Almost thirty years ago America's leading paremiologist, Archer Taylor, published a short article on the well-known group of the three monkeys, in the first issue of Fabula, and with the honesty befitting a scholar of his stature he stated that his paper "raises many interesting questions that [he] can formulate without being able to answer completely."1 This modest introductory phrase is a gross understatement of the actual value of the content of these few pages, for Taylor succeeded splendidly through his comparative method in tracing the seemingly independent origin of the proverb "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" through both the European and Far Eastern traditions. Still, many questions did remain unasked or unanswered, and the following comments attempt to push our knowledge of this almost universally known expression a few steps further, without being able to close the book on it once and for all. I would first like to verify some of the assumptions that Taylor had to make without being able to give specific proof. I will also add much supportive material to some of his

arguments and rectify one of his erroneous conclusions, and I will attempt to explain for the first time when and why the two independently coined expressions were joined. Finally, many illustrations are discussed to show how the proverb has gained international fame by being attached to the three monkeys.