Prompt for the week: 23rd February – 28th February 2015
An idiom is a phrase that does not make literal sense. Idioms may be among the most difficult concepts in English for foreigners to understand. For example, the phrase “kick the bucket” is interpreted as the act of dying. Taken literally, though, neither the kick nor the bucket has any apparent relationship to the meaning of the phrase.
Select an idiom. Then make up a story that could explain the idiom’s origin, or show how it came to be. Use your imagination–the tale need not be true. Show, don’t tell. Be sure to identify the idiom at start or finish.
If you need ideas, you might refer to
In 500 words or less, create a story that might explain the
origin of an idiom.
Does the explanation seem plausible? Does the story do a good job of showing how the idiom came to be coined? Was the writing imaginative and interesting?
Trial and Error
I was may be 14 or 15 then. It was Saturday night, time for Gandma Veni’s ritual of storytelling. She sat on the diwan and we quickly took our seats on the mat spread across on the floor.
“No questions before I finish the story, agreed?” Grandma questioned.
“Agreed,” Our voices echoed in unison.
The room went mute for a few seconds.
“This happened a long time ago. When sundial was the only way to tell time and humanity still lived in caves and the only known occupation was hunting and gathering, for food.”
She paused and continued, “One day, a tall, well-built man, clad in leopard skin wrapped at his waist holding a spear came out of the cave. He walked with back straight and head held high towards the crowd awaiting his speech.
His name was Chief-Bozoh. In a base-voice he said, ‘Halaa my people.’
‘Halaa,’ The crowd reciprocated the greeting.
Bozoh said, ‘The stream of our water source is drying and we need to migrate to find another spring. We will begin our journey in two moons from now. Also, I want to bring to your notice a new discovery that came to light, today.’
He bent down and picked a bunch of red berries on the ground. They hung by their stem. He held them high for everyone to see and said, ‘ Today, our method of trial and error brought us new insights into nature and our surroundings. See these red berries with black tips? These are poisonous. They kill. We learnt that from these two little boys.’
He then placed the berries on the ground and called the boys to the forefront and introduced them. Everyone clapped.
Chief Bozoh said to one of them, ‘Sky-clad, tell everyone what happened.’
The 10 year old boy cam forward, took a customary-bow, looking gloomy said, ‘My friend Cloud-garland and I were walking Simba our tiger-cub in the nearby forest and found these berries. They looked luscious, red and edible. We picked them and wanted to taste them.”
Cloud-garland said, “My mother said not to taste anything that is not tested.”
Looking at his friend Sky-clad said, ‘My mother said the same. We thought for a while and then my friend said, ‘Let’s feed them to Simba.’ And we did,’ and started weeping looking at his friend. Chief Bozoh consoled him by hugging him trying to pacify the child.
‘We killed our cat today,’ said Sky-clad sobbing.
‘Curiosity killed the cat,’ said Chief Bozoh.
“And that is The End,” said grandma Veni.
“Killed as in metaphorically or literally?” Asked my older, curious cousin Vidur (his nickname: question-bank).
“You decide,” said Grandma.
That day, I learnt how the idiom ‘Curiosity killed the cat’ came to life.