This is actually two stories – read one, get one for free. Both are about horses. The first is about horses’ teeth, and the second is about a Russian boy with umthondo omkhulu, like a horse.
Story about Horses’ Teeth:
Saint Jerome (Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus) c. 347 AD – 420 AD, was a Latin priest, confessor, plumber, theologian, electrician, and historian, who later founded the Jumping Jehoshaphat Church. Old Jerome never amounted to much, except for his Letter to the Ephesians, circa 400 AD, which contains the text: “Noli equi dentes inspicere donati.”
Roughly translated, this means: “Don’t look for a gift in the horse’s mouth.”
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably never been given a horse as a gift – let alone looked into the thing’s mouth. What old Jerome was trying to say, was that one should be grateful when receiving a gift; without assessing its value.
(This, as we all know, is nonsense… Jerome was probably just another old cheapskate.)
But, just in case someone should be crazy enough to give you a horse as a gift, here are a couple of pointers to help you in determining its age:
Horses’ teeth, unlike ours, continue to grow with age. They also wear down with use, and the changes in the characteristics of the teeth over time, make it possible to do a rough estimate of a horse’s age by examining its teeth.
As horses develop and age, they grow more teeth and their existing teeth begin to change shape and project further forward – much like the teeth of members of the British Royal family. Determining a horse’s age from its teeth is a specialist task – normally done by someone called an Equus dentes angulus sedatus.
The teeth of older horses become more angled. This is where the saying: “Long in the tooth,” comes from. The teeth also change shape from oval, to more angular as the horse ages. The colour of the teeth may also become quite yellowed and stained, depending on the horse’s smoking habits.
At some point, after its late twenties, a horse may start losing teeth. If the horse is from the Cape Flats, its four front teeth will be the first to go – this is often called a Passion Gap (PG).
Unsubstantiated claims have been made by horse lovers and jockeys alike, that a PG improves kissing; while others believe that a PG horse can whistle louder than a non-PG horse. (I wish to point out that these claims are unconfirmed, and not backed up by scientific fact.)
Some horse breeders specifically train their horses not to stick out their tongues and, in so doing, display their Passion Gaps. (Called the: Miley Cyrus Equus-maneuver, it has now been banned in certain European countries.)
OK. So much for determining the age of a horse by looking at their teeth. Moving along… and this is where the story gets interesting.
Story about a Russian Boy:
Times Live ran a story about a 9-year-old Ukrainian boy who stole a cellphone. (No, Sakkie, he was not a South African, even though he sounds like one.)
It appears that a boy, John Thomas Zolnerowich, was arrested after stealing a cellphone and was sent to prison – awaiting trial. In prison, he was subjected to a medical examination. And this was when the shlong hit the dong:
The doctors concluded, from the size of his penis and teeth (he had a PG), that he was actually between 25 and 30 years old.
As a consequence, when John Thomas came before a Russian court, the judge ruled him big enough to be tried as an adult, and sentenced him to solitary confinement in a dark place.
The regional prison service has ordered a review (Kyk weer) of the boy’s teeth and umthondo, but until then, he remains zipped up.
So… what did we learn from these stories? Two things:
1. Noli equi dentes inspicere donate, meaning: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
2. Et non inclinabitur ad cellphone fur in brevibus, meaning: Don’t look in a cellphone thief’s briefs.
Never look for the truth in a good story.