Smile like a cheshire cat

Posted by Bob on December 19, 1999

In Reply to: Smile like a cheshire cat posted by Henry Williams on December 19, 1999

: : I belive the true origin of smile like a cheshire cat actually comes way before Lewis Carroll wrote his books on Alice's adventures in Wonderland. I belive it was a court jester whose name was Cat Kaitlin from Cheshire. People wanted to be as happy as the court jester and the term smile like the Cheshire cat was this a tribute to him.

: : Let me know

: All my efforts to verify that a court jester named Cat Kaitlin ever existed have come to nought. However Kaitlin is a a variant of the Celtic name Kathleen and also has Greek origins. It certainly does not appear very high in the ranking of popular family names in Cheshire: in fact I've not found it at all, not even skulking at the bottom of the list.

: Where am I going wrong? Where's the evidence?

I can't find my copy of Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice anywhere, but if someone has a copy at hand I believe there's a footnote explaining why the Cheshire cat is from Cheshire. If memory serves. (Of course, that's same memory that misplaced the book....)