The Historical Polish Language

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    They say a joke is "no good" if you have to explain it. The same is true of a proverb, but the following saying would truly be lost in obscurity without an explanation:

"Słowo się rzekło, kobyłka u płotu"

    We have an expression, taken from French, which does not really have an English equivalent. "Noblesse oblige" refers to the implied "obligation" that the rich are supposed to have to help the poor.

"Słowo się rzekło, kobyłka u płotu"
Means "Noblesse oblige"!!

     It seems nonsense when translated literally: "A word was said - a mare is standing by the fence". This old saying has a long historic background. In the 15th century, before there were newspapers and photographs, the kings could often venture out "incognito" among their subjects and "check up on them". The story goes that the famous Polish king John Sobieski the Third, the saviour of Vienna (1683), not far from his palace, made a bet with a gentleman (gentryman, or petty noble) who didn't recognise him, kidding him that a man in his position would never get a chance to speak to the King. John Sobieski bet his favourite mare. He was obviously going to "throw" the bet and let the poor man win, just for the amusement of his traveling companions. The hot-headed gentryman demanded that his partner must present him immediately to the King. Sobieski then said to the confused gentryman: "słowo się rzekło, kobyłka u płotu", pointing to the horse.      Hundreds of such wonderful sayings are functioning in the Polish language making it rich and nice to hear. The language is really a living monument.

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