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Sayings + Expressions 19: Horses Posted by on Oct 12, 2018 in Culture, Folklore, Language

Back again with a Sayings + Expressions, and this time we will talk about strong, beautiful and loyal animals: horses! If you want to read other posts in this series, follow this link. Now, let’s start with the Sprichwort (saying)!

Dazu/dahin bringen mich keine zehn Pferde!

Image by Christine Mendoza at Unsplash.com

Literally: No ten horses will make me do that/go there!

Wild horses couldn’t drag me there!

You really, really do not want to go to that wedding of your ex-wife that your mother insists you go to. NO WAY you are going there – ABSOLUT NICHT! (absolutely not!). So you tell her – horses won’t get you there. Horses?

The origin seems quite obvious. Horses have been used as Nutztiere (working animal), especially as Zugtiere (draft animals) and Transportmittel (means of transportation). So they are known to be stark (strong), that were common to bring people and move things everywhere. And in a much faster way with more capacity than humans.

So if not even zehn (ten) Pferde (horses) can get you somewhere or get you to do something… Well then you must really, really be resisting.

Example:

Schau dir den Berg an! Ziemlich hoch… Würdest du da hoch klettern? – Bist du verrückt? Dahin bringen mich keine zehn Pferde!

(Look at that mountain! Quite tall… Would you climb up there? – are you crazy? Wild horses couldn’t drag me there!

jemand, mit dem man Pferde stehlen kann 

somebody is game for everything

Literally: Somebody with whom you can steal horses.

Freunde mit denen man Pferde stehlen kann! (Image by Jed Villejo at Unsplash.com)

This is a wonderful expression in my opinion. It refers to somebody that is reliable, trustworthy, somebody with whom you can do something extraordinary, difficult or crazy. Or simply a great friend.

But why stealing horses? What is all that about?

Well, as said above, Pferde were valuable back in the day. They made transport much more efficient. So it makes sense that they were desirable and  very well-guarded. And stealing horses was punished very harshly.

So if there is somebody that you could steal horses with… That is dangerous, an adventure! And you need somebody you can trust, that is reliable for it to work. Makes sense!

I think this is such a wonderful expression because of its mystic feel. Stealing horses sounds like such an adventure! Of course you would never do it, but knowing there is a person you could even do such a thing with, because they have your back… It has something magical about it.

Example:

Giuseppe ist ein toller Freund. Er lässt mich nie hängen. Mit ihm kann man wirklich Pferde stehlen!

Giuseppe is a wonderful friend. He never lets me down. You can really steal horses with him!

 

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About the Author:Sten

Hi! I am Sten, and I am half Dutch and half German. I was on exchange in the United States, and I really enjoyed that year! So in that sense, I kind of have three nationalities... I love all of them!


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