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Someone stepped on your grave

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on January 03, 2009 at 12:23

In Reply to: Someone stepped on your grave posted by Julie Butler on January 03, 2009 at 09:18:

: The old saying "someone stepped on your grave" after shivering. This came from an outbreak of small pox in 1804. People knew that shivering meant you were going to be ill/contracting small pox soon, and then stepping into your grave. Many poems were written in 1804 regarding this topic.

Can you cite any? I mean poems that directly attribute this phrase to this epidemic? Where was this epidemic anyway - in North America or Britain? This sounds deeply unconvincing, especially as (a) shivering is only one of the early symptoms of smallpox - if you started shivering with the onset of smallpox you would also have muscle pain, headache, etc, just as in influenza; and (b) what's the connection between stepping *into* your own grave and someone else stepping *on* your grave? (Not to mention the common variant "a goose stepped on my grave"?) (VSD)