I remember hearing once a three-part expression but have not been able to remember or find the third part in years.

  1. Curiosity killed the cat.
  2. Satisfaction brought him back.

What is the third?

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  • I vaguely recall hearing a 3rd line once, but I don't know what it was. – Hot Licks Apr 16 '18 at 12:08
  • Given the usual circumstances of the first part about curiosity, I just don't understand how the second part about satisfaction makes sense. – Mitch Aug 1 '19 at 17:56

I don't believe there is a third part. A quick Google search comes up with the oldest source of the saying being a 1598 play by Ben Jonson called Every Man in His Humour:

Helter skelter, hang sorrow, care'll kill a Cat, up-tails all, and a Louse for the Hangman.

A variant is in Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (Brewer, 1898):

Care killed the Cat. It is said that a cat has nine lives, but care would wear them all out.

According to Wikipedia (which I'm always skeptical of, but in this case provides external references for its claim):

On 10 August 1905, The Galveston Daily News newspaper (page 6) printed the following
quotation without the word satisfaction:

    Curiosity killed a cat; but it came back.

On 23 December 1912, the earliest known printed reference to this variation of the
proverb is found in The Titusville Herald newspaper (page 6):

    You will find greater values here. We are told:
    "Curiosity killed the cat,
    But satisfaction brought it back."
    It is the same story with groceries.
    "Prices will sell Groceries, but it is always final-
    ity that brings the buyer back."

By 15 May 1924, the proverb appears to have been well known, as this quote from
The Jewell Record newspaper (page 3) indicates:

    Come May 19th and 21st and see this puzzle completed. As the saying goes
    "Curiosity killed a cat, satisfaction brought it back."

If there is a variation of the saying that includes a third line, it's not one I know of or could quickly find.

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Person 1: Curiosity killed the cat.
Person 2: Satisfaction brought him back.
Person 1: To be hung as he rightfully deserved.

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  • 5
    What's the source of this? – KillingTime Aug 1 '19 at 16:21

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