Posted by RRC on August 18, 2007
In Reply to: Throw someone to the wolves posted by ESC on August 18, 2007
: : "Throw someone to the wolves." In "My Antonia" Willa Cather attributes to two of her characters, immigrant brothers from Russia, the Russian incident of the wedding party in sleighs attacked by a huge pack of wolves. They throw the bride to the wolves in order to save themselves. Shunned, they emigrate to the US. The incident may well be a Russian urban legend, something that happened to "a friend of a cousin of babushka's milkman". In any event, for definition purposes I think that the key element of the act is doing it to save yourself.
: Wow. Throwing a bride to the wolves!
The phrase predates Willa Cather's 1918 book. It's rather putting the cart before the wolf to automatically assume that any story that is somewhat similar to an idiom is the source or true meaning.