A Simple Quaker Idiom

Submitted by IN SEINE
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Monday, 2 May 2011

There once was a young Quaker man, who had a great deal of difficulty remembering the various rules of manners in his community. He tried hard, but was constantly being ridiculed because of some breach of conduct or etiquette.

In desperation, he asked an older man to teach him proper manners. The task was tremendous, and the older man's patience grew very thin, as he had to repeatedly point out mistakes of the younger man and his awkward ways.

Finally, on the way into a Quaker meeting one Sunday, the younger man tried walking into the building ahead of the older man. He was firmly brought up short by his instructor, who also let an old woman go in ahead of them.

The young lad expressed his apology and the older, losing his temper, screamed, "Canst thou not remember? How much easier can it become?" Pointing out the woman who had just entered, he said, "It is I before Thee, except after She!"

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