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msknight

Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

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Care killeth the cat

When writing, there is always the thought that a particular line or image has been so effecively, "owned," by an author that any attempt to even get close to it would result in an array of their fans taking up torch and pitchfork, and coming for your very digital life.

 

One of those being Pratchett's line that curiosity not only killed the cat, but tied a lead weight around its leg and threw it in the river. Well, if he was writing about the river Morpork, then it would take a hell of a lead weight to make anything sink in that thing... but I digress.

 

I went and looked up the origin of how a sense of adventure, became the cause of the premature demise of members of the species Felidae, and came up with this from the 1500's... http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/curiosity-killed-the-cat.html

 

A section is here...

That form of the expression is first recorded in the English playwright Ben Jonson's play Every Man in His Humour, 1598:

"Helter skelter, hang sorrow, care'll kill a Cat, up-tails all, and a Louse for the Hangman."

The play was one of the Tudor humours comedies, in which each major character is assigned a particular 'humour' or trait. The play is thought to have been performed in 1598 by The Lord Chamberlain's Men, a troupe of actors including William Shakespeare and William Kempe. Shakespeare was no slouch when it came to appropriating a memorable line and it crops up the following year in Much Ado About Nothing:

"What, courage man! what though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care."

The proverbial expression 'curiosity killed the cat', which is usually used when attempting to stop someone asking unwanted questions, is much more recent. The earlier form was still in use in 1898, when it was defined in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:

"Care killed the Cat. It is said that a cat has nine lives, but care would wear them all out."