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Re: Au Contraire

Posted by Masakim on March 22, 2002

In Reply to: Re: Au Contraire posted by TheFallen on March 21, 2002

: : : : : See
: : : : : http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/8/messages/978.html

: : : :
: : : : Hi!

: : : : Thanks for the response. Actually, that article is exactly where I first saw this proverb, but that still doesn't tell me what it's origin is...

: : : : Anyone?

: : : : Thanks!
: : : : Mario.

: : :
: : : To be brutally clear, it's a J.K. Rowling adaptation of an ancient proverb that is still with us, namely "let sleeping dogs lie", which was I believe around in much the same form in Roman times.

: : Yes, I think so.
: : The proverb "Let sleeping dogs lie" was used by Chaucer in _Troilus and Criseyde_:
: : "It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake."

: : It is also found in other European languages. For example, the Medieval French version is "N'esveillez pas lou chien qui dort."

: : J. K. Rowling may have changed a monosyllabic and mundane "dog" into a magical and mythical "dragon."

: While not doubting the ever-resourceful Masakim's information for even a second, it's worth idly pointing out that the French, who are a contrary bunch at the best of times, have a more modern idiom, namely "ne pas reveiller le chat qui dort ", or literally "don't wake a sleeping cat".

_dictionnaire des proverbes sentences et maximes_ (References Larousse, 1986) gives in its index:

Ne reveillez pas le [chat] (chien, lion) qui dort -> PRUDENCE.

However, the entry PRUDENCE doesn't give a "chat" version.

Anglais. --N'eveillez pas le lion qui dort.
(Philip Sidney, _The Arcadia_, IV [1590])

Francais. --Ne reveillez pas le chien qui dort.
(_Proverbia vulgalia et latina_, manuscrit du XIIIe s., Leyde.)

BTW, "sleeping dragon" reminds me of a film titled "Crouching Tiger, Sleeping Dragon," directed by Ang Lee.