two boys are half a boy, and three boys are no boy at all

two boys are half a boy, and three boys are no boy at all
The more boys that help, the less work they do.

c 1930 F. THOMPSON Country Calendar 114 Their parents do not encourage the joining of forces... We have a proverb here: ‘Two boys are half a boy, and three boys are no boy at all.’

1971 New York Times 31 Jan. IV. 12 Rural New England of the mid-nineteenth century, not commonly sophisticated in mathematics but witty enough about man’s condition, used to [say]..‘One boy helping, a pretty good boy; two boys, half a boy; three boys, no boy.’

2002 Times: Weekend 6 Apr. 91 ..have been warned by my neighbours not to let him have any friends round. Because the more boys there are, the less work will get done. Apparently there is a country proverb that goes: ‘One boy is a boy. Two boys are half a boy. And three boys are no boys at all.’

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