In WWII, British Sailors Took A Reindeer Aboard A Submarine Out Of Politeness
International diplomacy is a dangerous tightrope, and one slip can mean the geopolitical equivalent of a broken neck (nukes, lots of nukes). So when your strongest ally offers you a gift of friendship, you accept it no matter the circumstances.
Even if that gift is a reindeer.
And you're in a submarine.
During the early days of World War II, the British sub HMS Trident was fighting a bitter and cold battle against Germans in the Arctic Circle. This was greatly appreciated by the local Soviet Navy, which hadn't had any backup since the start of the war. One day, the story goes, a Soviet admiral was talking to the Trident's captain, whose wife had complained to him about plowing the snow back home. The admiral replied, "You need a reindeer!" Much laughter was had, until the admiral presented the submarine with an actual reindeer as a ceremonial gift. The Brits, being as eminently British as possible, politely accepted and, not knowing what to do, proceeded to push their gift through the torpedo hole.
Little reindeer Pollyanna (named after the sub's base) lived with the Trident's crew for the next six weeks, consuming her share of moss, condensed milk, and oxygen, even knocking the sailors aside when it was time to resurface for air. But despite her diva tendencies, the crew grew to love that crazy beast, and the captain even let her sleep under his bed.
National Museum of the Royal NavyWartime naval engagement has never looked this adorable.
Eventually, despite Pollyanna eating the navigation chart, the Trident made it safely back to England. Unfortunately, her cushy life of condensed milk and zero exercise meant she had gotten too big to smoothly exit through the torpedo hole, though a winch and a sailor with a broom managed to Winnie the Pooh her out. Pollyanna was then honorably discharged from the Navy and accepted into the London Zoo, where she spent the rest of life shocking the other zoo animals with her gritty war stories.
The Weirdest Side Effect Of The Fall Of The Berlin Wall: Skyrocketing Banana Demand
When the Berlin Wall fell, generations of Germans were finally reunited after decades of separation. And when East Germans wandered into the West, still adjusting to a country both familiar yet foreign, they had but one question: "Where the hell are the bananas?"
While communism really nailed the basics, delivering luxury products to the huddled masses wasn't really in East Germany's wheelhouse. And that was bad news for banana-loving East Germans, as their only source was Vietnam. And any Vietnamese bananas that eventually made their way to the GDR were so brown and dry that they might as well have eaten the crates they came in.
But once the Iron Curtain came down, crowds of enthusiastic Eastern visitors quickly discovered that both the grass and the bananas were greener on the other side. For years, it became common to see former East Germans line up at grocery stores just to buy bananas. And for these brown-averse citizens, the less ripe the banana, the better. In fact, their obsession with green bananas became a great source of amusement for the banana-jaded Westerners.
"Next Issue: The 5 Dumbest Ways East Germans Eat Bananas."