Acquiring fish

I was listening to a conversation between my mother and my niece. My mother was trying to be a teacher, while my niece was trying to be obstinate. I don’t think either one came away from the conversation satisfied.

During their conversation, my mother used the proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” It got me thinking and wondering: would the proverb have nearly as much currency if the noun for the creature and the verb for acquiring the creature were different words? For instance, if it was “give a man a chicken…” or “give a man a vegetable…”? Or if the verb were “reel” or “cast”?

I’m not questioning the concept, but wondering if anyone would ever think or say it if the word fish weren’t both a noun and the verb one uses to acquire the noun.

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