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I'm reading Tom Sawyer now.

There is the following sentence: "Anybody that'll take a dare will steal sheep."
I can't find anywhere the definition of "steal sheep".

Of course, when I was a child I read this book in Russian.
Now I recognize that the interpreter wasn't too accurate in his translation ))) The huge part of American slang was ignored.
In his interpretation this phrase sounds as "If you try to do it you won't be happy"

Could anybody tell the real meaning of this phrase and probably the history of its appearing.
I wonder what is the link between stealling sheep and threatening?
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Tom Sawyer was written in 1884, a time when most people in the US earned their livelihood by ranching and farming.
Criminals found stealing livestock, particularly cattle, would be hanged. It was a very serious crime.
So "stealing sheep" alludes to taking a big risk.
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AlpheccaStarsSo "stealing sheep" alludes to taking a big risk.
Thank you, IC.
Do people use this idiom now or is it out-of-date in modern English?
Elena Menshikovais it out-of-date in modern English?
Out of date. The only place I've ever seen it is in Tom Sawyer!

CJ
CalifJimOut of date. The only place I've ever seen it is in Tom Sawyer!
Thank you. I'll try to forget this idiom as quickly as possible for I have already learnt it )))
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I've found this definition from the Urban Dictionary:

Using others' ideas and knowledge instead of putting in any effort to come up withe your own.
Background: "Anyone who would letterspace lower case would steal sheep." Frederic Goudy, the most prolific and well-known American type designer of the 20th century,Stop stealing sheep and find out how to do it yourself. There is a book about typography that mention this frase titled " Stop stealing Sheep & find out how type works" by Erik Spiekermann.

This phrase means to take a big risk. I think that it is not used enough to be a common idiom but is a good one nonetheless.