Friday, April 16, 2010

When Pigs Fly

Maybe I’ve been watching The Discovery Channel too much lately, but when it shows how whales once walked the earth (or was it how elephants swam the seas?) the idea of pigs flying doesn’t seem that remote after all. We get only four limbs, divided among arms, legs and wings. But here’s how others express the concept.

In Spanish, the reference is to St. John at the Last Supper, where his index finger is raised: “When St. John bends his finger,” or “When frogs grow hair.”

In French, they say, “When hens have teeth.” Portuguese say, “When snakes smoke,” or, “On St. Never’s Day in the afternoon,” while Brazilians show their disbelief by saying, “Not even if a cow coughs,” or, “In February 31.”

The Dutch don’t worry about pigs flying, but say, “Yeah, when Easter and Pentecost are on the same day.” Similarly, in Sweden, it’s “Two Thursdays in the same week,” or “Two Sundays in the same week.”

In Latvia, they say, “When the stone (or rock) won’t sink.” Over in Malay, their “When pigs fly” expression is “Wait for the cats to grow horns.”

Turks have their own way: “When fish climb up a cottonwood." In Servian or Croation, it’s “When grapes grow on a willow.” Russia expresses its skepticism by saying, “When the crawfish whistles on the mountain.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Portland and Freeport, Maine there is a bakery which is named ''When Pigs Fly'' and their breads are worth the trouble to pig out and fly ......

Exit 318

April 25, 2010 7:26 AM  

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