Bell-the-Cat

Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, was so called. James III. made favourites of architects and masons. One mason, named Cochrane, he created Earl of Mar. The Scotch nobles held a council in the church of Lauder for the purpose of putting down these upstarts, when Lord Gray asked, “Who will bell the cat?”

“That will I,” said Douglas, and he fearlessly put to death, in the king's presence, the obnoxious minions. (See Bell.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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