Please translate the following exchange:

This question concerns a bit of dialogue that takes place at the beginning of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” None of the fansites I’ve seen get into its meaning.

SOLDIER: Halt! Who goes there?

ARTHUR: It is I, Arthur, [various titles], Sovereign of all England!

SOLDIER: Pull the other one!

ARTHUR: I am, and this is my trusty servant Patsy.

“Pull the other one!”??? I don’t get it.

Is this some sort of edit gone horribly awry, or is it some nuance of the Queen’s English that I don’t understand? The soldier gives a command (“Pull the other one!”), and Arthur seems to answer a question- about himself (as opposed to “the other one”)!

I just don’t get it. Could somebody kindly explain?

Just a guess, but could he mean, “Pull my other leg”? As in, “Ya, sure your Arthur. Now pull the other one.”

“I think it would be a great idea” Mohandas Ghandi’s answer when asked what he thought of Western civilization

We left-pondians might say “Pull the other one and it plays Dixie”. He doubts Arthur’s voracity and suggests that he is pulling his leg.

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My Grandfather (born in Devon, England, in 1893), used to say in reponse to any piece of news that seemed unlikely: “pull the other one (meaning leg)–it’s got bells on!”

Could this be some arcane reference to Morris dancing?

As other posters have said, they are referring to the common english expression

“You’re pulling my leg!” to mean “You’re kidding!”

Where does that come from? I don’t know. For what it’s worth, there is no similar expression in French. However, to indicate the same meaning, a european (at least french or swiss) might use this gesture:

put your index finger right below your eye (on the lower eyelid) and pull down, effectively exposing your eyeball.

The gesture is often accompanied by the exclamation
“Mon oeil!”
“My eye!”

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

The way I heard it, the phrase came from a time when hanging was a frequent occurence. If the rope didn’t snap the neck of your nearest and dearest and he/she was left to die by slow strangulation, it was a kindness to pull on the leg and complete the job. I’m not sure where I got this, or if it’s true - someone might have been yanking my chain.

you’ve got the bit about hanging right, aseymayo - originally, they didn’t use a trapdoor in the scaffold, or a horse like in the westerns - just put the rope around the guy’s neck and pushed him off the scaffold - neck might break, but more likely he would just die a terrible death by strangulation, with loss of control of bodily functions, etc. that’s why hanging was such a demeaning death - the nobility got to have their heads cut off - a much classier way to go.

but whether that’s the origin of the phrase, I dunno - the morris dancing sounds more likely to me. why would a convicted felon have bells on his leg?

I always heard it this way, “pull the other one – it plays Jingle Bells.”

It’s a funny way of saying “you’re pulling my leg.”

your humble TubaDiva
It’s a joke, son!

“but whether that’s the origin of the phrase, I dunno - the morris dancing sounds more likely to me. why would a convicted felon have bells on his leg?” Have you ever seen Morris Dancing, its no wonder that they used to string them up whenever they cold catch them. :slight_smile:

It only hurts when I laugh.

I don’t know the origin of the phrase, but us Brits certainly used to say it just like Rodd Hill’s grandfather did.

Recently I’ve heard ‘Leave it out!’ used instead. Now where does that come from?

Glee, see the “Bad Underwear Day” thread on this board! :wink:

I dunno if that’s the answer, but I’m still chuckling over your reply!