Nettling Himself For His Betrothed

Here’s a tale of self-urtication and cleverness dating to before 1900; it appeared in a Kentucky newspaper of February 20, 1900 but is credited to The Youth’s Companion and concerns an earlier time when the Orkney Islands were apparently much beset by hated press gangs from the British Navy:

One bright young fellow, with plenty of fortitude, saved himself by an ingenious stratagem. He, too, was engaged to be married, and was determined not to be taken from his sweetheart. He was pursued and headed off.

Seeing capture inevitable, before he could be reached he stripped off his clothes, rolled in a bed of nettles, and dressed again.

When the gang came up, he submitted to be taken; but on being brought before the surgeon to be examined his whole body was found to be frightfully blistered from head to foot, and the dismayed official, supposing him to be suffering from some shocking skin disease, that was probably contagious, hastily released him. He was declared unfit for his majesty’s service, and allowed to return to his lady-love and nurse his blisters in peace.

Stout-hearted lad, and a quick thinker too!

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