The meaning of, and background to, the well-known expression "Don't Count Your Chickens Before They're Hatched.

Well-Known Expressions

Don't Count Your Chickens Before They're Hatched

Meaning:

Don't assume anything is certain until you have it in your hand (in the case of money for example) or see it for yourself.

Background:

This saying is the moral of one of Aesop's fables. A milkmaid is given a pail of milk by her employer. She knows the doctor will buy the milk for a shilling and spends the journey thinking about how she will buy eggs with the shilling, which will hatch into chicks, which she can then sell for a guinea, which she will then use to buy a hat. Then she spills the milk!

Note: My reference sources tell this story using shillings (5 English pennies in pre-decimalization currency - i.e. pre 1970s) and guineas (21 shillings). However, on the assumption that Aesop didn't use pounds, shillings and pence in Ancient Greece - please feel free to substitute the currency of your choice!

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