Merchant of Venice

A drama by Shakespeare. A similar story occurs in the Gesta Romanorum. The tale of the bond is chapter xlviii., and that of the caskets is chapter xcix. Shakespeare, without doubt, is also indebted for his plot to the novelette Il Pecorone of Ser. Giovanni. (Fourteenth century.)

Loki made a wager with Brock and lost. He wagered his head, but saved it on the plea that Brock could not take his head without touching his neck. (Simroch's Edda, p. 305.)

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