There was once a man of Gotham who started for market with two bushels of wheat, and the wheat was in a bag laid across his horse’s back, and the man sat just behind the bag. But he had not gone far when another man of Gotham called to him from a wayside field and said, “Your horse is small, neighbor, for so much of a load. why don’t you walk and lead it?”

“That’s what I would do,” replied the first man; “but my foot is lame and I can’t walk very well.”

“Then if you must ride,” said the other, “I think you might take the bag of wheat on your shoulder so the horse wouldn’t have to carry that, too.

“Why, so I could,” said the first man; and he hoisted the bag of wheat to his shoulder and there he carried it all the way to market.

“Ah,” said he, when he reached his destination, “how my little horse does pant and sweat! I did well to share the work with it, for I see clearly that the horse has had burden enough carrying me without having also to carry this heavy bag of wheat.”

Many cultures tell of a city where all the residents are fools. Since the 15th Century, Gotham, in Nottinghamshire, has been a prime example. Washington Irving, in his book “Salmagundi Papers,” borrowed the name and attributed it to New York City. Bob Kane also borrowed the name Gotham for his Batman Comics.

Share This