I once sold all the words of Shakespeare to a man named O.
Doesn't that sound like a great opening line for a novel? It's true too. I really did, but I'd completely forgotten about it till this weekend. I was talking to my husband about old books and suddenly remembered... back in Africa I bought this set of the entire works of Shakespeare at a second hand store. Three huge volumes over a hundred years old - Comedies, Tragedies and Poetry. The pages were yellowed with age, but they had the most beautiful engraved plate illustrations within their crumbling covers.
I always meant to get them rebound and restored, but it just never happened. When I decided to move to Scotland I had to downsize a lot. I sold a lot of my books. Well... all except the Shakespeare! None of the book dealers wanted them because they were damaged and the pages 'foxed' (those yellow age spots).
I put an advert in the paper and only one person phoned. He was very keen to see them. So keen he gave me his phone number and details. He said his name was... "O."
I asked, "How do you spell that?"
He said, "with an o..." and laughed.
He was a businessman from China. He came over to look at my books with his wife. She spoke no English, but he spoke fairly good English. He told me that he adored English literature, especially Shakespeare. He picked up those volumes of Shakespeare with reverence and awe. He didn't see investment value or damage, like those book dealers - just like me, he saw aged beauty and wonderful words.
...and he was wealthy enough to be able to promise they would be restored and leather bound once again. So, some of the greatest words in the English language went to live with a man whose name in English is only a vowel....
How quirky is that? ;-)