A proverb I’d never heard before

A tip o’ the hat to Larry Lambert at Virtual Mirage for bringing this Russian proverb to my attention:

The only place you find free cheese
is in a mousetrap.

I’d never heard it before.  It’s a good one, and I’ll be using it from now on, to go with Robert Heinlein’s famous TANSTAAFL.



  1. Another of my favorite rodent related aphorisms:

    The early bird may get the worm, but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.

  2. Heinlein was a very quotable guy. He had a whole bunch in his novel Time Enough For Love that he attributed to his character Lazarus Long. My favorite:
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, con a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

  3. Reminds me of the C. Northcote Parkinson essay THE FUR LINED MOUSETRAP, which is his metaphor for the the welfare state. As he puts it close to the end "The cheese is no longer plentiful, and tasted mostly of tinfoil in any case'

  4. In fact, on consideration, I offer this rewording:

    “If someone is offering you free cheese you should probably start wondering what k8nd of mousetrap you are standing in.”

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