Posted by Bob on February 27, 2005
In Reply to: A friend in need is a friend indeed posted by /fred on February 27, 2005
: : : : what exactly does this mean. Surely the person helping the needy one is the true friend!
: : : A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED -- Someone who comes to your aid when you're in difficulty is a true friend. Here is the opposite of the fair-weather friend. The thought is old enough to have a Latin version and variants in medieval English going back to 1275. The modern version is close at hand in Richard Whytford's 'Werke for Householders' : 'A true frende loueth at all tymes and neuer feyleth at nede.'" From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).
: : I would agree that the phrse suggests that the friend who is in need is the true friend, this may be based on the fact that if a person is in need of help then they would go to their closest friend. this is the person they would trust with their life. To give anyone this trust is surely a sign of true friendship?
: Elizabeth. You're right. The expression doesn't make sense. It's like 'You cannot have your cake and eat it.' You can.
Check the archives. We've explained this before. Try thinking of it this way: (a person who remains) a friend in (time of) need is a friend indeed. The opposite is a fair-weather friend. AND... speaking of well-plowed ground, once you eat the cake you no longer have it.