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Why doesn't the mouse bite a thread?


If someone says "The mouse doesn't bite a thread", it means that one thing is unchangeable, there is nothing to be done - it's just like that. But what does that have to do with mice that nibble on threads - or maybe not? The explanations are varied! Why doesn't the mouse bite a thread? - Image: Shutterstock / CreativeNature.nl

Probably the most likely interpretation of the saying "Since the mouse does not bite a thread" goes back to the fable "The Lion and the Mouse". In this story, the cute little animal frees the big lion from a net by biting through the threads. Had she not done so, the lion would still be stuck and could not have done anything about it.

Elsewhere it is said that the saying goes back to the craft of a tailor who touted the quality of his work with the saying "There is no thread on the mouse". He wanted to say that his customer's fabric was in good hands with him, since no mouse would bite any threads here.

Treacherous trap: the mouse does not bite a thread without bait

Another explanation could be that this saying goes back to an old mouse trap design. Here the little rodent had to bite through a thin rope before he finally got the bait and succumbed to his fate. If there was no bait, the mouse did not bite any thread.

Or maybe an old tradition of food storage is responsible for the phrase. To keep food supplies safe from mice, they were often attached to the ceiling with a cord. The mouse cannot bite the thread that high.

Finally, Saint Gertrude von Nivelles may have had her fingers in the game. During the spinning she was constantly disturbed by a mouse, which bit off the thread. The little animal just wanted to remind her that she should put the spindle down and instead help with the harvest. So if you helped well on the field, the mouse didn't bite a thread.

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