@burcinc-- Despite having majored in English in college, I honestly have no idea where this idiom originated from. I don't think we know the origin.
I do know that this idiom is used in many different languages though. It's definitely used in French and Spanish and probably several other European and East European languages. It's probably been in use for a very long time and that's why the origin couldn't be traced back.
It's probably also one of the few idioms that has not experienced any change in meaning over the years.