Saturday, August 19, 2006

Good night, sleep tight

So the wife and I visited historic Milton, WI the other day. There's an inn there that is the only documented Underground Railroad site in Wisconsin. As our adolescent tour guide was leading us through the inn, she attempted to demonstrate the sleeping conditions in the mid-ninteenth century: "As you see, the base is ropes; the bottom mattress is straw; then a feather mattress. That's the origin of the saying 'Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.'"

Huh? you say--isn't there a part missing in that origin story? Like the part where the bed bugs are introduced? My thoughts exactly. There is clearly a gap in the guide's script. So I put the question to you, askers of Chaka: what is the background of the saying? Did it originate in the U.S. or England? What's the earliest recorded use? Get to work!

6 comments:

Linus said...

ummm.... ok, clearly you've misread the title of this blog.

yoU want the one next door, i think they might be able to help yoU over there.

Pirate Jimmy said...

The background started with the great man-eating insect invasion that occured late in the 13th century. The only information we currently have on this invasion was recorded in 1309 by a noble family in Olsov, a town which was settled during the invasion as a defensive structure. Later, when it was clear the insects were defeated, the township was sold. The documents we have are only partial, but they include details of insects the size of small beds that would attack you in your sleep. Early on in the attack the town realized an immense drop in aquatic life and it was noted that the insects had a particular liking towards fish. After several tests were conducted involving different insect-killing mechanisms, it was found that simple goldfish were, in fact, poisonous to the man-eating insects. So the small villages in the area formed the town of Olsov, which had a Dormitory built into the center. The townsfolk slept tightly packed in this dormitory, which was also kept light and stocked with goldfish. The insects would sieze the goldfish before attacking any townsfolk and eventually the insects poisoned themselves to death. Thus ended the invasion and hence the saying "Good night, sleep tight, and don't let the bed-bugs bite."

Pirate Jimmy said...

It's true.

Linus said...

don't encourage him !

Chaka said...

Beautiful. I don't know who Linus doesn't want to encourage who(m), but I both encourage you, Brandon, and am encouraged by you.

Linus said...

don't encourage the chaka !

(also - don't feed him, he may bite)