A new monk arrives at the old Italian monastery for his celibate life of shared poverty and prayer, and is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand.
He notices, however, that they are copying from copies, not the original manuscripts. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this, pointing out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.
The head monk says, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.”
So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original.
Hours go by and nobody sees him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. Hearing sobbing coming from the back of the cellar, he finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying, and muttering between tears: “There’s an R! There’s an R!”
He asks the old monk what’s wrong, and in a choked voice came the reply, “The original word isn’t “celibate” but “celebrate.”