Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Luckily, I seem to have managed to negotiate another April Fool's day without falling for any of the pranks in the newspapers or being conned by friends or family. 

Indeed I find it a lot of fun to search the papers for their joke stories. Of course you might argue that I may have fallen for some without realising it but if so I am in blissful ignorance.

We have always referred to being teased in this way as 'having your leg pulled'. Furthermore, the common rejoinder if someone did 'pull your leg' was to say 'pull the other one, it's got bells on'.

Obviously the meaning is clear. It says 'I don't believe you and think you are teasing me'. I cannot find a definitive origin for the saying - they often come from old music hall acts or plays - but I have found one rather disturbing suggestion of the source of the phrase.

There are some who say that it is about people being hanged. Hanging could be drawn out and unpleasant - so the condemned man would often pay for the hangman or somebody else to pull down on their legs to ensure a quick death.

It is further thought that sometimes children would pull the legs of a hanging man in the hope of coins falling out of his pockets. Thus to tell a person to 'pull the other one' is to tell them to have another go - they might be luckier with the other leg. If a pocket has coins in it will jingle, as a bell would.

Personally I think this suggestion is stretching it to say nothing of stretching the poor hanging man.

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