Posted by ESC on July 12, 2005
In Reply to: Curiosity killed posted by Shae on July 12, 2005
: : a long time ago I heard the phrase curiosity killed,satisfaction brought him back.... there was a third part to this saying and I can not remember it, people I ask have never even heard of the second part of the phrase let alone the third, please help my sanity as well as my stature in the community depends on finding the answer
: I've heard: 'Curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought him back,' but I've never heard any more than that.
Here's all I know (from the archives):
CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT - Anyone who has cats knows they tend to poke their feline noses everywhere. That could be dangerous. The Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Titelman states: "An overly inquisitive person is likely to get hurt. Children are usually warned against curiosity. The proverb was first attested in the United States in 1909. In 1921, it was used by (playwright) Eugene O'Neill.(A variation is) 'Curiosity killed the cat: satisfaction brought him back.'" Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New (1993, Avon Books) by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner has a more detailed explanation: "There is nothing new about the annoying tendency of some people to ask one question too many. Proverbial admonitions to the overly curious date back to ancient times, but 'Curiosity killed the cat' is apparently a recent invention. Of the earlier sayings, Saint Augustine recorded in 'Confessions' the story of a curious soul who wondered what God did in the eons before creating heaven and earth. 'He fashioned hell for the inquisitive,' came the stern reply, and proverbial sayings of more recent times have been no less forgiving. The seventeenth-century saying, "He that pryeth into every cloud may be struck with a thunderbolt,' appeared in John Clarke's 'Paroemiologia' , and in the nineteenth century, Lord Byron in 'Don Juan' roundly condemned the curious with 'I loathe that low vice curiosity.' An old saw, 'Care (worry) killed the cat.,' dated from Shakespeare's time, but the connection between a cat and curiosity, however natural it may seem now, was not made until a reference to the current proverb appeared in 1909. The adaptation, 'Curiosity can do more things than kill a cat,' was recorded in O. Henry's short story 'Schools and Schools' , and the exact wording of the proverb appeared later in Eugene O'Neill's 'Diff'rent' .