Those who hunt by night will tell you that the wildest, most vicious of all animals is the tiny shrew.
The shrew feeds only by the dark of night. He must eat his own body weight every few hours or stave to death. The ravenous shrew eats everything, bones, flesh, marrow… everything.
Intro from Attack of the Killer Shrews 1959
In this culture it is not wise to talk too much good things about anything - especially children,lest some evil spirit steals it. So it is customary to say it is ugly and weak and will surely not survive. Also:
"The man who boasts of his young woman is a fool,
The man who boasts of his wares will get rich."