Irish Luck


This is one of those moral demonstrations of the "do unto others before they do unto you" stories.  Nothing wrong with that approach except when it plays fast and loose with historical facts and figures.  

I'm not exactly sure what a Scottish farmer and an English Lord have to do with Irish Luck but here it is.

The Legend:

Subject: Irish Luck - Remember to send it back!

I want this back. It DOES work.

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.

There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

"I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life."

"No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.

"Is that your son?" the nobleman asked.

"Yes," the farmer replied proudly.

"I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of." And that he did.

Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name?

Sir Winston Churchill.

Someone once said: What goes around comes around.

Work like you don't need the money.

Love like you've never been hurt.

Dance like nobody's watching.

Sing like nobody's listening.

Live like it's Heaven on Earth.

It's National Friendship Week. Send this to

everyone you consider A FRIEND.

Pass this on, and brighten someone's day.

AN IRISH FRIENDSHIP WISH: You had better send

this back!! Good Luck!

I hope it works...

May there always be work for your hands to do;

May your purse always hold a coin or two;

May the sun always shine on your windowpane;

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;

May the hand of a friend always be near you;

May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

OK, this is what you have to do... Send this to all of your friends.

But - you HAVE to send this within 1 hour from when you open it!

Now.....Make A wish!! I hope you made your wish!

Now then, if you send to:

1 person --- your wish will be granted in 1 year

3 people --- 6 months

5 people --- 3 months

6 people --- 1 month

7 people --- 2 weeks

8 people --- 1 week

9 people --- 5 days

10 people --- 3 days

12 people --- 2 days

15 people --- 1 day

20 people --- 3 hours

If you delete this after you read it, you will have 1 year of bad luck!

But, if you send it to 2 of your friends, you will automatically have 3 years good luck!!!


The Facts:

Its a good story but I'm afraid it is just that, a story.  Complete fiction.  Unfortunately it claims to be true and that's the part I have trouble with. 

Penicillin was indeed discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928. It took awhile for Fleming's discovery to be developed into a viable medicine but one of its first large scale uses was to treat Allied soldiers on D-Day June 6, 1944. 

The Churchill/Fleming story seems to have started in 1950 in a chapter of a Worship Programs for Juniors entitled, "The Power of Kindness".  The book was written by Alice Bays and Elizabeth Oakly.  They were members of an American religious group.  In that version the young Churchill telephones the young Fleming to tell him his parents will sponsor Alex's otherwise unaffordable medical school education. 

Here's the first problem.  Churchill's dad, Lord Randolph Churchill died in 1895 but the story implies he was alive when the phone call was placed.  It is doubtful the the poor Fleming farmhouse "the family hovel" as it was described in the email had a phone prior to 1895. 

Second problem.  Winston Churchill did become ill with serious strain of bacterial pneumonia while in the Near East in 1943.  At that time Penicillin was still in the lab and while it is conceivable that for someone of such stature a quantity could have been provided and flown overseas there is no record of that ever happening.  But medical records do document that he was treated at that time with sulfadiazine, to which he responded.  Alice Bays and Elizabeth Oakly may have based their story on a consultation Churchill had with Fleming on June 27, 1947.  At that time Churchill had a staphylococcal infection that apparently was resistant to penicillin. 

Churchill, like most of us, contracted bacterial infections more than a few times during his life and it is conceivable that penicillin or one of its many derivatives may have saved Churchill's life on more than one occasion.  But there is absolutely no record of young Winston nearly drowning in a Scottish bog and no record of  Lord Churchill or the Churchill family financing Alexander Flemings education.

And what's this Irish Luck business anyway.  In the story, Fleming was Scottish and you couldn't find anyone more English than Churchill.  I suspect the Irish blessing/good luck/curse nonsense was added to the story as it floated through the Internet.  That is what often happens, these types of stories are  altered and appended during their ride through cyberspace.   At the very beginning the author of that part of the email states, "It DOES work.", emphasizing the "does".  Later on even he seems doubtful when he states "Good Luck!  I hope it works..." No emphasis this time. So he goes from shouting a guarantee that it will work to quietly hoping it will work.


Sorry , no sale.  I'm not buying it.


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