I used to pride myself on being able to read Chaucer in the old English with an accent which hopefully, our beloved Geoffrey would have recognised.
I had fun practising on the original of this phrase: 'Every little helps'. Still in common use today and the meaning is very clear but the origin?
Well as far as I can discover it was:
'Every little helps said the wren when she pissed in the sea.'
A wren of course is a very tiny bird but her little contribution helped to keep up the sea levels.
But in 1623 the olde English version was:
'Euery thing helpes, quoth the Wren when she pist i' the sea.'
Even earlier in 1602 they seem to have been a little more reluctant to use the bawdy words so we had:
'The wrenn sayde all helpte when she — in the sea.'
See what a prudish nation we used to be.