The subject is from Israel, and is a freshman at USC. Throughout my time of knowing him he has shared many jokes and proverbs that are specific to his home country. For this reason, I decided to interview him for the database.
Interviewer: So you’ve told us about this saying you have in Israel that basically corresponds with the American saying, “to have a weight on your shoulders.”
Subject: Yeah in Israel we say “you have a stone on your heart,” basically meaning the same thing, as you said, of having a weight on your shoulders or back or whatever. But in this case, it’s having a stone on your heart that is weighing it down, to say keeping your spirits down throughout the time you’re worrying about whatever it is holding you down.
Interviewer: Have you used the proverb in English and had people misunderstand?
Subject: Yeah it happens often with you guys. [Laughs]
It’s basically the same proverb as we use so often in America. When I went to look it up I had to scour through so many rock songs that had to do with having a Stone IN Your Heart. I couldn’t find anything about having a stone ON your heart, but I found many Bible verses talking about turning your heart into stone.
I know in the past certain countries used Stone as their metric of weight, while Israel might not be an example of one of those countries, it may point to a possible origin of the proverb.
The subject also told me of the Jewish tradition of placing rocks and gravestones, pointing to a possible importance of rocks in this culture.