Quotes about Flies

Nothing is made in vain, but the fly came near it. ~Mark Twain [quoted in Merle Johnson, “More Maxims of Mark,” 1927 –tg]

God in His wisdom made the fly,
And then forgot to tell us why.
~Ogden Nash, “The Fly,” Good Intentions, 1942

Opening a window to let out a fly and ending up with thirty midges, three wasps, two bees and an owl  ~Rob Temple, Very British Problems, @SoVeryBritish, 2013

It seems to me that monuments are ill-distributed in this world. I don’t see why a monument hasn’t been erected to the men who invented flytraps and flyswatters. ~Dorothy Scarborough, “Entomology on a Country Porch,” From a Southern Porch, 1919

If you kill one fly, ten more will come to its funeral. ~Proverb

Mark Twain says that nothing seems to please a fly so much as to be mistaken for a huckleberry, and if it can be baked in a cake and palmed off on the unwary as a currant, it dies happy. ~Puck, 1877 July 25th  [Caroline Thomas Harnsberger, in Everyone’s Mark Twain, cites this quote from Connecticut Courant Supplement, 1878 January 10th. –tg]

Put cream and sugar on a fly, and it tastes very much like a black raspberry. ~E. W. Howe, 1909

King James said to the fly, Have I three kingdoms, and thou must needs fly into my eye? ~“Religion,” The Table-Talk of John Selden, Esq. (1584–1654), edited by Richard Milward, 1689

“But, Aunt Mandy,” I insisted, going after one agile fly which danced before me, “these flies are more intelligent and progressive than they used to be. These flies now go to college and learn all about germs, and read the newspapers, to find out mischief they can do. They’ll kill us if they can, so the only thing for us to do is to swat them first.” ~Dorothy Scarborough, “Entomology on a Country Porch,” From a Southern Porch, 1919

The flyswatter is a great sport. I make fancy strokes or side-curves with the weapon, after the fashion of expert tennis players, and have gained great dexterity in landing flies. ~Dorothy Scarborough, “Entomology on a Country Porch,” From a Southern Porch, 1919

I’d rather have ten snakes in the house than one fly. ~Mark Twain, letter, 1910

Fly-swatting releases all the evil impulses in humanity, gives one’s antagonism an airing, keeps alive the healthy disposition to fight. The desire to smite and slay is inborn in man — and woman — and if given no outlet such as swatting flies, is liable to lead to destructive wars. ~Dorothy Scarborough, “Entomology on a Country Porch,” From a Southern Porch, 1919

In the midst of the prayer a fly had lit on the back of the pew in front of him and tortured his spirit by calmly rubbing its hands together, embracing its head with its arms, and polishing it so vigorously that it seemed to almost part company with the body, and the slender thread of a neck was exposed to view; scraping its wings with its hind legs and smoothing them to its body as if they had been coat tails; going through its whole toilet as tranquilly as if it knew it was perfectly safe. As indeed it was; for as sorely as Tom’s hands itched to grab for it they did not dare — he believed his soul would be instantly destroyed if he did such a thing while the prayer was going on. ~Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876

One fly makes a summer. ~Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar, 1893

I like to psychoanalyze the flies. They are very inquisitive, for instance, — eager to investigate anything, taste anything, crawl over any object from a buzz-saw to a bald head. Flies are the most obstinate creatures in the universe for they never give up an undertaking. They don’t know how to desist. ~Dorothy Scarborough, “Entomology on a Country Porch,” From a Southern Porch, 1919  [a little altered –tg]

Insects: Fly Quotations
Original post date: 2004 May 23
1st major revision: 2019 Oct 28