From THE ANONYMOUS BOOK OF SAYINGS: JCJ Riddle based on The Sawdust Story by Krzysztof Szczepaniec

How did the sayings we know and use today come down to us?

How did they end up in The Anonymous Book of Sayings?

Histories have been written, linguistic tracks uncovered, hypotheses laid out.

With some Physics students I set out to add some more sayings to the Anonymous Book the day I heard the story of the sawdust.  I invite you to continue reading and add more sayings to the open list.


by Krzysztof Szczepaniec,

4th year Physics student at the Jagiellonian University

Have I ever told you about the time when I was in the army, performing everyday duties?

In the army, every soldier is assigned an area that he has to keep spotlessly clean. This means cleaning it thoroughly every single day. As a soldier, I was, of course, assigned such an area too. It was the corridor of our building. The floor was covered with small yellow tiles. Between these tiles there were  small ridges running all along. The clean tiles looked nice, but keeping them spotless could be a nightmare. We would use brooms, water and soap and clean the floor every day.

Once the floor got so dirty that we couldn’t seem to be able to do anything about it, no matter how much we tried to scrub it clean with water and soap. Then, one of the sergeants came to us, pointed at two of my team mates and said: “You and you! Come with me”.

After a while they returned with a big sack which they then emptied on the floor in the corridor. I was surprised. It was sawdust!

The Corridor in the Sawdust Story

It seemed strange  in the beginning, but we ended up cleaning the floor by rubbing the sawdust off the ridges and tiles. When we finished, the floor was so clean and shiny, we couldn’t believe our eyes! Tiles and ridges both spotlessly clean! That’s how we discovered that the tiles were actually white, not yellow!

Feel free to add your own saying to these!

The Book of Anonymous Sayings


Sergeants know better!

Sawdust can be useful even if you don’t belong to

the rodent family!

Sometimes things must get dirtier before they get clean.

The right quantities depend on the frame of reference.

Sawdust dirty boots are better than bare feet!

Every grain to its floor.


One response

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    February 19, 2010 at 3:27 pm

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