Did you know that if the cap fits refers to the traditional jester’s cap with bells on it so anyone wearing such a cap could be expected to do something foolish? Or that the ancient Greeks believed that it was camels rather than elephants that never forgot? The Spanish writer Cervantes defined a proverb as a short sentence drawn from long experience and Linda and Roger Flavell trace the origins of over 400 of these invaluable pieces of wisdom. The entries are interspersed with mini-essays on such diverse subjects as The Proverbial Cynic and When there’s a R in the Month. The result is essential reading for anyone who delights in words.