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Krylov’s Idioms (part 2)

Today, I have chosen to explain you idioms that comes from two famous fables of Krylov.

Лебедь, Рак и Щука

Лебедь, Рак и Щука (The swan, the Crab and the Pike, actually in English the title is the Swan, the Pike and the Crab) is the title of one of Krylov’s fables as well as a citation which became a idiom.

It is said in that fable that once the Swan, the Crab and the Pike tried to pull a loaded cab together, but each in its own way: “Лебедь рвётся в облака, Рак пятится назад, а Щука тянет в воду” (The swan flew high into the sky, the crab went backwards and the pike went into the deep water).

As a result the cab didn’t move, and the fable ends with the words “…воз и ныне там” (… but the cab is still there until this very day) has also became a idiom. If you happened to encounter a situation where several people who have to do something in common can’t agree and constantly argue, they can be called “Лебедь, Рак и Щука” (the Swan, the Crab and the Pike), and about the result of the work they should have done we can say “воз и ныне там” (the cab is till there until this very day).

Лиса и Сурок

Рыльце в пуху (to have a finger in the pie or literally to have some down on the snout) is a idiom we owe to one of Krylov’s fables “Лиса и Сурок” (The Fox and the Marmot).

It tells the story of a fox who complains to the marmot about an unjust accusation: everybody is convinced that he ate a chicken in the hen house where he serves as a judge. The fox ask the marmot to defend him and to give evidence for his honest services. But the marmot replies: “Нет, кумушка; я видывал частенько, что рыльце у тебя в пуху” (Not, this is gossip; I’ve often seen you with down on your snout).

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As you may have guessed, this expression is used когда человек пытается скрыть то, что скрыть невозможно (when a person tries to hide a fact that is impossible to hide).

Тамара Мелентьева