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not getting one's just reward

English translation: When he got there, the cupboard was bare.

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19:10 Mar 14, 2008
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
English term or phrase: not getting one's just reward
Hi, all!
This comes after a question posted in the Greek-English pair has had me racking my brain to no avail.
We are trying to translate a Greek idiom which literally says “he got to the spring but did not drink any water”. And it means that he was deprived of the chance to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
We are looking for an English (near-)equivalent, and not a nice way of phrasing an explanation.
It hasn’t much to do with either Sisyphus or Tantalus.
Pity you haven’t got an idiom like “he struggled all the way to heaven’s gates only to find they were closed for the day”. :-)
Do you have anything like the Greek idiom?
Nick Lingris
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:20
English translation:When he got there, the cupboard was bare.
Explanation:
Based on the nursery rhyme.

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To fetch her poor doggie a bone.
But when she got there.
the cupboard was bare,
And so the poor doggie had none.
Selected response from:

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:20
Grading comment
Thank you, Jack. Nursery rhymes are a huge lacuna in a non-native speaker's knowledge.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +3When he got there, the cupboard was bare.
Jack Doughty
4failing to reap the seeds of his labo(o)r
David Hollywood
4he got to the well but the bucket felljuvera
3fattening frogs for snakes
fourth


Discussion entries: 8





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
failing to reap the seeds of his labo(o)r


Explanation:
:)

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Note added at 5 mins (2008-03-14 19:15:26 GMT)
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"labo(u)r"

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Note added at 6 mins (2008-03-14 19:16:38 GMT)
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very interesting one and still searching for better options :)


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Note added at 9 mins (2008-03-14 19:19:44 GMT)
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although I think this might be ok ...

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Note added at 14 mins (2008-03-14 19:24:53 GMT)
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how about: "did not/failed to reap his just reward"

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Note added at 18 mins (2008-03-14 19:28:11 GMT)
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can't come up with anything literal athough translation of the original Biblen is a translation too so ....

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Note added at 18 mins (2008-03-14 19:28:44 GMT)
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"Bible"

David Hollywood
Local time: 23:20
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks, David. I actually thought of "He sowed the seeds but never got the chance to reap the fruits", but I'm looking for something more idiomatic, if possible out of the book of proverbs :-)

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39 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
When he got there, the cupboard was bare.


Explanation:
Based on the nursery rhyme.

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To fetch her poor doggie a bone.
But when she got there.
the cupboard was bare,
And so the poor doggie had none.

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:20
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 80
Grading comment
Thank you, Jack. Nursery rhymes are a huge lacuna in a non-native speaker's knowledge.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Vicky Nash
1 hr
  -> Thank you.

agree  kmtext: Sounds pretty close to the poster's request.
18 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Phong Le
1 day5 hrs
  -> Thank you.
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52 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
fattening frogs for snakes


Explanation:
apparently a Blues number, possibly Big Bill Broonzy

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Note added at 57 mins (2008-03-14 20:07:59 GMT)
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OK it's Sonny Boy Williamson II
"It took me a long time, to find out my mistakes
Took me a long time to find my mistakes
It sho'h did man
But I bet you my bottom dollar
I'm not fattenin no more frogs for snakes" Woah

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Note added at 1 hr (2008-03-14 20:16:45 GMT)
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"Heaven's Gates ....closed "is really good
"Bought her dinner. Didn't see her again"
"Proz'd my heart out but they went for the sugary sweet talk"


fourth
France
Local time: 04:20
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Notes to answerer
Asker: It does not have to be biblical, but the register should be close. The Greek is more like folk wisdom than urbandictionary idiom.

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21 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
he got to the well but the bucket fell


Explanation:
Well, I made it up, but it has the effort, water, no reward, failure elements in it. :-)

juvera
Local time: 03:20
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in HungarianHungarian
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