This expression is of English origin and the ass being referred to here is the English colloquial name for a donkey, not the American ‘ass’, which we will leave behind us at this point. Many attribute the phrase to Charles Dickens, who in Oliver Twist, wrote when Mr. Bumble, the unhappy spouse of a domineering wife, is told in court that “…the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction”, replies:
“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is an ass – an idiot”.
We will return to the law in a moment but allow me to digress for a couple of lines.
One of the joys of running Christian House Sitters is having contact with people from all over the world. Only this week we were asked to offer a farm in Argentina rent free on a long term basis. One never knows what is coming next.
But as our members travel around the world I thought it was time to introduce you to a few of the really strange laws from different countries.
We start with the United Kingdom
It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
According to legal experts, as parliament is still classed as a royal palace, any death of an MP (or Lord) would in theory have required members of the royal household to sit as the coroner’s jury. As this raises all sorts of questions of parliamentary privilege, such as the right to a state funeral, the polite convention arose that no parliamentarian dies until they are safely in the ambulance to a hospital.
It could be regarded an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen’s image upside-down.
Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned .
Oops I guess that makes me a criminal. Sorry your honour I never knew that law existed.
In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants.
The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen.
It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing .
I just love the logic behind this one.
London hackney carriages (Cab or Taxi) must carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats.
The London Hackney Carriage Laws have stayed the same for over a hundred years, and still apply to modern-day taxis. The oats and hay were for the horse, of course. Disputes still arise, and some firms have manufactured tiny bales of hay, so taxi drivers can stay within the law.
Over the next few weeks I will feature strange laws from other places so if you know any do send them to me.
Meanwhile remember if you want someone to look after your home and pets while you are away or if you would like a rent free vacation the place to look is our website. CLICK HERE
God bless you,