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The Fairy Penguin Legend resurfaces
Posted: 14 August 2007 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]
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A customer at work told me today how she took her autistic son to Perth Zoo on the weekend and while there, they became separated. In a panic she dashed about looking for him and he was eventually found, soaking wet but otherwise unharmed. She took him home, dried him off, put him to bed and then started to unpack his backpack. Inside, to her surprise she found a fairy penguin. After overcoming the shock of her discovery, she rang the zoo to explain that her son had taken one of the penguins and that she would be returning it soon.

I was, to say the least, extremely sceptical upon hearing this and when I got home did a quick search and found this, an almost word-for-word replica of her story.

*sigh*
Some people never learn.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Nettie - 14 August 2007 12:59 PM

*sigh* Some people never learn.

Well, I don’t see how someone is expected to learn that a story they are saying happened to them personally is actually an urban legend. Barring an almost miraculous coincidence, I would say the customer already knew this was an urban legend!

Honestly, it’s like that time I went to a wedding in Cana and the hosts ran out of booze. Fortunately, this local magician had been invited and knock me down with a feather if he didn’t wave his hand over a jug of water and turn it into wine! But as soon as I mentioned what a great trick this was to one of the other guests, they started telling me how a few weeks earlier he had apparently produced 5000 fish sandwiches from five loaves and two fishes. Of course later I found out they’d cribbed their whole story from some book! LOL!

Some people are such liars!

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Posted: 14 August 2007 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Well, at least you now know the nature of the customer so if she comes running in one day screaming that the sky is falling you can take it with a grain of salt wink

I’ve heard the story before but your customer did put a new twist on it. A Fairy penguin? Perhaps fairy penguins are smaller and more docile than the ordinary version.

I do wonder what she gets out of spreading the story around, and whether perhaps she has convinced herself it is true. The problem when people tell you a story like that is that it is hard afterwards to tell just what is true and what isn’t. Does she even have an autictic son? If she doesn’t, and becomes convinced of her delusion herself, might she “steal” someone else’s?

A wee bit scary.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Some people are delusional.  She probably thought that it would get her some attention or sympathy or something.  If she tells the story enough times she might even begin believing it.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The way an urban legend spreads, or so I’ve read, is (1) That the person telling it believes it to be true, or at least very much wants it to be true. That’s extremely important. That’s the whole appeal of urban legends, after all—that they are for various reasons believable. Therefore, when someone who believes it or wants to believe it retells the story, (2) the person makes simplifications and/or alterations to make it seem more credible. And the next person does the same thing. And the next person. And so on. And it’s done—or at least it’s been done to me—by people I would otherwise have considered quite truthful.

It’s the old “Hey, it’s true so the details don’t matter that much” thing.

Does that sound like lying to you? Or at least fibbing? Frankly, it does to me, too, but apparently it doesn’t to everybody.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Kathleen - 14 August 2007 04:40 PM

The way an urban legend spreads, or so I’ve read, is (1) That the person telling it believes it to be true, or at least very much wants it to be true. That’s extremely important. That’s the whole appeal of urban legends, after all—that they are for various reasons believable. Therefore, when someone who believes it or wants to believe it retells the story, (2) the person makes simplifications and/or alterations to make it seem more credible. And the next person does the same thing. And the next person. And so on. And it’s done—or at least it’s been done to me—by people I would otherwise have considered quite truthful.

It’s the old “Hey, it’s true so the details don’t matter that much” thing.

Does that sound like lying to you? Or at least fibbing? Frankly, it does to me, too, but apparently it doesn’t to everybody.

I agree wholeheartedly, but in most cases the person is telling the story in the third person. I can understand the friend-of-a-friend way of urban legend propagation. Now if this lady is telling the story as if it happened to her, it’s another ball of wax alltogether. I’d tend to side with Gray on delusion, or perhaps even a pathological lying disorder. in any case, if the person seemed authentic and sincere when telling the story, it is a good sign that youshould beware anything else they happen to tell you.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Though new to Boston, the story is at least a decade old and apparently originated in the U.K.

Ah hah!  Now we know who to blame.

*Shakes fist*

Those UKers!!!

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Posted: 14 August 2007 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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It’s a conspiracy by Nils Olaf!

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Posted: 14 August 2007 09:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Fairy Penguins are actually called ‘Little Penguins’, and they are the smallest of the penguins according to the Perth Zoo website.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 10:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Nettie - 15 August 2007 01:10 AM

Fairy Penguins are actually called ‘Little Penguins’, and they are the smallest of the penguins according to the Perth Zoo website.

Did you email them to see if they were missing any? LOL

At 16 to 17 inches tall and about 2 pounds, still quite hefty to go unnoticed in a backpack. Unless maybe they come with fairy powder for such operations…

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Posted: 14 August 2007 11:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Tah - 14 August 2007 10:37 PM

Though new to Boston, the story is at least a decade old and apparently originated in the U.K.

Ah hah!  Now we know who to blame.

*Shakes fist*

Those UKers!!!

This might be because last year (after March of the Penguins came out) a baby penguin was stolen from a zoo (not Edinburgh Zoo but I think it was an island) and never returned, despite TV appeals that it WILL DIE without its parents at that stage. After a while the parents laid a new egg as it had been so long that they understood the baby to be dead, according to the telly. It was quite sad seeing them with the new egg. The keepers said that they penguins understood how long the baby could live and after that sort of moved on.

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