Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: A good Samaritan who saves Richard Nixon from drowning asks only one reward: that no one tell his father.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1997]
Origins: It's no wonder this legend nowadays attaches to
Like many urban legends, this one has been told of various people at various times. It's one of those classic tales where one but has to substitute in the name of the despised figure to make it work all over again. In 2007, for instance, Kim Yong-chol, a North Korean general, regaled a gathering of North and South Korea military chiefs with a telling of it that starred George W. Bush.
Here's another version of it, this one found on the Internet in 1998:
One day Bill Clinton was out jogging and accidentally fell from a bridge into a very cold river.And another from a 1947 joke book:
Three boys, playing along the river, saw the accident. Without a second thought, they jumped in the water and dragged the wet president out of the river.
After cleaning up he said, "Boys, you saved the President of the United States today. You deserve a reward. You name it, I'll give it to you."
The first boy said, "Please, I'd like a ticket to Disneyland!"
"I'll personally hand it to you," said
"I'd like a pair of Nike Air Turbos," the second boy said.
"I'll buy them myself and give them to you," said the grateful defender of the Western Hemisphere.
"And I'd like a wheelchair with a stereo in it," said the third boy.
"No — but I will be when my father finds out whom I saved from drowning."
After having a good meal, Hitler went out for a walk. While crossing a bridge he fell into the water. Sammy Ginsberg, unaware of who he was, saw him fall and jumped in after him. He dragged Hitler to safety.How far back does this story go? At least to 1924, when it appeared in yet another joke book:
"Young man, do you know what you've just done? You've saved the Fuehrer's life! I want to give you a reward. Anything you want."
"Only one thing for me," said Sammy. "Please don't tell my father."
A naval officer fell overboard. He was rescued by a deck hand. The officer asked his preserver how he could reward him.Barbara "throwback legend" Mikkelson
"The best way, sir," said Jack, "is to say nothing about it. If the other fellows knew I'd pulled you out, they'd chuck me in."
Last updated: 8 May 2007
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