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Salt on His Tail

(Lay). Catch or apprehend him. The phrase is based on the direction given to small children to lay salt on a bird's tail if they want to catch it.

“His intelligence is so good, that were you to come near him with soldiers or constables, ... I shall answer for it you will never lay salt on his tail.” —Sir W. Scott: Redgauntlet. chap. xi.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Salt on His Tail from Infoplease:

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