“Sharing the skin of an unkilled bear” is a saying that is used when they want to say that someone is trying to make plans for the implementation of which there is still no reason. The bear has not yet been killed, how can we assume that its skin belongs to someone?
Who came up with the idea of dividing the skin of a bear
In Russia, the saying “You don’t need to share the skin of an unkilled bear” appeared after La Fontaine's fable “The Bear and Two Hunters” was translated into Russian. The plot of the fable is as follows. The two hunters set off into the forest with the intention of taking down the bear. They walked through the forest, tired and sat down to rest. They had not even met the bear yet, but both were confident of success. Young people began to fantasize and discuss what they would do with the animal as soon as they got it.
It is interesting that at the beginning of the 20th century in Russia it was customary to say not to “divide” the skin of an unkilled bear, but to “sell” it, because there is no point in dividing the skin, it is valuable whole.
The bottle of wine they had with them came in handy. The wine fueled imagination, and the hunters began to invent more and more beautiful scenes: they imagined that the bear had already been defeated, and the skin was in their hands. Everyone had big plans. Both young men were overwhelmed, completely forgetting that the fight with the real bear was still ahead, and it was too early to relax.
It was here that the bear appeared. He hid in the bushes and listened to the speeches of the unlucky hunters. As soon as the young men saw the bear, both of them were terribly frightened. The first had the strength to jump up and throw himself into the bushes. He ran as best he could, and the bear chased after him. The hunter managed to escape, because the bear did not pursue him for a long time. He returned to the clearing, where the second young man was lying unconscious, who lost consciousness as soon as he saw the bear. His legs gave way, his body became wadded, the hunter did not even manage to get up and try to run away, like his friend.
A Russian proverb with a similar meaning: “Don't say“Gop”until you've jumped over.”
The bear did not touch the second hunter. He bent down to him, whispered something in his ear and went into the forest on his business. When the hunters managed to meet again, the runaway plant asked his friend what had happened to him. The latter told him everything and said that the bear bent down to him and whispered the following words in his ear: "First you should kill the bear, and only then you can drink, and think how to sell the fur, and have fun."
The origin of the saying in Russia
Some experts believe that the saying “You don’t need to share the skin of an unkilled bear” did not appear because of Jean Lafontaine's fable, since most people were still not familiar with it: it was not customary for the common people to read French fables. People who study the epic and folk art are sure that the Russians adopted the proverb from other peoples in whom it already existed. For example, people like to talk about the skin of a bear in France and in Germany, there are other peoples who are familiar with this expression.
It is believed that Jean Lafontaine himself took a folk saying as the basis for the plot of his fable, which in fact may be older than his work. Lafontaine's years: 1621 - 1695.