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Hens, Roosters and Foxes

Posted by Word Camel on February 06, 2002

Recently, I used the expression, "He as happy as a rooster in the hen house." when talking to a German friend. She said she didn't quite understand what I meant.

After an awkward conversation of just why a rooster might be happy to be in the hen house, (she didn't know much about chickens - except that she thinks I'm wicked for eating them), I learned but that the same expression in German except that it's a fox, not a rooster, and the connotation is somewhat more sinister.

Anyway, I'm curious about a few things: Does the fox version of the phrase exist in English or does the fox factor point to subtle differences in national character? Is the rooster version more British(because I almost certainly picked it up there? Are there other phrases like this that change like this across cultures?

Just wondering,

Camel