We Wish You a Morbid Christmas

Posted by on Dec 22, 2011 in Children's Literature | 0 comments

Here is a little holiday tidbit for you. It’s not to do with vampires, precisely, but it has ghosts and death in it, so I figure it’ll fit right in.

“Old Marley was as dead as a doornail. Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it.” –Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Well, Charles, I can now tell you why doornails are dead. A nail that is driven entirely through a piece of wood (so that the pointed end sticks out) and then has that pointed end hammered down to hold the nail in place, is called “dead.” In the old days, hinges were always put on door with dead nails, to hold them extra firmly since they got so much use. There you go. Doornails are dead.

Happy holidays to all!

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