Ye cats and little fishes
Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 19, 2009 at 07:33
In Reply to: Ye cats and little fishes posted by Smokey Stover on April 18, 2009 at 16:56:
: : Referencing a December 10, 2005 query re: "Hells bells and little fishes," someone asked if anyone else had heard "Ye cats and little fishes." That was/is common in my family - in CA since the early 1900s, with ties to Canada/England in the 1700/1800s.
: : Our "Hells bells" was used plain, but awhile back, I learned from a friend born circa the 50s, in London, that "Hells bells, and buckets of blood" was used in her circle!
: I believe that the item in our archive that you saw can be found at:
: www.phrases.org.uk bulletin_board 44 messages 869.html
: At the end of that thread someone said that a search via Google yielded 29 results for "Ye cats and little fishes." It was fairly often heard in my college years, which took place back in the last millennium, near the banks of the Mohawk River, and it has become part of my expressive vocabulary. I believe that it was used by some members of the U.S. Armed Forces in World War II, but that doesn't necessarily bear on the question of origin.
: I haven't heard anyone actually use the "buckets of blood" extension, but it appears in our archive, perhaps with some other antecedent.
"Ye cats and little fishes" sounds like a mincing of "Ye gods and little fishes", once widepread and not entirely died out in the UK. "Hell's bells and buckets of blood" was indeed common in my (London, 1950s-60s) chldhood. My father, when greatly irked, would say "...and buckets of brightly burning blood!" but I think that was his own invention; I've neevr heard anyone else say that. (VSD)