FRANCE: Saint-Sylvestre's Forty-NIners

The villagers of Saint-Sylvestre (pop. 1,200), in the heart of France, had been as close-mouthed as though they were guarding a hidden sockful of gold louis. Their secret leaked out not because they talked too much but because of their potatoes.

Having plenty of the vegetable but lacking cash (so they cannily said), the villagers threatened to pay their taxes in potatoes. Indignantly the local government posted notices that it would not receive potatoes. Sniffing a story, a newspaperman nosed in from nearby Limoges. As he stopped to photograph the potato notices he saw another poster: "Workers Wanted for the...

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