More from my Redneck Grandma

“You’d complain if they hung you with a new rope.” ……Grandma to anyone who whined in her presence.

I always thought this was just another of Gran’s idiosyncratic phrases. But come to find out, it has a historical basis.

Back in the 18th and early 19th centuries in England, the punishment for theft was death by hanging. There were several cases where an ill-fated miscreant was indeed hung with a new rope. The newer the rope, the more spring it had. The more spring the rope had, the greater the chance the lucky miscreant’s feet would hit the ground and he would survive being hung.  Having once been hung, the authorities would have to release the condemned man as the sentence had been carried out.

Of course, the toffs soon added the words  “hung until you are dead” to the sentencing proclamation, ending the advantage of being hung with a new rope. But the phrase survived in the form of several generations of Grandmas warning their offsprings not to complain at life’s misfortunes.

 

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