Jokes for all occasions: spelling

Some time before Mr. Taft became President of the United States, he took an extended trip in the mountains of West Virginia. On one occasion, he was conveyed along the mountain roads in a buggy driven by a native of the region. As they came to a small stream, Mr. Taft, without any particular interest, inquired concerning the brook’s name. So far as he could understand, the answer was:

“This here are Swum-swum Crick.”

“What?” Mr. Taft demanded.

In the repetition, the words sounded like:

“This here are Swoovel Crick.”

The questioner was so puzzled that he asked the mountaineer how the name of the Creek was spelled.

The native spat tobacco juice reflectively over the wheel, and then spoke judicially:

“Waal, some spells it one way, an’ some spells it another way; but in my jedgmint thar are no propeer way.”

* * *

The clerk of the court directed the witness to spell his name. The man started his reply thus:

O double ti double ue double l, double u, double——”

The clerk interrupted:

“Please, begin again.”

The witness complied glibly:

O double ti double ue double l, double u, double o——”

The clerk groaned. The judge himself intervened: “What is your name?”

“Your Honor, it is Ottiwell Wood. I spell it: O double ti double ue double l, double u, double od.”