Farmer Ruth Mylroie watches a chicken laying one egg through a young visitor during a institution tour of new Harmony Farm. This farm is well-known for that is humane treatment of that chickens.

You are watching: Who said do not count your chickens before they are hatched



Hello and welcome come Words and Their Stories.

Each week, us tell the story of English language words and expressions – some old, and others new.

Today we talk about a proverb regularly used in American English.

A proverb is a short, popular saying that supplies a item of advice. Our instance of a proverb takes us to a farm yard – a chicken farm, to it is in exact.

Our explanation is component science, part folklore.

First, the science.

You probably understand that chicken come from eggs. A mrs chicken or hen lays eggs and also then castle hatch into chicks. Well, not every one of them. Some eggs carry out not have a baby bird.

So, in ~ our farm, a hen to produce 15 eggs. If the farmer counts the eggs, she can expect to have 15 chicks once the eggs room hatched. But then 5 of those eggs carry out not hatch. She expectations were no met, for this reason she feeling disappointed. She tells she friend exactly how sad she feels. The friend might say come her, “Well, don’t count your chicken before they hatch.

Another method of speak this proverb is: “Don’t count your chickens until they are hatched.”

So, this proverb way you should not rely on miscellaneous that has actually yet to happen. The is unwise to make plans based on something the hasn’t happened. Another an interpretation of this proverb is this: perform not assume come have every little thing you want until you actually have it in her hands.

Now, let’s talk about the folklore component of our explanation.

“Don’t count your chickens until they room hatched” is a an extremely old saying. Language specialists say it shows up in various forms and also in plenty of different cultures. The is also used in Aesop"s Fables, a arsenal of stories from between 1,300 and 1,400 years ago.

The fable we are talking around is well-known as “The Milkmaid and also Her Pail.” A lengthy time ago, a young woman carried a bucket of milk on she head. As she walked, the milkmaid dreamed of a much better life. She wanted to be rich. So, she assumed she can sell she milk and also then use the money come buy chickens. With chickens she could sell eggs and earn more money!

With several money, the milkmaid might shake she head “no” to every the guys in her town who wanted her hand in marriage. The young mrs was so captured up in she thoughts the she in reality shook her head “no.” This resulted in the pail that milk to autumn from her head and crash to the ground. In addition to it -- her desires of becoming rich and independent.

When she told her mom what happened, her mom said, “My child, do not count her chickens prior to they room hatched.”

So, that is the folklore indigenous Aesop’s Fables. Now, let’s hear exactly how to use this expression in daily speech.

John and also Samantha room friends. Both are searching for jobs. Man just had actually a task interview the job before and also cannot wait come tell Samantha all about it.

Samantha, just how is your job search going?

It’s going okay. Ns spoke with two potential employers last week and I must hear something ago soon. Yet for currently I’m still saving all the money I have the right to from mine part-time work. How about you?

I had actually a an excellent interview yesterday! In fact, afterward, the woman i spoke through talked as if i was currently her employee!

Wow! That’s an excellent news, John. An excellent for you!

Thanks! and the best thing … the salary is great. I’ll be able to buy a townhouse. In fact, I have actually an appointment today to look at one, right near my new job! I’ll have actually a permanent job and also a brand-new home in less than a month!

Wait a minute, John. Did friend actually obtain something in writing from the company?

Well, not yet.

Did friend actually authorize a contract?

Well, no however …

A small friendly advice, John. You nothing officially have the job. So, shot not to count your chickens prior to they hatch.

What carry out you mean? The project is a sure thing.

Nothing is guaranteed, John. So, friend know, don’t gain your really hopes up. That way, you i will not ~ be disappointed if points don’t work out.

So, ns should probably return the expensive clothes and also briefcase I simply bought for the job?

I think so. Perhaps for best now.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for John. Hopefully, every his eggs will certainly hatch and also he’ll get that high-paying job.

And that’s all we have actually for you today. Sign up with us again next week for another Words and also Their Stories.

I’m Anna Matteo.

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Ibrahim Onefeko composed this story. Anna Matteo and also George prosper were the editors. The song at the end is “Don’t Count your Chickens before They Hatch,” written and also performed by country singer/songwriter Tommy Ray.


Words in This Story

folklore – n. traditional customs, beliefs, stories, and sayings

lay – v. to produce an egg

hatch – v. to come out of an egg

disappoint – adj. to failure to meet the expectation or expect of

assume – v. to think the something is true or most likely true without discovering that it is true