One for the Grammar-tarians out there.

As a writer, I am amused by word play. I got my nickname for a good reason. I love wordplay/jokes. I am a horrid punster. My friends used to assign categories of pun to decide who would smack me after a complete stinker of a pun. It was kinda hilarious.

“Wait, was that an animal pun or a food pun? If it’s animal, Paul has to smack him, but if it’s food, it’s Chris’s job!”

But I do love the interplay of words. Like this true story, from the mid to late 1870’s. It involved the city of┬áPazardzhik in what is now Bulgaria (incidentally, if you can say that city’s name five times fast, I’ll give you a tissue and say Gesundheit).

Well, it seems that there had been a failed revolt against the Ottoman Empire (who owned the area), and they were deciding what should happen to the areas that tried to rebel. The order was passed down. To keep other cities from revolting they would burn the city down, and force the inhabitants to flee to other cities or starve.

So, the order was passed down to be sent to the forces in the field:

“Burn the Town, Not Spare it”

Well, a nameless clerk saw this, and decided that this could not stand. Of course, if he altered the order, it’d be his own neck on the line, so he didn’t change one single letter, but still saved the town.


The message became:

“Burn the Town Not, Spare It”

This actually gave the town a second chance.

Unfortunately, two years later, in what would become the Bulgarian War of Liberation, as the retreating Ottoman Empire army left the area, they ended up burning the city down anyway.

But then, you know what they say…

Easy Comma, Easy go.

(I really hope my old friends don’t read this, they’ll have to figure out who smacks me for that one!)