Cutting off a man’s finger


My great uncle was an intelligence officer in India in WWII

I have a couple of his possessions he left to us when he died  – an old pair of binoculars, a lovely old mahogany folding ruler and a long ivory pen-knife which is really more like a stiletto blade when it’s unfolded – it must be ten inches long.

The kids have no real interest in any of these artefacts except the knife, and that’s because of the story attached.

One day he was in his office doing a briefing with some other men when a yell went up. A man just outside the office had been bitten by a venomous snake. I like to think it was a cobra but we don’t know for sure.

It had bitten him on the little finger as he’s put his hand up to try to defend himself.

Quickly my Uncle who was pretty quick-witted ordered the other men in the room to bring the man in and hold his hand down firmly on the desk.

He them proceeded to cut the man’s little finger off with his pen knife in order to stop the poison travelling into his bloodstream and killing him.

I like to show the kids the little ‘bloodstains’ left on the knife blade but it’s really just rust.

But they remember the story, and they always will.

The binoculars and the ruler look nicer, are probably worth more historically, and relate more to the actual job my Uncle did…

…but the knife…

THAT’S got the story.

That’s what gets remembered.

That’s why I use stories in my marketing.


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