“Everything’s Lovely and the Goose Hangs High!”

I was born and reared in Paris, Illinois.   Recently I learned that the saying,  “Everything’s lovely and the goose hangs high” originated in Paris.  I had never heard of the expression before, but curious I researched it.  I certainly encountered quite a few examples of the use of the expression, normally in works that dated from early in the last century.   I ultimately found out that the expression originated from a cruel “sport” popular around Paris long before I was born in 1957.  It was called goose pulling.  A goose was tied by its neck to a branch on a tree.  Horsemen then would compete to ride by the goose and to pull it from the tree.  The successful competitor would rip the goose from the tree by the neck , killing the goose and being awarded the carcass for his “skill”.

I cite this grim “sport” as an example of how times change.  Back in the nineteenth century this activity was viewed as a jolly fun activity.  Today it would be considered felony animal cruelty.  The dying out of this “sport” is no doubt why I never became familiar with this phrase while I was growing up in Paris, for which I am thankful.

Published in: on November 29, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments (5)  
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  1. Sound’s like TURKEY SHOOT’s were quite mild in Illinois. I have heard the saying “three sheets to the wind” used in a couple of ways and wondering the origen. One use was for a drunkard and the other way was for one/or something going very fast and or doing multiple things. ???

  2. I always thought 3 sheets to the wind came from the old sail ships.

  3. Correct!

  4. yes and I can see where a three masted schooner with “three sheets to the wind” would be used to refer to speed or efficiency. BUT where would it be associated with being a drunkard???

    • A ship underway sways, a lot.

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