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Pythagoras calls three the perfect number, expressive of “beginning, middle, and end,” wherefore he makes it a symbol of Deity. The world was supposed to be under the rule of three gods, viz. Jupiter (heaven), Neptune (sea), and Pluto (Hades). Jove is represented with three-forked lightning, Neptune with a trident, and Pluto with a three-headed dog. The Fates are three, the Furies three, the Graces three, the Harpies three, the Sibylline books three; the fountain from which Hylas drew water was presided over by three nymphs, and the Muses were three times three; the pythoness sat on a tripod. Man is three-fold (body, soul, and spirit); the world is three-fold (earth, sea, and air); the enemies of man are three-fold (the world, the flesh, and the devil); the Christian graces are threefold (Faith, Hope, and Charity); the kingdoms of Nature are threefold (mineral, vegetable, and animal); the cardinal colours are three in number (red, yellow, and blue), etc. (See Nine, which is three times three.)

⁂ Even the Bible consists of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Apocrypha. Our laws have to pass the Commons, Lords, and Crown.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Thorn in the Flesh (A)
Though Lost to Sight, to Memory Dear
Thousand Years as One Day (A)
Threadneedle Street
Three Bishoprics (The)
Three-Decker (A)
Three Chapters (The)
Three Estates of the Realm
Three Holes in the Wall (The)
Three Kings Day
Three-pair Back (Living up a)
Three-quarters or 3/4
Three R’s (The)
Three Sheets in the Wind

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