Farmer Ruth Mylroie city hall a chicken laying one egg with a young visitor during a institution tour of brand-new Harmony Farm. This farm is recognized for the humane therapy of the chickens.

You are watching: Count your chickens before they hatch


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Hello and also welcome come Words and Their Stories.

Each week, us tell the story that English language words and also expressions – part old, and others new.

Today us talk about a proverb frequently used in American English.

A proverb is a short, renowned saying that offers a piece of advice. Our example of a proverb takes united state to a farm yard – a chicken farm, to be exact.

Our explanation is part science, part folklore.

First, the science.

You probably recognize that chicken come indigenous eggs. A mrs chicken or hen lays eggs and then lock hatch into chicks. Well, not all of them. Part eggs execute not have actually a infant bird.

So, at our farm, a hen to produce 15 eggs. If the farmer counts the eggs, she might expect to have 15 chicks once the eggs room hatched. However then five of those eggs do not hatch. Her expectations were not met, so she feeling disappointed. She tells her friend how sad she feels. The friend might say come her, “Well, don’t count her chicken prior to they hatch.

Another way of saying this proverb is: “Don’t count her chickens until they are hatched.”

So, this proverb method you must not count on other that has yet to happen. The is unwise to do plans based on something the hasn’t happened. Another an interpretation of this proverb is this: carry out not assume to have whatever you want until you actually have actually it in your hands.

Now, let’s talk around the folklore part of ours explanation.

“Don’t count her chickens until they are hatched” is a an extremely old saying. Language professionals say it appears in different forms and also in many different cultures. The is likewise used in Aesop"s Fables, a collection of stories from between 1,300 and 1,400 years ago.

The fable we are talking around is known as “The Milkmaid and also Her Pail.” A lengthy time ago, a young woman carried a bucket that milk on she head. Together she walked, the milkmaid dreamy of a far better life. She wanted to it is in rich. So, she thought she might sell she milk and also then usage the money to buy chickens. With chickens she can sell eggs and also earn more money!

With several money, the milkmaid could shake she head “no” to all the guys in her village who want her hand in marriage. The young woman was so caught up in her thoughts the she in reality shook her head “no.” This led to the pail that milk to loss from her head and crash to the ground. In addition to it -- her dreams of ending up being rich and independent.

When she said her mother what happened, her mom said, “My child, carry out not count your chickens prior to they space hatched.”

So, that is the folklore native Aesop’s Fables. Now, stop hear how to use this expression in everyday speech.

John and Samantha room friends. Both are searching for jobs. Man just had actually a project interview the work before and also cannot wait to tell Samantha all about it.

Samantha, how is your job search going?

It’s going okay. Ns spoke v two potential employers last week and also I should hear something ago soon. However for now I’m still conserving all the money I have the right to from my part-time work. How around you?

I had a an excellent interview yesterday! In fact, afterward, the woman ns spoke with talked together if ns was already her employee!

Wow! That’s an excellent news, John. Great for you!

Thanks! and also the best thing … the salary is great. I’ll have the ability to buy a townhouse. In fact, I have actually an appointment today to look at one, right near my brand-new job! I’ll have a full-time job and also a new home in less than a month!

Wait a minute, John. Did you actually gain something in creating from the company?

Well, no yet.

Did you actually sign a contract?

Well, no yet …

A tiny friendly advice, John. You don’t officially have actually the job. So, shot not to count her chickens prior to they hatch.

What carry out you mean? The task is a sure thing.

Nothing is guaranteed, John. So, you know, don’t get your wishes up. The way, you won’t be disappointed if things don’t occupational out.

So, ns should most likely return the expensive clothes and also briefcase I simply bought for the job?

I think so. Maybe for best now.

Let’s keep our finger crossed because that John. Hopefully, all his eggs will certainly hatch and he’ll obtain that high-paying job.

And that’s all we have for you today. Join us again next week for another Words and also Their Stories.

I’m Anna Matteo.

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Ibrahim Onefeko wrote this story. Anna Matteo and George grow were the editors. The song at the finish is “Don’t Count your Chickens before They Hatch,” written and also performed by nation singer/songwriter Tommy Ray.

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Words in This Story

folklore – n. traditional customs, beliefs, stories, and sayings

lay – v. to develop an egg

hatch – v. to come the end of one egg

disappoint – adj. to fail to fulfill the expectation or hope of

assume – v. to think that something is true or most likely true without learning that it is true