JK (50s, american-polish, father): “It’s like buying a wolf and then freaking out when it attacks your kids!”
The informant is my dad remarking over the phone in response to me explaining how I was upset about not being able to finish working on a multitude of projects outside of school. When asked about where he heard the phrase, he pointed to Catholic school and the sort of lamb/wolf proverbs that he was exposed to there. He also claimed it to have similarity to the saying “bringing a knife to a gunfight.”
The phrase was said in an effort to make me laugh and bring light to the worry I’d been expressing (and it did get me to do so). It’s as if to say “well, what were you expecting to happen?”
The proverb itself is innately very dark in nature, and yet hits that sort of shock humor coupled with a simple realization. The idea of having your children eaten is a terrible concept, but the ignorance/gullibility of the person who would do such is. An added factor to the proverb is the in the word choice of “buying” said wolf. There is a certain action in paying for the beast that ends up screwing you over, which bolsters and reveals the main lesson of the saying. It asks the recipient of said advice to be more pragmatically present in the day to day; to not hyperextend their own capabilities.