"I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a hand-saw"
Mortar hawk and trowel
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumMortar hawk and trowel - Credit: Creative Homeowner
Handsaw
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumHandsaw - Credit: Sunset Publishing Corporation

   These lines are spoken in Act II, Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (circa-1600), which Freud examines in more detail elsewhere (see note to page 204).  Readers often wonder how anyone but a madman could mistake a hawk for a handsaw: the type of 'hawk' meant is a commonly used tool rather than a bird of prey, specifically the flat panel a mason uses to carry mortar prior to spreading.

 

Online text of the play at ‘MaximumEdge.com