It is better to marry than to burn…

19 Jul

said Paul.

He meant metaphorically (burning with passion, as rendered in other translations), but in one case, it was apparently literally true:

Monsieur Hamelin wasn’t looking for romance, he only had eyes for orchids. That’s what had brought him to Madagascar in 1893, and that’s how, by and by, he ended up with the brother of a local chief as his guide.

Off they went into the rainforest but only Hamelin returned, reported the Liverpool Echo, as his aide was mauled to death by a wild beast.

It’s fair to say the chief was less than impressed with this turn of events, and gave our horticultural hero two options – marry his brother’s grieving widow, or be greased and burnt.

Hamelin didn’t need long to choose life, but added a canny clause to the deal – that his new brother-in-law closed off his kingdom to all other European orchid-seekers.

Thus saving other European orchid-seekers from a potentially similar fate (and keeping the orchids to himself)…


Posted by on July 19, 2014 in on the lighter side


3 responses to “It is better to marry than to burn…

  1. James and the Giant Peach

    July 19, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    I don’t know if you realize, but you also hit upon a huge benefit for women in a patriarchal society that is even touched upon by the Bible.

    The woman whose husband died was able to remarry with no shame. In fact in the Bible, relatives had the burden to do so. Since Israel was divided up between tribes, if a man died, his brother had to marry the wife and produce an heir for his brother so that the land would not be given to another tribe.

    This culture is hinted at or explicitly stated in the stories of Onan and Tamar, as well as Ruth and Boaz.

    However, in a society where anyone and everyone divorces, widows get an undeservedly bad rep for the actions of her sisters. If the story of Ruth took place in modern day America, Boaz would have called her a crazy BPD divorcee who is desperate before hitting the wall.

    Women mistakenly say that the patriarchy only put rules on women. Not so, even men were held to harsh standards compared to today’s standards. In fact women benefitted from many of these things. However once you dismantle patriarchy, you also dismantle the benefits it gave you. Patriarchy wasn’t about oppressing this group or that group. It was about doing what worked for society.

    I have a theory did many men who claim to hate feminism don’t actually want patriarchy either, and is the reason why feminism isn’t dismantled. Because in a patriarchal society, many of these men would be held accountable for their actions as well. It is easier to feign disgust but have the benefits of it.

  2. Will S.

    July 19, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Great observation!

    Indeed, I thought about Onan and Tamar when I was reading the story. And indeed, basically the same kind of situation occurs in the account of Ruth and Boaz, her ‘kinsman-redeemer’…


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