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Sardonic Sardines

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Years back some friends booked a holiday in Sardinia.

The youngest daughter was in a flood of tears. "But I don't like sardines", she wailed.

We laughed then, not knowing that the fish probably is named for the island. So she may have had a point; although sardine consumption has never been compulsory (except at some birthday parties etc. in my youth).

And what about sardonic? Perhaps it's from the same root. Homer used sardanios to mean biting humour; maybe because eating a kind of plant that grew there (what plant though?) was supposed to give you a hideous (and perhaps fatal) grin if you ate it. A rictus.

I can't put my finger on the Homer reference, and these derivations may both be mistaken.

But here is an example of a sardonic sardine, from Spike Milligan. If I get a take down notice, then of course I will comply.

   A baby sardine
   Saw her first submarine:
   She was scared and watched through a peephole.
   "Oh, come, come, come,"
   Said the sardine's mum
   "It's only a tin full of people."



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