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Origins of Sayings - Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

About the history and origins behind the famous saying don't count your chickens before they are hatched.

Stories behind Famous Sayings

The Saying: DON'T COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY ARE HATCHED.

Who Said It: Aesop

When: c. 570 B.C.

The Story behind It: This saying occurs in the fable "The Milkmaid and Her Pail." Patty, a farmer's daughter, is daydreaming as she walks to town with a pail of milk balanced on her head. Her thoughts: "The milk in this pail will provide me with cream, which I will make into butter, which I will sell in the market, and buy a dozen eggs, which will hatch into chickens, which will lay more eggs, and soon I shall have a large poultry yard. I'll sell some of the fowls and buy myself a handsome new gown and go to the fair, and when the young fellows try to make love to me, I'll toss my head and pass them by." At that moment, Patty tossed her head and lost the pailful of milk. Her mother admonished, "Do not count your chickens before they are hatched."

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