[PW] Request help with Russian passage in ABC book by Leo Tolstoy

Ivan Van Laningham ivanlan9 at gmail.com
Sun Jul 22 17:52:29 PDT 2018

My Russian friend promises to get back to me later tonight, but in the
meantime, he says, "all the translations in that mail list are accurate."

More later.


On Sun, Jul 22, 2018 at 5:49 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:

> Perhaps a list member can provide a translation for a short passage
> that appears in a Russian school book titled Azbuka. I'd also like to
> obtain an accurate version of the Cyrillic text (the OCR text is poor
> quality). The passage mentions bald men fighting over a comb. It
> occurs on page 48 of an ABC book created by Leo Tolstoy and published
> in 1874. Here is a link:
> https://archive.org/stream/azbuka00tols#page/48/mode/2up
> Here is some background: I've been asked to trace the figurative
> language employed by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Here is a
> citation for his remark:
> [ref] 1983 February 9, The Miami News, Quote unquote (filler item),
> Quote Page 1, Column 1, Miami, Florida. (Newspapers_com)[/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, 83, on the Falklands War: "The
> Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb."
> [End excerpt]
> The ABC book was revised and republished as Novaya Azbuka. Here is a
> citation and excerpt for an English rendition of the pertinent story
> published in 1899:
> [ref] 1899 Copyright, The Complete Works of Lyof N. Tolstoi: The Long
> Exile, Master and Man, The Kreutzer Sonata, Dramas, Section: From The
> New Speller (Novaya Azbuka), Story 12: The Book, Start Page 159, Quote
> Page 159 and 160, The Kelmscott Society Publishers, New York. (Google
> Books Full View) link [/ref]
> https://books.google.com/books?id=NlVgAAAAMAAJ&q=%22bald+men%22#v=snippet&
> [Begin excerpt]
> Two men together found a book in the street, and began to dispute as
> to the ownership of it.
> A third happened along and asked:--
> "Which of you can read?"
> "Neither of us."
> "Then why do you want the book? Your quarrel reminds me of two bald
> men who fought for possession of a comb, when neither had any hair on
> his head."
> [End excerpt]
> H. L Mencken referred to the tale in his massive 1942 compendium:
> [ref] 1942, A New Dictionary of Quotations on Historical Principles
> from Ancient and Modern Sources, Selected and Edited by H. L. Mencken
> (Henry Louis Mencken), Topic: Futility, Quote Page 441, Alfred A.
> Knopf. New York. (Verified on with hardcopy)[/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> Two baldhead men are fighting over a comb.
> [End excerpt]
> Here is a link to another Russian version of the tale(scroll down):
> https://www.litmir.me/br/?b=213352
> Garson O'Toole
> QuoteInvestigator.com
> _______________________________________________
> Project Wombat - Project-Wombat-Open
> list at project-wombat.org
> http://www.project-wombat.org/

Ivan Van Laningham
God N Locomotive Works
Army Signal Corps:  Cu Chi, Class of '70
Author:  Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours

More information about the Project-Wombat-Open mailing list