"The "'Tis Bottle"" joke
Once upon a time, there was a fellow who was down on his luck,
and as he was looking through the classifieds, he saw an
intriguing ad offering a ten million dollar reward to the person
who could find and retrieve, intact, something called a "tis
Having nothing to lose, he calls the man who placed the ad. "I
absolutely must have this bottle, and there are only three
surviving in the world," the wealthy man tells him, "one is in
the heart of the deepest jungle, one is at the bottom of the
coldest, darkest sea, and one is at the top of the highest
mountain. I will pay your expenses for however long it takes to
bring me one of these bottles, as well as giving you the ten
Being an adventurous fellow, he decides to accept the offer.
First, he gathers a retinue of guides and hunters to go with him
into the jungle. He studies for months to prepare, and when he
is ready to survive, he sets out to get the bottle. Into the
jungle he goes, and after many close calls, and much loss of life,
he finds the bottle.
As he is on his way out of the jungle with the bottle well packed
and padded, he is attacked by wild animals, and not only is he
badly mauled, but the box with the tis bottle goes flying, and box
and bottle shatter.
It takes some time for him to recover from his injuries, but when
he's well enough, he begins preparations to retrieve the bottle at
the bottom of the sea. He takes diving lessons, hires the newest
and best deep-sea diving equipment and crew, and takes to the
sea. With little trouble, they managed to get the bottle, but on
the way up, they are attacked by sharks, and have to rush to the
surface. In the hurry, the fellow not only gets the bends, but
the bottle falls and breaks on the deck. More time in the
hospital later, recovering slowly, he's more determined than ever
to get the third and final bottle.
He spends over a year learning mountain climbing and survival,
becoming accustomed to low oxygen and heights, and planning the
ultimate shatter-proof container for the bottle. He hires a crew
of experienced guides and begins his climb. By the time they
reach the top, they're low on supplies, weak, and frostbitten, but
he will not give up. The bottle is packed and secured, and the
group begins the descent. When they reach the bottom of the
mountain, the fellow again has to spend time in the hospital
recovering from his injuries, but he keeps the bottle with him
and in sight at all times.
Finally, he's ready to present it to the wealthy man and collect
He goes to the wealthy man's house, and carefully unpacks the "tis
bottle" and hands it over. The wealthy man inspects it joyfully,
and hands the fellow a check for ten million dollars.
"Thank you and good day, sir," he says, dismissing the fellow.
"Wait!" the fellow cries, " I was attacked by wild animals,
suffered the bends, and lost fingers and toes for this bottle.
I've spent years looking for it, and almost as long in the
hospital from trying to get it. Aren't you going to tell me why
it's so precious and what it's for?"
"Um, it's a little embarrassing, actually. Why don't you just
take the money and go?"
"I'm not leaving here until you tell me what this bottle is for!"
shouts the fellow.
With a sigh, the wealthy man motions for the fellow to follow him.
They go into the back of the house, and the wealthy man presses a
hidden button to reveal a secret door. Behind the door is a small
room with another door, behind a strong gate. The wealthy man
unlocks the gate, unlocks the door, and opens the heavy vault
door behind it with a combination. Inside the vault are thousands
of bottles lined up neatly, wall to wall and floor to ceiling,
with one vacant spot labeled "tis". Gently the man places the
bottle in its spot, and declares "There you go."
"Oh, come on," the fellow replies. "There has to be more to it
With a sigh, the man picks up a delicate, padded mallet that hangs
nearby and gently begins striking the bottles, and a tune emerges.
"'Tis the season to be jolly..."
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