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Bag of tricks

Posted by ESC on October 27, 2003

In Reply to: Old bag of tricks posted by hecan on October 26, 2003

: any suggestions about the origins or meaning of this one
: thanks

BAG OF TRICKS - "All of one's resources; every expedient at one's command. In the fable of 'The Fox and the Cat,' as by the Brothers Grimm (and in a slightly different fashion by Aesop), the fox boasts that he is 'master of a hundred arts, and have into the bargain a sackful of cunning.' (In Aesop he says 'a hundred shifts,' meaning expedients.) They did not serve the fox well; when dogs chased the fox and cat, the cat reached safety by climbing a tree, but the fox was caught. 'Open your sack, Mr. Fox, open your sack,' the cat cried, but it was too late." From The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985).


A Fox was boasting to a Cat of its clever devices for escaping its enemies. "I have a whole bag of tricks," he said, "which contains a hundred ways of escaping my enemies." "I have only one," said the Cat; "but I can generally manage with that." Just at that moment they heard the cry of a pack of hounds coming towards them, and the Cat immediately scampered up a tree and hid herself in the boughs. "This is my plan," said the Cat. "What are you going to do?" The Fox thought first of one way, then of another, and while he was debating the hounds came nearer and nearer, and at last the Fox in his confusion was caught up by the hounds and soon killed by the huntsmen. Miss Puss, who had been looking on, said: "Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot reckon."


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