Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. A proverbial saying which suggests that the ability to work is of greater benefit than a one-off handout.. The expression actually originated in Britain in the mid 19th century.
Anne Isabella Ritchie, the daughter of William Makepeace Thackeray, (who, if her photograph is any guide, was a studious young woman) wrote a story titled Mrs. Dymond, sometime in the 1880s and it includes this line.
“He certainly doesn’t practise his precepts, but I suppose the patron meant that if you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour; if you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn.”
The book was published in 1890 but the story was put into print a few years earlier. The American magazine Littell’s Living Age printed the story in its September 1885 issue and it was taken from an earlier but undated issue of the British Macmillan’s Magazine.
So, the proverb dates from 1885 or shortly before and there’s every reason to suppose that it was coined by Anne Ritchie.
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