peel real oynoun
peel real oynoun

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28. Tulip-roots instead of onions

In the story Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll there is a passage where the onion is mentoined.

"'You'd better not talk!' said Five.
'I heard the Queen say only yesterday you deserved to be beheaded.'
'What for?' said the one who had spoken first.
'That's none of your business, Two!' said Seven.
'Yes, it is his business!' said Five.
'And I'll tell him – it was for bringing the cook tulip-roots instead of onions'"

"Bruce Bevan wrote to say that Carroll may have had in mind here an incident described in the chapter on tulip mania in Charles Mackay's 1841 work Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. An English traveler in Holland, unaware of the high prices then being paid for rare species of tulips, picked up a tulip root, thinking it an onion, and began to peel it. As it happened, the root was worth four thousand florins. The poor man was arrested and sent to prison until he found the means to pay this sum to the tulip root's owner."

Onions and flower bulbs are associated with each other. Here you can read something about the reference, weirdly enough this is about WWII, decades later than Lewis Caroll wrote his book.

"Tulip bulb consumption is said to have originated during WWII. As a result of the Dutch famine of 1944–1945, Dutch authorities started selling the unplanted tulip bulbs of farmers who had stopped their activities due to the war. When prepared correctly, tulips are edible so long as they are not treated with chemicals. However, it is worth noting that the bulbs can be poisonous, with large amounts resulting in severe clinical signs including dizziness, vomiting and convulsions."

Another weird fact about the 'original' version of the story. In this version 'onions' are changed in 'potatoes'.

Read the whole story here.

Dutch quote: 'En ik zal het hem zeggen ook - het was omdat ie de kok tulpebollen bracht in plaats van uien.'