In certain parts of England there is considerable pressure on eleven plus places. We hear of stories of nine to ten children trying to fill one seat. Surely that puts a large onus on the successful candidate – who has successfully fought off the many hankering after his or her place?
There is a term: `Nine tailors make a man’. The theory was that a tailor was so weak that it took nine of them to make a man of average strength and stature. The story goes that an orphan lad, in 1742, applied to a fashionable tailor for alms. There were nine journeymen in the establishment – each of whom contributed something.
The orphan lad became rich, in time, and adopted the motto: “Nine tailors made me a man.” The orphan went on to help others less fortunate. A good story!
This story of tailors and orphans may not be entirely true – but it does have a nice ring.
There is another suggestion about the nine. When a man died the bell was rung three times – with three peals. A woman, however, was only offered two peals for the three rings. (Eleven Plus mathematics shows that 3 times 3 = 9 but 2 times 3 = 6!)
We are told that in some Lancashire parishes that there were nine knells of the clapper for the man, six for a woman and three for a child. (Is this where the words; “I feel clapped out!” come from? This is just a thought!)
Eleven plus parents can take heart. They may at times have to repeat something at least nine times – but there is a chance that their child could, in time, become rich and help someone else!