The great man of science Giancarlo Rochessi (fl. 1559-1617) was the first to examine the single fig that the expedition had brought back. He argued in a letter that, while the expedition had been a costly failure, and that the sailors should be punished for abandoning it early, it was the duty of scientists to learn as much as they could from the fiasco.

Rochessi therefore undertook to study the fig as much as he could without destroying it, inclusing holding it up to a strong light to view its seed structure and staining a variety of permeable papers with its juices. However, after one week of study, Rochessi abrubtly abandoned it as well. He subsequently gave away all of his scientific equipment, and lived until his death a decade later on his laurels and a steady income from his pension.

Rumors began to fly that the fig was cursed and would afflict anyone who handled it with a curse of lethargy and apathy. It was therefore suspended in alcohol and locked away in the Florentine Annex, where it was later lost. But the brief public panic ans sensation gave rise to the Italian expression ne frego un fico, which later entered English as “I don’t gave a fig” or “I don’t care a fig.

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