Sunday, May 15, 2011

My favourites from around the world

I find it interesting to read the adages and proverbs of different lands. Here are a few that I like from around the world.

Irish definitions:

of a gossiper:

She has a tongue that would clip a hedge.

of a coarse, ill-mannered person using poor language:

What would you expect out of a pig but a grunt?

on trying to change a stubborn person's mind:

You might as well be whistling jigs to a milestone.

of very bad music:

Aw, that's the tune the old cow died of.

of one who overstays their welcome:

If that man went to a wedding, he'd stay for the christening.

of a talkative person:

That man would talk the teeth out of a saw.

in praise of strong whiskey:

I felt it like a torchlight procession going down my throat.

said of a woman who had made a bad marriage:

She burnt her coal and did not warm herself.

of an unfortunate one:

He is always in the field when luck is on the road.

of very wet weather:

It's a fine day for young ducks.

of someone who always plans carefully:

If he's not fishing he's mending his nets.

Pearls from Africa:

A low-class man will just talk; deeds are the hallmark of a gentleman. (Swahili)

God is our neighbour when our brother is absent. - (Swahili)

A donkey knows no gratitude. - (Swahili)

The good looks of a moron do not stay that way for long. - (Ethiopia)

The haughty blind person picks a fight with his guide. - (Ethiopia)

Do not vacillate or you will be left in between doing something, having something and being nothing. - (Ethiopia)

It is foolhardy to climb two trees at once just because one has two feet. - (Ethiopia)

Though the lion and the antelope happen to live in the same forest, the antelope still has time to grow up. - (Ghana)

When you are at home, your troubles can never defeat you. - (Ghana)

Israeli sayings:

A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.

A mother understands what a child does not say.

A slave shows his true character, not while he is enslaved, but when he becomes a master.

Commit a sin twice and it will not seem a crime.

Don't approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side.

Don't be too sweet lest you be eaten up; don't be too bitter lest you be spewed out

Never trust the man who tells you all his troubles but keeps from you all his joys.

One of life's greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn't good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.

Time heals old pain, while it creates new ones.

From India, sayings of the Buddha:

Men give up one thing to take up another, but in spite of numerous changes they do not find peace. They are no better than monkeys who let go one bough to take hold of another, only to let it go again.

Silence is an empty space, space is the home of the awakened mind.

Flower and thorn are in the same stem.

He who slings mud loses ground.

He who lives by the sword eats with bloody hands.

What's done to the children is done to society.

A truly wise man does not play leapfrog with a unicorn.

To light a candle is to cast a shadow.

A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.

Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals.

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

A few from Scotland:

Fools look to tomorrow; wise men use tonight.

Friends are lost by calling often and calling seldom.

Give you an inch and you'll tak an ell. (An ell was a Scottish yard of 37 inches).

He goes long barefoot that waits for dead men's shoes.

He's the slave of all slaves who serve's none but himself.

He that teaches himself has a fool for a master.

Money is flat and was meant to be piled up.

Whisky may not cure the common cold, but it fails more agreeably than most other things.

Willful waste makes woeful want.

Wink at small faults - your own are muckle (great)

Ye canna make a silk purse of a sow's lug (a pig's ear).

You may as well keep your breath to cool your porridge.



  1. Hi Joy, Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed this post and to quote from it, "It's a fine day for young ducks" here in Oregon and from the forecast it will be a fine week. I have started your painting but it has been going slowly as I have been busy and had company, more company today. Also My dog, Daisy, has a torn tendon in her leg and is going to have surgery on the 25th. I will work on the painting as much as I can. Take care of yourself.

  2. Hi Marlene, I wish we could have a couple of "fine duck days" too. The mercury is rising and it is so uncomfortably hot in the days. The forecast for Monday says 28.7 *C in the morning and by afternoon it will rise to 43 *C, sweltering!
    I do hope Daisy's operation goes well. Thank you about the painting, please don't rush yourself.

  3. "A mother understands what a child does not say" each one is a gem in its own right ! There is so much you can absorb. Thanks Khushi

  4. Thanks Raj. These are but a few, I look for wisdom, humour interwoven and wit.

  5. Very entertaining...and I loved the Buddha sayings. From the entire batch, I found that a tongue that would clip a hedge and leap-frogging a unicorn were so funny...others were so thought provoking.

  6. Thanks Ken...yes these two do make one smile, for me a visual of leapfrogging a unicorn just cracks me up...:P

  7. These are wonderful. You may see some on my Face Book page sometimes.

  8. Loved all of these. I'm a great fan of proverbs and maxims, being myself a writer of aphorisms.

  9. Welcome NP. I will hop over to your blog to read some interesting aphorisms. Thanks for reading and for your comment!

  10. Loved these definitions and quotes.Thanks for sharing them and also dropping by my blog.

  11. Thank you Rachna. I found your blog interesting.

  12. Thanks for dharing Khushi, I have to admit I haven't heasrd of many of them

  13. Gayatri, isn't it interesting to find new things?