how she managed to do it so quickly, the little girl explained that on the reverse side of the page was the picture of a little girl. “You see, Mommy, when I got the little girl together, the whole world came together.”
Each of us has the responsibility to put our world together. It starts by getting ourselves put together. We can become better parents, friends, spouses, employees, and employers. The first step is changing our attitude.
Beautiful credit! The foundation of modern society. Who shall say that this is not the golden age of mutual trust, of unlimited reliance upon human promises? That is a peculiar condition of society which enables a whole nation to instantly recognize point and meaning in the familiar newspaper anecdote, which puts into the mouth of a distinguished speculator in lands and mines this remark: — ”I wasn’t worth a cent two years ago, and now I owe two millions of dollars.”
Twenty or thirty years ago, in the army, we had a lot of obscure adventures, and years later we tell them at parties, and suddenly we realize that those two very difficult years of our lives have become lumped together into a few episodes that have lodged in our memory in a standardized form, and are always told in a standardized way, in the same words. But in fact that lump of memories has nothing whatsoever to do with our experience of those two years in the army and what it has made of us.
Picasso was one day in a market, and a woman saw him and said “Mr. Picasso, it’s great to see you, I’m a huge fan. He says “Nice to meet you”. She says “My Picasso she pulled out a piece of paper and a pencil” She said “Mr. Picasso, can you do a little piece of art for me? Can you do a little drawing?”.
He said “Absolutely!” He did a beautiful drawing. And she looked at it and said “Oh! Mr. Picasso, Fantastic!”. She starts walking away, he goes “Ah my dear lady, that’ll be a million dollars”. She says “Mr. Picasso, a million dollars, it took you 30 seconds to do that.” He said, “My dear lady, it took me 30 years [pause] to do that in 30 seconds”.
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, PC, FRS (13 November 1718 – 30 April 1792) was a British statesman who succeeded his grandfather Edward Montagu, 3rd Earl of Sandwich as the Earl of Sandwich in 1729, at the age of ten. During his life, he held various military and political offices, including Postmaster General, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Secretary of State for the Northern Department. He is also known for the claim that he was the eponymous inventor of the sandwich. Legend has it that it was Montagu’s addiction to gambling that led to his invention of the sandwitch: one day in 1762 he had been playing cards for almost twenty-four hours straight, and since he had no time to eat properly on a table set with cutlery and all, he asked to be given some slices of cold meat between two slices of toast, and so the famous food name was born. What’s more, Montagu’s promotion of British sea exploration caused the English Captain James Cook to name the Sandwitch Islands in Hawaii after him.
Carl William Brown
Many people feel empty, a world that seemed so strong just collapsed. Forty years have been wasted on stupid strife for the sake of an unsuccessful experiment. The values gathered together have vanished, the strategies for survival have become ridiculous. And so forty years of our lives have become a story, a bad anecdote. But it may be possible to remember these adventures with a kind of irony.
Molé, a favourite actor, falls ill, and is confined to his chamber; when this is announced from the stage, the gaiety of Paris suddenly lours with gloom. The next day his door is besieged by enquiring crouds; his health is the conversation of all companies. It appeared as if Scipio lay confined, and the virtuous Romans passed their hours in melancholy anxiety, for the life of their protector. The physicians find Molé in an exhausted state, and prescribe a free use of wine. This prescription is soon known in the circles at Paris; and Molé finds two thousand bottles of the finest Burgundy sent to his house from various quarters. Molé at length recovers; all Paris rejoices, and rushes to his benefit. Such was the public ardour, that it produced him the amazing sum of 24,000 livres. Molé gratefully receives the valuable tribute of their applause; he was in debt, and the benefit formed all his fortune. How then does Molé apply his 24,000 livres? An Englishman would have purchased an annuity, or perhaps have paid his debts. Molé runs to the jeweller, takes its amount in brilliants, and gives them to his mistress, who boasts that she wears all the honours of the public.
Overheard this on a London bus: First Woman: “I don’t know what to get Fred for his birthday.”
Second Woman: “Why don’t you get him a book?”
First Woman: (after a moment’s thought) “Nah, he’s already got a book.”
At the fish hatchery where I work, we have a small display that describes the now-extinct Michigan Grayling (a kind of fish). This summer, I had the following conversation with a tourist:
Tourist: “Is the Grayling still extinct?”
Me: “Yes sir, it doesn’t exist anymore.”
Tourist: “Any thoughts of bringing it back?”
Me: “No, I don’t think that’s possible.”
Tourist: “Why not?”
Me: “Because it’s extinct.”
Frustrated, he left.
I was checking out at the local Foodland with just a few items, and the lady behind me put her things on the belt close to mine. I picked up one of those dividers that they keep by the cash register and placed it between our things so they wouldn’t get mixed. After the girl had scanned all of my items, she picked up the divider and looked all over it for the bar code so she could scan it. Not finding the bar code she said to me, “Do you know how much this is?”
I said, “I’ve changed my mind; I don’t think I’ll buy that today.”
She said, “OK,” and I paid her for the things and left. She had no clue about what had just happened.
On this topic you can also read this famous book by Isaac D’Israeli: