Cat for hare

Nick Lloyd enters 2007 a feedless and no doubt unrepentant Luddite, but he’s got an excellent story over at Iberianature (13/12/2006) about José Sideburns and his lynx waistcoat, re which:

Francesc Candel‘s Han matado un hombre, han roto el paisaje (Antonio Rabinad recently sold me a copy at Sant Antoni) derives its dramatic strength in part from a carefully dosed litany of stupendous cruelty pre-war to animals, of which I’ll post some one of these days.

Vender/dar gato por liebre is older, too: Corde dates one example to c1450 (“I’m blacker than pepper, but I don’t bag dogs [Dunno what this is, although it’s still common, albeit illegal, practice to bag superfluous puppies and kittens prior to drowning them], and I never sold bad bread or saffron, nor cat for hare.”), it turns up in the C16th (including in the Diálogos de John Minsheu alongside mule for beef and water for wine), Cervantes uses it in Quijote, and Lorenzo Franciosini’s 1796 Italian-Spanish vocabulary on GBS defines it as showing someone the moon in a well.

Those slippery Catholics are notorious for this kind of thing, but our own Elizabeth I was having none of it: “Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.”

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