Survival Lessons From The Civil War
Civil War Surgery

Appalachian Sayings - If You Sup With The Devil You Need A Long Spoon

If you sup with the Devil you need to use a long spoon

If you're going to sup with the Devil you need to use a long spoon.

In other words: you better be careful if you're hanging around a rough crowd or a bad person. 


This saying is well known in Appalachia and beyond. It's been around since the days of Shakespeare and Chaucer, which means it's really old!

The saying calls to mind such a clear picture full of meaning that I can easily see how it's stood the test of time. 


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"if you're gonna dance with the devil, the devil doesn't change,the devil changes you.

You've never been to Shelby? You've never been to the world famous Livermush Festival they have there at the Earl Scruggs Center? I'm sure you know who the Earl Scruggs Center was named for. Earl Scruggs was born and spent his youth in and around there. Shelby is famous for Mack's and Jenkin's Livermush, therefore the festival, however there is another livermush festival centered on Hunter's Livermush. This one is in Marion, NC. I have never been to either festival but I have tried all three kinds of livermush and Hunter's is the winner hands down. The truth be told neither is even in the ball park when compared to that made by Thelma Belle Ammons. All three brands have a list of ingredients that includes pig parts other than liver. My mother's livermush had home-slaughtered pork liver, cornmeal and spices. One of the spices was her own home grown, hand snipped hot peppers. They say that kind of food will shorten your life but I say if it makes you happy go for it. Who wants to live forever anyway if all you can eat is kale and cottage cheese!

Sweets don't fill a sweet tooth makes it crave more when it always choke the belly run like the devil when sweets become a problems.
Around about way of telling you sweets aren't good for you just like that ole coot the devil. The only time the devil runs is when you tell him to get behind you in the name of Jesus.
I know there is a lot of good story tellers around these parts and tipper you post some might good ones.Thanks, would love to hear your girls sing and make music and the Wilson's too. Our family went for miles to hear the Wilson's brothers. These girls of your are destine for greatness.

Tamela-thank you for the comment! The saying means if youre going to eat or hang around with the Devil you better be careful. Sort of like the old saying a few commenters shared if you lay down with dogs you'll get up with fleas. Have a great weekend : )


Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Ed-the picture is of a spoon just before Chitter turned it into a ring : ) The spoon is laying on The Deer Hunters dirty work bench. I haven't a clue what the numbers are but would guess it is a part number or a phone number he jotted down. I've never been to Shelby NC nor to Memphis TN : )

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Is the picture of the spoon or the devil? If you take the spoon out of the picture there remains a blurred image. It reminds me of a mask or possibly a black hood. On the right side are numbers scratched into the surface. At first reading the uppermost string of numbers appears to be 28152. If that is a zip code then it refers SHELBY in Cleveland county, NC. If the number is 38152 then it is Memphis, TN. Memphis is in SHELBY county. Does someone named Shelby have a connection with this picture?

A similar saying I've heard id "Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas!"

I agree with that phrase completely. When my girls was
growin' up, I tried to filter out
some of their friends, cause I knewthey'd try to get 'em in trouble.

Life is so different now, than when I was young. There's so much more for young folks to get into. I've seen girls and boys take dope and ruin their lives, thank God mine knew better...Ken

This is a new one for me and, for the life of me, I can't rationalize it. Tipper, you said the meaning was clear - please explain it to me.

You remind me of my Dad's saying, "Might as well eat with the devil as drink his soup." These old sayings are colorful illustrations of common sense. They understood that the colorful part made them memorable, which was the idea. I, and others, have recently said that common sense has become uncommon, at least in what gets attention in the national media.

I will try to remember that saying as I like the words and how they are used. Of course, every time I have an ice tea or an ice cream sundae and I am given a long spoon I will think twice.

It is sort of like the old saying "if you lay on the porch with the dogs you will get fleas".
I remember my grandmother telling us about the devil in so many sayings.I remember one saying "if the devil don't get you going he will try to get you coming back".
Does anyone else remember that one??

Has anyone done a study of Appalachian sayings that can be traced back to Shakespeare's plays? That would be interesting to know if such might be the case.

I heard that one from my parents, but not since. Seeing the ice teaspoon reminds me of when as a child I wondered what they were for, as my tea was always sweet!

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