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Q: French Proverb- find the origin ($10) ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: French Proverb- find the origin ($10)
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: toughcamper-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 12 Sep 2006 18:44 PDT
Expires: 12 Oct 2006 18:44 PDT
Question ID: 764676
A friend challenged me to find the origin or source of this French Proverb:

   "Laisse pisser la vache, c'est un animal qui pisse longtemp" 

  I would like to know what is the original source of the proverb, the
date of the work it first appeared in, and the steps you took to find
the information.
Subject: Re: French Proverb- find the origin ($10)
Answered By: scriptor-ga on 13 Sep 2006 14:20 PDT
Dear toughcamper,

Thank you very much, you are really generous. I have hereby answered
the question, so there is nothing you'd have to do.

Again, thank you!
Subject: Re: French Proverb- find the origin ($10)
From: scriptor-ga on 12 Sep 2006 19:28 PDT
Not an answer, just a remark: It seems to be a proverb with no source
that can be defined exactly. Obviously, it was first mentioned in a
printed source in 1867, in the "Dictionnaire de la langue verte"
(dictionary of slang). It was still shorter then, just "Laisse pisser
la bÍte" (Let the animal piss), an expression from the language of
cavalry soldiers and coach drivers meaning that it is necessary to
have patience and let nature take its way.

Subject: Re: French Proverb- find the origin ($10)
From: pinkfreud-ga on 12 Sep 2006 21:46 PDT
As mentioned by Scriptor, a very similar expression is an old French proverb. 

"On dit qu'il faut laisser pisser le mouton parce que c'est une bÍte
qui pisse longtemps."

In English: "It is said that it's necessary to let the sheep piss
because it's a beast that pisses for a long time."

According to the French webpage linked below, the phrase had its
origin in the 19th Century or earlier. People knew that if draft
animals such as cattle, horses, or oxen were not allowed to take
breaks for the purpose of urination, this could cause medical
disorders. So, during long trips using animal-drawn conveyances, there
were stops along the way to allow the animals to relieve themselves.

The substitution of a sheep in the phrase, instead of a draft animal,
was done as a joke.

If you read French, there's a good deal of information here:

Many citations of the French proverb may be found with a Google search:

Subject: Re: French Proverb- find the origin ($10)
From: toughcamper-ga on 13 Sep 2006 08:59 PDT

  Your answer is sufficient to warrant the $10 fee I offered.  I'm not
sure how to credit you with this, but if you let me know how, I would
gladly pay you for your response.


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