I’m back to inviting readers to submit quotations whose origins they want me to try to trace, using my book, The Yale Book of Quotations, and my more recent researches.
“The best swordsman does not fear the second best, he fears the worst since there’s no telling what that idiot is going to do.”
The Yale Book of Quotations traces this to an authentic Mark Twain quote:
Don’t you know, there are some things that can beat smartness and foresight? Awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to.
-Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)
Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?