There are dozens of proverbs, we are all familiar with them but, as these modern fables demonstrate, the proverbs we use today have their origins in earlier, quite different sayings!

Neil Johnson is well known for his humorous books on strange and little-used words, Dr Johnson’s Reliquary of Rediscovered Words and There’s a Word for That! In this new collection of stories he turns his attention to the question of where some of our common sayings may have come from – and puts forward some very surprising suggestions.