Farmer Ruth Mylroie watches a chicken laying an egg v a young visitor throughout a institution tour of brand-new Harmony Farm. This farm yard is well-known for its humane therapy of that chickens.

You are watching: Counting your chickens before they hatch


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Hello and also welcome to Words and Their Stories.

Each week, us tell the story of English language words and expressions – some old, and others new.

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

A proverb is a short, popular saying that supplies a item of advice. Our instance of a proverb takes us to a farm yard – a chicken farm, to be exact.

Our explanation is component science, component folklore.

First, the science.

You probably understand that chicken come native eggs. A female chicken or hen lays eggs and then they hatch into chicks. Well, not every one of them. Part eggs do not have actually a baby bird.

So, at our farm, a hen produce 15 eggs. If the farmer counts the eggs, she might expect to have 15 chicks when the eggs space hatched. But then 5 of those eggs do not hatch. Her expectations were not met, so she feel disappointed. She tells her friend just how sad she feels. The friend may say come her, “Well, don’t count her chicken before they hatch.

Another means of speak this proverb is: “Don’t count your chickens until they are hatched.”

So, this proverb method you need to not rely on something that has actually yet to happen. The is unwise to do plans based upon something the hasn’t happened. Another definition of this proverb is this: perform not assume to have every little thing you want until you actually have it in her hands.

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

“Don’t count your chickens until they room hatched” is a very old saying. Language specialists say it shows up in various forms and in countless different cultures. It is additionally used in Aesop"s Fables, a collection of stories from in between 1,300 and also 1,400 year ago.

The fable we space talking around is well-known as “The Milkmaid and Her Pail.” A long time ago, a young woman carried a bucket the milk on her head. As she walked, the milkmaid dreamy of a much better life. She want to be rich. So, she thought she could sell she milk and also then use the money come buy chickens. V chickens she could sell eggs and earn much more money!

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

When she said her mom what happened, her mommy said, “My child, carry out not count your chickens before they are hatched.”

So, that is the folklore from Aesop’s Fables. Now, let’s hear exactly how to usage this expression in day-to-day speech.

John and Samantha room friends. Both are trying to find jobs. Man just had actually a task interview the job before and cannot wait to tell Samantha all around it.

Samantha, just how is your job search going?

It’s walking okay. Ns spoke through two potential employers critical week and I need to hear something back soon. But for currently I’m still conserving all the money I have the right to from mine part-time work. How around you?

I had a good interview yesterday! In fact, afterward, the woman i spoke with talked as if ns was already her employee!

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

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

Wait a minute, John. Did girlfriend actually obtain something in creating from the company?

Well, not yet.

Did girlfriend actually authorize a contract?

Well, no yet …

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

What execute you mean? The project is a certain thing.

Nothing is guaranteed, John. So, you know, don’t gain your really hopes up. That way, you i will not ~ be disappointed if points don’t occupational out.

So, i should more than likely return the expensive clothes and also briefcase I simply bought because that the job?

I think so. Maybe for best now.

Let’s store our finger crossed for John. Hopefully, all his eggs will hatch and also he’ll gain that high-paying job.

And that’s every we have actually for you today. Sign up with us again next week for one more Words and Their Stories.

I’m Anna Matteo.

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

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Words in This Story

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

lay – v. to create an egg

hatch – v. to come the end of an egg

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

assume – v. to think the something is true or most likely true without knowing that that is true