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Remember that Dutch story about the little boy who saved the town by putting his finger in the dike? Well, it wasn't Dutch. The story was American—appearing for the first time in Mary Mapes Dodge's classic Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates, published in 1865.

Confucius wasn't the Chinese teacher's name. His family name was K'ung, and his personal name was Ch'iu. He was more commonly referred to as K'ung Tzu (which translates as Master K'ung).

Turkeys didn't originate in Turkey. They're American. When Europeans came to America, they mistook our native bird for one known in Europe since ancient times.

Mr. Miyagi was right. Karate was not a Japanese or Chinese invention. This form of self-defense began in Okinawa. Ironically, karate was originally used to fight the Japanese.

The guillotine was not invented by Dr. Joseph Guillotin as many believe. The device got his name because he was the one who recommended to the French National Assembly that it become the official method of execution for the country. (The inventors, by the way, were a German mechanic named Schmidt and a French doctor named Antonin Louise.)

India ink doesn't come from India. It comes from China (and occasionally Japan).

The pony express wasn't an American invention. By the time our version came about, pony express courier teams had been around for thousands of years, making their first appearance in Outer Mongolia. Another misconception about the American pony express—that it was a success. Actually, the venture was short-lived and financially disastrous for its promoters.

The rickshaw isn't Chinese. It originally came from Japan, first appearing around 1870. (Most historians agree it was a Western missionary who first devised the vehicle.)

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