Thursday, May 04, 2006

Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

As I am close to glory in Fantasy Football I have said this to many people who think I have it won and those who aren't so sure have been quick to point this out to me.

This is defined as "Don’t assume that you’ll get the things you want until you have them" on this site and thanks to this site, it originates from Aesop's fable "The Milkmaid and Her Pail."

'Patty, a farmer's daughter, is daydreaming as she walks to town with a pail of milk balanced on her head. Her thoughts: "The milk in this pail will provide me with cream, which I will make into butter, which I will sell in the market, and buy a dozen eggs, which will hatch into chickens, which will lay more eggs, and soon I shall have a large poultry yard. I'll sell some of the fowls and buy myself a handsome new gown and go to the fair, and when the young fellows try to make love to me, I'll toss my head and pass them by." At that moment, Patty tossed her head and lost the pailful of milk. Her mother admonished, "Do not count your chickens before they are hatched."'

Literally, it refers to the fact that in any group of chicken eggs, some are not likely to be born. A foolish farmer would think "There are ten eggs there, so I can expect to have ten chickens running around." According to the adage, though, a more realistic farmer would wait until they were actually hatched and adjust his farming plans based on how many were born. If any fail to hatch, the foolish farmer is caught off guard. The realistic farmer already expects to adjust, so he is much better off. (

I would say I can now assume I have got what I wanted which was to win the league at work. I would also say i'm now well past the pail stage as I am quite certain I will have won enough to buy myself a new shirt (gown) to go to the bar (fair) in. Luckily I am yet to have young fellows trying to make love to me. Sadly I there have been no offers from young ladies yet so maybe that's the appropriate stage of the fable.

Literally, where £1000 = 1 egg, I have 125 eggs of which I'm 95% certain that 10 have hatched successfully. 40 eggs are close to hatching while the other 75 will hatch or die after the cup final. Foolish accountant I am not and therefore I have not made any concrete spending plans because I know not to count my chickens before they hatch!


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