Do You Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth/19?
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The phrase "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" is often used to teach children not to look at the cost of a gift. But looking into the mouth of a horse not only revealed his tattoo, but the quality of his health and age by the condition of his teeth.
BUt a deeper look at the phrase can reveal more wisdom. For instance, for a proverb (pro = positive and verb = action word) it is interesting that this one is telling you not to act. Also, it does not say anything about how your relationship with the giver affects how you act.
In some cases, like the Trojan horse, wisdom would say looking into the mouth of a horse given to you by your enemies might be a good thing to do. And even if you don't, look at its mouth, certainly it seems to make good sense to keep your enemy's gift at a safe distance instead of bringing it closer and into the midst of all that you love and have just fought 10 long years to protect.
The gift of an enemy should be weighed, as well as treated with a measure of caution. If you have stolen and hold something of dear value of your enemy's ... beware greeks bearing gifts. Rarely do men let you steal their cloak and then offer you their shirt.
Mouth comes from the middle English channel as muth or men. Curious. Most curious. Is this a niht that men are hidden inside the mouth of a river runs through it? Note the wall in the background and the one foot raised in those who handle the reigns.