Discovery of meaning of favorite word serendipitous

Sandy Fields

Sandy Fields

By Sandy Fields

Local columnist

I serendipitously ran across the fun fact that the word serendipity came from Sri Lanka.

For the life of me, I can’t recall when this happy run-in happened. But, as is my custom, I grabbed a pen and wrote
“Serendipity Sri Lanka” in my little leather notebook so I’d remember to do some research.

Sometimes I marvel that I could go along for decades loving a word and its meaning, but never take the time to figure out from where it came. I embarrass myself. I had no idea that Sri Lanka was once called Serendip, nor anything about the old Persian fairy tale “The Three Princes of Serendip.”

In 1754 a man named Horace Walpole wrote a letter and first coined the word. He was explaining to a friend that these princes in the story were always making discoveries by accident “of things which they were not in quest of.”

Now I’m wanting to read the fairy tale. Also, I’d be delighted to take a little trip to Sri Lanka. Not sure either of those things will take place in the near future.

Instead, I’ll just go along hoping that some little tidbit of serendipity will come my way.

Sandy keeps an online journal at her website www.field-days.com. E-mail her at:
sandy@field-days.com