Origin of Phrase

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jnet:
Does anyone out there know the origin of the phrase "be careful what you wish for"?
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John O'Flaherty:
[nq:1]Does anyone out there know the origin of the phrase "be careful what you wish for"?[/nq]
Superstition.

john
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Donna Richoux:
[nq:1]Does anyone out there know the origin of the phrase "be careful what youwish for"?[/nq]
I'm pretty sure I used hear it labeled as a Spanish proverb. "Be careful what you wish for, for you may get it." It does not turn up in the Spanish section of a book of proverbs that I own, however. Not that proves anything it just fails to prove anything.

Scanning down a list of Google hits, I see it called an adage, saw, saying, moral, axiom nobody attributes it to anyone in particular, that I happen to see.

Best wishes Donna Richoux
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Laura F Spira:
[nq:2]Does anyone out there know the origin of the phrase "be careful what you[/nq]
[nq:1]wish for"? I'm pretty sure I used hear it labeled as a Spanish proverb. "Be careful what you wish for, ... called an adage, saw, saying, moral, axiom nobody attributes it to anyone in particular, that I happen to see.[/nq]
It's a version of a saying attributed to St Teresa of Avila about the unhappiness caused by wishes being granted. I know I looked it up a few weeks ago but I can't find it at the moment.

Laura
(emulate St. George for email)
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Bob Cunningham:
[nq:2]wish for"? I'm pretty sure I used hear it labeled ... it to anyone in particular, that I happen to see.[/nq]
[nq:1]It's a version of a saying attributed to St Teresa of Avila about the unhappiness caused by wishes being granted. I know I looked it up a few weeks ago but I can't find it at the moment.[/nq]
"We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified" is from Aesop (c. 550 BC) according to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations Sixteenth Edition . The source they quote is The Old Man and Death .
There's a footnote to that entry, quoting Oscar Wilde saying "When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers" in An Ideal Husband (1895) Act II .
Also James Russell Lowell: "Granting our wish one of fate's saddest jokes is."
And "Beware my lord! Beware lest stern Heaven hate you enough to hear your prayers! France, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard (1881), pt. II, ch. 4
I remember reading a short story in which an old couple somehow come into possession of a monkey's foot that will grant three wishes. Their son has died after being badly mutilated. Their first wish is for him to be alive again; the second, for him to come home to them. They hear him moaning in agony outside as he tries to approach the house. Their third wish is for him to be dead and back in his grave. Or something like that.
Come to think of it, the name of the story may have been The Monkey's Paw . In fact, Googling on "The Monkey's Paw" turns up a summary of the story at
http://www.english-zone.com/reading/paw0.html , where I find that I sorta remembered correctly, but the story's actually a little different, and there's an important part I had forgotten.
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Jerry Friedman:
...
[nq:1]"We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified" is from Aesop (c. 550 BC) according to Bartlett's ... hate you enough to hear your prayers! France, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard (1881), pt. II, ch. 4...[/nq]
I had to look that up.
Et comme à l' imprudent Thésée, une voix te dit :
craignez, seigneur, craignez que le ciel rigoureux ne vous haïsse assez pour exaucer vos voeux.
From . It looks to me and like "grant your wishes", not "hear your prayers".
This quotation may mean that the idea goes back to some version of the myth of Theseus.

Jerry Friedman
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Simon R. Hughes:
Thus spake Jerry Friedman:
[nq:2]"We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified" ... The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard (1881), pt. II, ch. 4[/nq]
[nq:1]... I had to look that up. Et comme à l' imprudent Thésée, une voix te dit : craignez, seigneur, ... "hear your prayers". This quotation may mean that the idea goes back to some version of the myth of Theseus.[/nq]
To me, the first looks like Queen Victoria, the second like Yoda, and the third like Baldric.

Simon R. Hughes
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sage:
[nq:2]It's a version of a saying attributed to St Teresa ... weeks ago but I can't find it at the moment.[/nq]
[nq:1]"We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified" is from Aesop (c. 550 BC) according to Bartlett's ... that I sorta remembered correctly, but the story's actually a little different, and there's an important part I had forgotten.[/nq]
It's also a play in which The Coarse Actor can have a field day.

Cheers, Sage
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