The implication is that the topic is divisive enough to cause some significant tension or strife.
|Agatte trying to steal Ulysses' rawhide bone |
photo courtesy quantum bunny, Creative Commons 3.0
Its analogy is obvious, as there are fewer things a wise person would choose to do than come between two dogs embroiled in a dispute over a coveted bone!
But how far back does the saying date?
The first printed reference is found in the 1562 publication of John Heywood, where he writes, "The diuell hath cast a bone to set stryfe Betweene you."
That makes it over 450 years old - and probably much more than that, if one takes into account the commonality of the concept and cultures with a rich oral history.
|"You done with that bone yet?"|
photo courtesy tsand via Creative Commons 3.0
Its origin is from a Greek myth about a golden apple dropped in front of three goddesses, with an attached note, "To The Fairest". Yeah, we could see where that might sow some discord!