There was once a British army base located in a tiny town in rural Northern Ireland. The story goes that each time a new battalion of soldiers arrived to do their tour of duty one of the resident Officers would show them a trick that could be played on the hapless locals.

When the latest group of soldiers arrived the Officer brought them down to the local pub for a drink. When they were settled he got out an old twenty pound note and a one pound coin. As the soldiers watched he crumpled up the twenty pound note and polished the pound coin before placing them on the table. Once he had done this he then scanned the bar for one of the oldest and drunkest men in the place, and called him over. When the local had settled himself the Officer said, ‘I want to give you one of these, but which would you prefer, this bright shiny coin or this old crumpled piece of paper’?

In response the old man picked up the coin, bit into it with his teeth and then exclaimed with delight, ‘I’ll take the shiny coin please”. The soldiers, of course, found this hilarious and started trying it with others. The foolishness of the Irish provided them with endless hours of entertainment.

However there also happened to be a tourist in the bar that night who watched what was taking place in disbelief. When the soldiers had left, she went up to some of the old men and exclaimed, ‘why on earth did you take the coin when you could have had the note? Do you not know that it is worth twenty times more’?

‘Of course we do’, replied one of the locals, ‘but if we took the note they would stop playing’.

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