’Thou hast shaved many a poor soul close enough

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Senior Member

Please what does "’Thou hast shaved many a poor soul close enough" mean in this context?:

The thorns soon began to tear his clothes till they all hung in rags about him, and he himself was all scratched and wounded, so that the blood ran down. ’Oh, for heaven’s sake!’ cried the miser, ’Master! master! pray let the fiddle alone. What have I done to deserve this?’ ’Thou hast shaved many a poor soul close enough,’ said the other; ’thou art only meeting thy reward’: so he played up another tune.

Source:The Miser in the Bush- the Grimm Brothers.

  • pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    He has (by sharp or unfair dealing) injured many people. This is very figurative. The closest meaning to literality would be shaving a face so close that you take some of the skin off as a metaphor for "skinning" or cheating a person.

    Oddly, for all that it really doesn't say what it means, most native speakers would understand it. The context is so strong that it almost forces the meaning on us.

    le Grand Soir

    Senior Member
    Anglais, dialecte de San Francisco
    In this context, shaved means having taken someone's money in a less than honorable manner. The story from which your excerpt comes is more commonly titled, "The Jew in the brambles." by the Brothers Grimm.
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