The craftiest of thieves. He stole the flocks of his
neighbours, and changed their marks. Sisyphos out-witted him by
marking his sheep under their feet, a device which so tickled the rogue
that he instantly
“cottoned” to him. Shakespeare introduces him in The Winter's
Tale as a pedlar, and says he was called the son of Mercury,
because he was born under that “thieving planet.”
“Autolycus is no lapidary, though he drives a roaring trade in flash
jewellery.” —Pall Mall Gazette.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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