Irish Sayings – I’ll leather the legs from under ya’
“I’ll leather the legs from under ya’…”
It wasn’t an idle threat either. The usual application was for the parent (I only saw mothers doing it) to grab the offending child by one wrist, raising their arm high, while the mother stooped over and swung furiously with her free hand at the back of the child’s legs.
Of course, the child would leap in the air at every attempt that their poor mother made to deliver a stinging blow. Often mammy and child began to go round and round in circles, her swinging, the child leaping, until she managed to land a satisfying slap on the delinquent’s leg.
The ordeal wasn’t over just yet, as the slap was usually followed by ‘a good giving out to’, more threats of ‘you wait till your father gets home’ and various other phrases designed to send a chill down the reckless youth’s spine.
No doubt, on many occassions (after mammy cooled down) there was plenty hugs and kisses dished out too.
Of course ‘leg leathering’ is now a thing of the past, and I’m sure most of us (particularly unruly children) are relieved at it’s passing; though some would say it did them no long-term harm, and possibly some good, but that’s a debate for another day.