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Papa is right about the metaphor (damn I get tired of saying Papa's right, try to screw something up now and again PapaBear), but I always heard the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was guarded by a leprochaun. That leads me to believe the origins are in Irish folk tales. Any Irish folk out there to verify/trash that thought?
The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. -- E. Grebenik
Where did the fable of finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow start? (not the cereal companies) Did someone once find money when there was a rainbow? Actually,the rainbow is a sign from God to let us know He would never flood the earth again. (this time it'll be an asteroid)
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is a metaphor for something that is unattainable. Because rainbows are optical illusions there is no way you will ever reach the end of it, no matter how determined you are.
I can almost guarentee you that this expression was created by a poet and is not derived from any actual event.
The sign of God story is only in the Judeo-Christian belief. In Norse mythology, the rainbow was the bridge to the home of the gods, and was known as Bifrost. One of the signs of Ragnarok was the destruction of Bifrost.
Sorry I don't anything about the pot of gold.
02-11-2001, 09:59 AM
Interestingly, rainbows are just a smearing out of refracted visible light. I wonder what those raindrops are doing to the parts of the EM bpectrum we can't see? Something similar, I imagine. I wonder what a gamma-radio-X-Ray rainbow would look like.
02-11-2001, 01:27 PM
Originally posted (a good long time ago) by vanillanice
Where did the fable of finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow start?
The online columns from Triumph of the Straight Dope weren't posted yet when this was asked, but now they are, and the official answer, according to Cecil, is "who knows?", from Who in the world dreamed up the idea that there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a5_060b.html) The story is known to go back to at least 1836.
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