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The snail was on the thorn

Posted by Smokey Stover on May 24, 2007

In Reply to: The snail was on the thorn posted by Mat Slater on May 24, 2007

: In the British novel, "Don't point that thing at me," by Kyril Bonfiglioli, there is a phrase used several times, which has me baffled. It is "The snail was on the thorn." Alternatively, "No snail in its right mind would even think about climbing the thorn," or "The snail was positively striding up it's favorite thorn." It is apparent from the context that the term is part of a commentary on how pleasant or unpleasant the day will be. However, I'm completely missing what snails, thorns, and their relative status may have to do with the day's events. Any info would be appreciated.

You'll have to ask Robert Browning why snails would be on the thorn.

Robert Browning. 1812-1889
Pippa's Song
THE year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearl'd;
The lark's on the wing; 5
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven-
All's right with the world!