Tag Archives: wit

to wit

The owl of word country is a wise bird. It speaks of the two most important things: knowledge and love. I came to it to know.

“To wit?” it asked.

“To wit,” I confirmed. This is how it speaks: using the old verb wit rather than the one more common now, know. To wit – that means ‘to know’ or, more loosely, ‘just so you know’.

“To who?” it asked.

“To you, of course,” I said.

“To it,” it said. Meaning go to it: ask the question.

“I want to know of love,” I said.

“To woo,” it said.

“Yes. Is that all there is?”

“To it?”

“Yes. What is the best way to make my love known?”

“To who?” it asked.

“To the object of my affection,” I said. “There must be a best way to make my desires known.”

“To wit: to woo,” it said. I suppose a more Latinate bird might have said “videlicet” rather than “to wit,” but this is an Anglo-Saxon owl.

“But I lack the nerve,” I said.

“Twit,” it said. Abusive creature, this bird.

“You’re telling me that having nerve is its own justification?”

“True,” it said. Or at least I think that’s what it said.

“But do you think she’ll care even one whit what I think?”

“Two whits,” it said. Great. Not sure how to take that. Two very small bits. Not a lot, God wot. (Oh, hey: God wot – there’s another form of the verb wit.)

“Well, OK, but surely she might turn her affections to someone else.”

“To who?” This owl doesn’t really go for formal inflections, I notice. Never to whom.

“You know, you’re right,” I said. “Who else indeed. A-wooing I will go.”

“Do it,” it said.

“Thanks. Thanks for the encouragement.”

“To-whoo,” it said. I think it was just being owlish. As if to confirm that, it added, “Tu-whit, tu-whoo.”