Home  »  Curiosities in Proverbs  »  Grouping Proverbs

D.E. Marvin, comp. Curiosities in Proverbs. 1916.

Grouping Proverbs

A bad man, gold, a drum, a bad woman, a bad horse, stalks of sugar cane, sesamur seed, and low people should be beaten to improve their qualities. (Sanskrit).

A blow in the eye, a blow on the knee, a blow on the elbow—the three hardest blows to bear. (Gaelic).

A buffalo delights in mud, a duck in a pond, a woman delights in a husband, a priest in the law. (Burmese).

A country-side smithy, a parish mill, and a public house—the three best places for news. (Gaelic).

A face shaped like the petals of the lotus, a voice as cool (pleasing) as sandal, a heart like a pair of scissors, and excessive humility—these are the signs of a rogue. (Sanskrit).

A father in debt is an enemy; a mother of bad conduct is an enemy; a beautiful wife is an enemy; an unlearned son is an enemy. (Sanskrit).
In the first and second instance the enmity is understood to be toward a son, in the third toward a husband, and in the fourth toward a parent.

A fence lasts three years, a dog lasts three fences, a house lasts three dogs, and a man three horses. (German).

A fly, the wind, a harlot, a beggar, a rat, the head of the village, and the village accountant—these seven are annoying to others. (Sanskrit).

A fool is honoured in his own house; a proprietor is honoured in his own village; a king is honoured in his own country; a learned man is honoured everywhere. (Sanskrit).

A foul-mouthed man, a man without employment, a low fellow, a revengeful man—these four are base from their evil deeds; the base born are better. (Sanskrit).

A garden without water, a house without a roof, a wife without love, and a careless husband. (Spanish).
Four things that are considered undesirable.

A generous man is nigh unto God, nigh unto men, nigh unto Paradise, far from hell. (Arabian).

A girl, a vineyard, an orchard, and a bean field are hard to watch. (Portuguese).

A glaring sunny morning, a woman that talks Latin, and a child reared on wine never come to a good end. (French).

A heavy-handed joiner, a trembling-handed smith, and a soft-hearted leech do not suit. (Gaelic).
“A good surgeon must have an eagle’s eye, a lady’s hand, and a lion’s heart.” (English).

A hundred bakers, a hundred millers, and a hundred tailors are three hundred thieves. (Dutch).
The Spanish rendering of this proverb substitutes weavers for tailors.

A king is not satisfied with his wealth, a wise man with well-uttered discourse, the eye in seeing a lover, and the sea with its water. (Burmese).

A king perceives by his ears, the learned by their intellect, a beast by scent, and fools by the past. (Sanskrit).

A little dog, a cow with horns, and a short man are generally proud. (Danish).

A man of thirty years of age is like a lion, a man forty years old is like a torn, worn mat, and a man sixty years of age is a fool. (Kashmiri).
“At twenty years of age the will rules, at thirty years of age the intellect rules, and at forty years of age the judgment rules.”—Bathasar Gracian.
A Spanish proverb taken from the sayings of Gracian is as follows: “At twenty years of age one is a peacock; at thirty years of age, a lion; at forty years of age, a camel; at fifty years of age, a snake; at sixty years of age, a dog; at seventy years of age, an ape; and at eighty years of age, nothing.”

A nail secures the horse-shoe, the shoe the horse, the horse the man, the man the castle, and the castle the whole land. (German).
“For want of a nail the shoe is lost; for want of a shoe the horse is lost; for want of a horse the rider is lost.” (English). “For want of a nail the shoe is lost.” (Spanish).

A man should avoid these six evils: lust, anger, avarice, pleasure, pride, and rashness, for free of these he may be happy. (Sanskrit).

A man should not reside in a place wherein these five things are to be found: wealthy inhabitants, Brahmans learned in the Vedas, a Rajah, a river, and in the fifth place, a physician. (Sanskrit).
Brahmans are of the highest sacerdotal class, the Vedas are the sacred books of the people, Rajah is a title that was given by Maha-Rajah to the chiefs of the Kshetree (military tribe) as a reward of merit before the Mussulman conquest.

A mother curses not her son, the earth suffers no harm, a good man does no injury, God destroys not His creation. (Sanskrit).

An elephant killeth even by touching, a serpent even by smelling, a king even by ruling, and a wicked man by laughing at one. (Sanskrit).

An old man continues to be young in two things—love of money and love of life. (Arabian).

A pebble in my shoe, a flea in my sleeve, a husk in my teeth, and my sweetheart leaving me. (Gaelic).
Four things that are hard to endure.

A plaster house, a horse at grass, a friend in words—are all mere glass. (Dutch).

A rash man, a skin of good wine, and a glass vessel do not last long. (Portuguese).

A red-haired, black-eyed woman; a dun, fiery-eyed dog; a black-haired, red-bearded man—the three unluckiest to meet. (Gaelic).

A son like his father, a son greater than his father, and a son less than his father. (Kashmiri).
The three kinds of sons found not only in Kashmir but in every part of the world.

A swan is out of place among cows, a lion among bulls, a horse in the midst of asses, and a wise man among fools. (Burmese).

A swarthy man is bold, a fair man is impertinent, a brown man is ringlet-haired, and a red-haired man is scornful. (Gaelic).
That is, when the feud is over.

A true man is he who remembers his friend when he is absent, when he is in distress, and when he dies. (Arabian).

At ten years, a wonder child; at fifteen, a talented youth; at twenty, a common man. (Japanese).

At the first cup, man drinks wine; at the second, wine drinks wine; at the third, wine drinks man. (Japanese).

A wicked wife, a false friend, a servant with pride, livingin a house with a snake, are death without doubt. (Sanskrit).
Four things that cause death.

A woman’s beauty is her dress and jewels; the river derives beauty from its waves; the willow gets beauty from lopping; and a man’s beauty is his wealth. (Kashmiri).
The river to which reference is made is Jhelum, called by the Hindoo priests Vedasta. On its banks Alexander the Great defeated Porus, B.C. 326. The willow is the white willow that is improved by lopping off the upper branches.

A young man without work, a mother dying and leaving a baby, the wife of an old man dying—these three are terrible misfortunes. (Kashmiri).

Be as strong as a leopard, light as an eagle, quick as a goat, and brave as a lion, to do the will of thy Heavenly Father. (Hebrew from the Talmud).

Beware of the hoof of the horse, the horn of the bull, and the smile of the Saxon. (Irish).

Bodies are transitory, riches are not lasting, death is always at hand, virtue should be practical. (Sanskrit).

By the crime of not giving alms, (a man) becomes poor; by the defect of poverty, he commits sin; by sin, he certainly goes to hell; again (he becomes) poor, again (he becomes) a sinner. (Sanskrit).

Charity, good behaviour, amiable speech, unselfishness—these by the chief sage have been declared the elements of popularity. (Burmese).

Content lies in three things: Satisfied with what is given, no reliance on what is in man’s hands, acquiescence in God’s decrees. (Arabian).
“Gnaw the bone which is fallen to thy lot.” “Let us thank God and be content with what we have.” (English). “Let everyone be content with what God has given him.” (Portuguese). “Nothing will content him who is not content with little.” (Greek). “Who is rich? He who is content with what he has.” (Hebrew).

Covetousness has for its mother unlawful desire, for its daughter injustice, for its companion violence. (Arabian).

Day and night, evening and morning, winter and spring, come again and again; time sports, life goes, but nevertheless the chain of desire loosens not. (Sanskrit).

Drinking, women, hunting, gaming, fondness for dress, harshness of speech, and severity are great blemishes in a prince. (Sanskrit).

Do not ascend to the hills to net birds, do not go down to the water to poison fish and shrimps, do not kill the ploughing ox, do not cast away lettered (written) paper. (Chinese).
The Chinese think that birds should not be ensnared but shot. They are also particular not to tread on any piece of written paper that may chance to lie on the floor or ground.

Eating while seated makes one stout, eating standing increases strength, walking augments life, running wards off sickness. (Burmese).

Eggs of an hour, fish of ten, bread of a day, wine of a year, a woman of fifteen, and a friend of thirty. (English).

Eight different things to enjoy in abundance, but in moderation good—labour, sleep, riches, journeying, love, warm water, bleeding and wine. (Hebrew).

First the turnip, then a sheep, next a cow, and then the gallows. (Dutch).

For four things there is no recall: The spoken word, the arrow sped from the bow, the march of fate, and time that is past. (Arabian).
“The stream that has passed down does not come back to its former channel.” (Persian).

Fortitude in adversity and moderation in prosperity; eloquence in the senate and courage in the field; great glory in renown and labour in study; are the natural perfections of great minds. (Sanskrit).

Fortune lost, nothing lost; courage lost, much lost; honour lost, more lost; soul lost, all lost. (Dutch).

Fortune rests on the tip of the tongue; friends and relatives rest on the tip of the tongue; suffering imprisonment rests on the tip of the tongue; death rests on the tip of the tongue. (Sanskrit).

Four things everyone has more than he knows: sins, debts, years, and foes. (Persian).
“Sins and debts are aye mair than we think.” (Scotch).

Four things put a man beside himself: a woman, tobacco, cards, and wine. (Spanish).

From four things God preserve us: a painted woman, a conceited valet, salt beef without mustard, and a little late dinner. (Assamese).

Go a mile to see a sick man, go two miles to make peace between two men, and go three miles to call on a friend. (Arabian).
“Make your visit short, especially to the sick.” (Arabian).

Good done to an old man, good to a worthless man, good to a little child—three goods thrown away. (Gaelic).

Good men seek honour, middling men seek wealth and honour, base men seek wealth; honour itself is wealth to great men. (Sanskrit).

Gratitude takes three forms: a feeling in the heart, an expression in words, and a giving in return. (Arabian).

He should speak kindly without meanness; he should be valiant without boasting; he should be generous shedding his bounty into the dish of the worthy; he should be resolute but not harsh. (Sanskrit).

He that is not gallant at twenty, strong at thirty, rich at forty, or experienced at fifty will never be gallant strong, rich, or prudent. (Spanish).

He who brought you forth; he who invested you with the sacred thread; he from whom you received instruction; the giver of food; he who saved you from danger—these five are to be remembered as fathers. (Sanskrit).

He who dies not in his twenty-third year, drowns not in his twenty-fourth, and is not slain in his twenty-fifth, may boast of good days. (Dutch).

He who is wise and consults others is a whole man, he who has a wise opinion of his own and seeks no counsel from others is half a man, and he who has no opinion of his own and seeks no advice is no man at all. (Arabian).

How canst thou escape sin? Think of three things: Whence thou comest, whither thou goest, and before whom thou must appear. (Hebrew).

If a man commit these three things, they will rise against him in judgment and punishment—aggression, perfidy, and deceit. (Arabian).
See Graceful Proverbs: “The image of friendship is truth.”
Notwithstanding the strong condemnation that the Arabs pronounce in this proverb on perfidious and deceitful men, they have two other axioms that indicate some question as to the excellence of honour and truth at all times. They sometimes say: “In deceiving your neighbour be more wary than when he is trying to deceive you,” and “To be true to the perfidious is perfidy and to deceive the deceitful is lawful.”

If the prince and minister be not sincere, the nation will not be well ordered; if the father and son be not sincere, the family will not be harmonious; if the elder and younger brothers be not sincere, the feeling of affection will not be close; if friends be not sincere, intercourse will be distant. (Chinese).

If you are ignorant, inquire; if you stray, return; if you do wrong, repent; and if you are angry, restrain yourself. (Arabian).

If your neighbour has made a pilgrimage to Mecca once, watch him; if twice, avoid his society; if three times, move into another street. (Arabian).
“The Moslems are afraid of anyone who is especially sanctimonious and given to prayer—their prayers, I mean…. Certainly no one acquainted with the people will feel his confidence in an individual increased by the fact that he is particularly devout.”—W. M. Thompson in The Land and the Book.
All nations condemn hypocrisy in their proverbs. “A devoted face and a cat’s claws.” “The cross on his breast and the devil on his acts.” “To fawn with the tail and bite with the mouth.” (Spanish). “The heron is a saint as long as the fish is not in sight.” “The female devotee pretends not to eat fish but there are three on her leaf.” “The attachment of the insincere, a razor’s blade.” “A hypocrite, a makhala fruit; beautiful outside, bitter within; a tiger in a tulsi grove; outside smooth and painted, inside only straw.” (Bengalese). “A honeyed tongue with a heart of gall.” (French). “A terrible ascetic, an atrocious thief.” “A hypocrite is worse than a demon.” “He tells lies by thousands and builds a temple.” (Tamil). “A mouth that prays, a hand that kills.” (Arabian). “All saint without, all devil within.” “A hypocrite pays tribute to God only that he may impose on men.” “God in his tongue and the devil in his heart.” “He has one face to God and another to the devil.” “Hypocritical piety is double iniquity.” “Never carry two faces under one hood.” “To cry with one eye and laugh with the other.” (English). “Better the world should know you as a sinner than God know you as a hypocrite.” (Danish). “Beware of the man of two faces.” “He has the Bible on his lips but not in his heart.” (Dutch). “He shows honey, he mixes poison.” “Externally a sheep, internally a wolf.” “The hypocrite has the look of an archbishop and the heart of a miller.” (Modern Greek). “Rosary in hand, the devil at heart.” (Portuguese). “The mouth of Buddha, the heart of a snake.” “Water under the grass.” (Chinese). “To clothe a wolf in priest’s clothing.” (Japanese). “Under his arms a Koran, he casts his eyes on a bullock.” (Afghan). “He sits like a tiger withdrawing his claws.” “To plant sugar-cane on the lips.” (Malayan). “At home a spider, abroad a tiger.” (Telugu). “He kicks with his hind feet, licks with his tongue.” (Russian). “A face shaped like the petals of the lotus; a voice as cool as sandal; a heart like a pair of scissors, and excessive humility—these are the signs of a rogue.” (Sanskrit).

If you wish a good day, shave yourself; a good month, kill a pig, a good year, marry; and one always good, become a clergyman. (Spanish).

If you wish to know the character of the prince, look at his ministers; if you wish to understand the man, look at his friends; if you wish to know the father, observe his son. (Chinese).
“Birds of a feather flock together.” “Tell me with whom thou goest and I’ll tell thee what thou doest.” “You may know him by the company he keeps.” “Who keeps company with the wolf will learn to howl.” (English). “Near vermilion one gets stained pink, near ink one gets stained black.” “Near putrid fish you’ll stink, near the epidendrum you’ll be fragrant.” (Chinese).

In a good man, wrath (lasts) for a moment; in a middle man, for two hours; in a base man, for a day and night; in a great sinner, until death. (Sanskrit).

Infidelity, violence, deceit, envy, extreme avariciousness, a total want of good qualities, with impurity, are the innate faults of womankind. (Sanskrit).
See also Bible Proverbs—Old Testament: “Grace is deceitful and beauty is vain,” etc.
There are many proverbs that sneer at women, but none are more severe and unjust than this. It may be said, however, that the expression reflects the opinion and teaching of an ascetic who has taken upon himself the vow of perpetual celibacy, and not the common belief of the people.
“He who blackens others does not whiten himself.” (German).

In infancy, the father should guard her; in youth, her husband should guard her; and in old age her children should guard her; for at no time is a woman properly to be trusted with liberty. (Sanskrit).

Iron breaks stone, fire melts iron, water extinguishes fire, the clouds consume water, the storm dispels clouds, man withstands the storm, fear conquers man, wine banishes fear, sleep overcomes wine, and death is the master of sleep; but “Charity,” says Solomon, “saves even from death.” (Hebrew).

It is a shame to a man to be refused by a woman, left by a boat, or thrown by a mare. (Gaelic).

Keep yourself from the anger of a great man, from the tumult of a mob, from fools in a narrow way, from a man that is marked, from a widow who has been twice married, from wind that comes in at a hole, and from a reconciled enemy. (Spanish).

Kindred without friends, friends without power, power without will, will without effect, effect without profit, profit without virtue, is not worth a rush. (French).

Learning comes by degrees, wealth little by little, climbing a mountain is done gradually, love comes by degrees, anger little by little—these five little by little. (Burmese).

Love, a cough, smoke, and money cannot long be hid. (French, German, Italian).
Sometimes the proverb is rendered: “Love, a cough, smoke, and money are hard to hide.”
See proverb, “There are three things never hidden: love, a mountain, and one riding on a camel.”
“Love and a cough cannot be hid.” “Nature and love cannot be hid.” “Love and a sneeze cannot be hid.” “Love and poverty are hard to hide.” (English). “Love, a cough, the itch, and the stomach cannot be hid.” (Venetian). “Love, a cough, and the itch cannot be hid.” (French, Italian). “Love and smoke cannot be hid.” “Love, a cough, and gall cannot be hid.” (French). “Love and light winna hide.” (Scotch). “True love endures no concealment.” (Spanish). “Love and a cough will not let themselves be hidden.” (German).
“Love and murder will out.”—William Congreve.
“Love and a red rose can’t be hid.”—Thomas Holcroft.

Marriage is of three kinds—marriage for beauty implying love, marriage for convenience, and marriage for money. (Arabian).

Nectar should be taken even out of poison, a well-spoken word should be received even from a youth, rectitude should be acknowledged even in an enemy, and gold should be taken out of filth. (Sanskrit).

No house without a mouse, no barn without corn, no rose without a thorn. (German).

No man is entitled to consideration unless he has these three things, or at least one of them: The fear of God to restrain him from evil, forbearance with wicked men, and a good nature toward all. (Arabian).

One lump of clay (is moulded) into vessels of many forms, one of gold (is made) into ornaments of many shapes, cow-milk is one though yielded by many cows; so the one supreme soul presides in many bodies. (Sanskrit).

One should know a horse by its speed, an ox by its burden, a cow by milking, and a wise man by his speech. (Burmese).

Patience is the key to joy, penitence to pardon, modesty to tranquillity. (Arabian).

Physic for healing, soup for nourishment, and sake for happy living. (Japanese).
Sake, an alcoholic beverage in common use by the Japanese, made by the fermentation of rice.

Self-acquired property is good, that acquired by a father is middling, a brother’s property is low, a woman’s property is the lowest of the low. (Sanskrit).

She is a wife who is clever in the house, she is a wife who is fruitful in children, she is a wife who is the soul of her husband, she is a wife who is obedient to her husband. (Sanskrit).
Many Sanskrit proverbs indicate that the people of India hold the ancient belief that women are born to serve men. This particular saying has been repeated for many generations being first spoken before the Christian era.

Six things have no business in the world: A fighting priest, a coward knight, a covetous judge, a stinking barber, a soft-hearted mother, and an itchy barber. (French).
“A wooden elephant, an antelope of leather, and a Brahman without knowledge—these three things only bear a name.”—Manu.

Sleep in the morning, wine at noon, trifling with children, and spending time with the ignorant shorten a man’s existence. (Hebrew).

Sorrow for a father six months, sorrow for a mother a year, sorrow for a wife until a second wife, sorrow for a son for ever. (Sanskrit).
The reference is to sorrow occasioned by death.

The advantages of marriage are purity of life, children, pleasures of home, and the happiness of exertion for the comfort of wife and children. (Arabian).

The affairs of a king are not perfected except by four things: counsel, money, auxiliaries, and secrecy. (Arabian).
The Arabs also say that husbandry requires four things: soil, seed, water, and sun.

The beginning of a ship is a board; of a kiln, a stone; of a king’s reign, salutation; and of the beginning of health, is sleep. (Irish).

The best preacher is the heart, the best teacher is time, the best book is the world, the best friend is God. (Hebrew).

The best qualities for a minister (of state) are justice, thorough investigation, wise determination, firmness, and secrecy. (Sanskrit).

The brown rain at the fall of the leaf, the black rain at the springing of roots, and the grey rain of May—the three worst waters. (Gaelic).

The enemy who is either avaricious, subject to passion, unruly, treacherous, violent, fearful, unsteady, or a fool, is easily to be defeated, we are told. (Sanskrit).

The foot should be placed (on a spot) seen to be clean, water should be drunk after having been strained through a cloth, a word should be spoken with truth, (a business) should be done with consideration. (Sanskrit).

The gravest fish is an oyster; the gravest bird’s an ool; the gravest beast’s an ass; an’ the gravest man’s a fool. (Scotch).

The jewel of the necklace, the canopy of the throne, the vanguard of the army, the point in discourse, the best verse of the poem. (Arabian).
A proverb used by modern Egyptians, current at Cairo. Burckhardt says that the jewel of the necklace, literally the eye of the necklace, “is the precious stone, or medallion, or gold coin, which hangs upon the breast from the middle of a woman’s necklace; the vanguard of the army is composed of the bravest soldiers; the point in discourse is the most material part of a question under discussion; and the best verse of the poem is the verse in which the poet has exerted his utmost powers. It is the main verse usually found toward the end of the composition, called Kasyde.”

The king must answer for his country’s sin; the priest, for the king’s sin; the husband, for his wife’s sin; and the Guru, for the disciple’s sin. (Sanskrit).
A Guru is a teacher, particularly a religious teacher. It is also said “The defects even of a Guru should be told.”

The man is strange who, seeking a lost animal, suffers his own soul to be lost; who, ignorant of himself, seems to understand God; who doubts the existence of God when he sees His creatures. (Arabian).
“The legs of those who require proofs of God’s existence are made of wood.” (Persian). “We cannot see our own forehead, our ears, or our backs; neither can we know the hairs of our head; if a man knows not himself how should he know the Deity?” (Telugu). “A man knowing law, but without God’s fear, is a man having the key of the inner but not of the outer chamber.” (From the Talmud—Hebrew). “Sitting in a well and staring at the stars.” (Chinese). “The frog in the well sees nothing of the high seas.” (Japanese). “Every little blade of grass declareth the presence of God.” (Latin).

The man with a cataract in his eye is one in a hundred, the one-eyed is one in a thousand, the squint-eyed is one in a lakh and twenty-five thousand; but the squint-eyed man proclaims to all the world—“Beware of the grey-eyed man.” (Behar).
One in a hundred, one in a thousand, etc., is intended to indicate the proportion of rascals in each class. The proverb is applied to those who excuse their own misdeeds by declaring others are worse than themselves.

The merit of a house does not consist in its lofty walls, but in its not leaking; the goodness of clothes does not consist in flowering and network, but in their being warm; eating and drinking does not consist in the consumption of costly articles of food, but in satisfying the appetite; the excellence of a wife does not consist in beauty, but in virtue. (Chinese).

The most worthless things on earth are these four: Rain on a barren soil, a lamp in sunshine, a beautiful woman given in marriage to a blind man, and a good deed to one who is ungrateful. (Arabian).

The poison of a scorpion is in his tail; the poison of a fly is in his head; the poison of a serpent is in his fang; the poison of a bad man is in his whole body. (Sanskrit).

The quality of a friend should be sincerity, liberality, bravery, constancy in joy and sorrow, rectitude, attachment, veracity. (Sanskrit).

There are four points in a good character from which all good traits take their origin—prudence, courage, continence, and justice. (Arabian).

There are six faults which a man ought to avoid: The desire of riches, drowsiness, sloth, idleness, tediousness, fear, and anger. (Sanskrit).

There are three misfortunes in life: In youth to lose a father; in middle age, the death of a wife; in old age, to have no children. (Japanese).

There are three things never hidden: Love, a mountain, and one riding on a camel. (Arabian).
See proverb: “Love, a cough, smoke, and money cannot long be hid.”
“Three things are no disgrace to a man: To serve his quest, to serve his horse, and to serve his own house.” “Three things are known only in the following ways—a hero in war, a friend in necessity, and a wise man in danger.” “Three things contribute to a long life: A large house, an obedient wife, and a swift horse.” “Three things give one a fever: A loitering messenger, a lamp that will not give light, and a waiting dinner for a guest who does not come.” (Arabian). “There are three things that don’t bear nursing: An old woman, a hen, and a sheep.” “There are three without rule: A mule, a pig, and a woman.” “The three most pleasant things: A cat’s kittens, a goat’s kid, and a young woman.” (Irish). “Avoid three things: A snake, a smooth-tongued man, and a wanton woman.” (Japanese). “Of three things the devil makes a salad: Advocates’ tongues, notaries’ fingers, and a third that shall be nameless.” “Three things drive a man out of doors: Smoke, dropping water (or a leaky roof), and a shrew.” “Three things only are done well in haste: Flying from the plague, escaping quarrels, and catching fleas.” (Italian). “Three things are insatiable: Priests, monks, and the sea.” “Three great evils come out of the north: A cold wind, a cunning knave, and a shrinking cloth.” (English). “Three things cost dear: The caresses of a dog, the love of a mistress, and the invitation of a host.” (English and Italian). “Three things soon pass away: Woman’s beauty, the rainbow, and the echo of the woods.” “Three things have no long continuance: Knowledge without argument (exercise), wealth without commerce, and a country without law and management.” (Kashmiri). “The three dearest of things: Hen’s eggs, pork, and old women’s praise.” “The three prettiest dead: A little child, a salmon, and a black cock.” “Three of the coldest things: A man’s knee, a cow’s horn, and a dog’s nose.” “Three gifts of the Bard: A dog’s hunger for a feed, a raven’s bidding to a feast, an impatient man’s thirst for his dram.” “Three that come unbidden: Love, jealousy, and fear.” “The three Fernian bed stuffs: Fresh tree tops, moss, and fresh rushes.” (Gaelic). “Three things on the earth are accounted precious: The three are knowledge, grain, and friendship. (Burmese).

There are two that are never satisfied: He who seeks after learning and he who seeks after wealth. (Arabian).

There is not a gem in every rock, no pearl in every elephant, nor sandlewood in every forest, nor erudition in every place. (Burmese).
There is a belief among the Burmese that there is a pearl to be found in the elephant’s head.

There is pain in acquiring wealth, pain in preserving what has been acquired, pain in its loss, and pain in its expenditure—why have such a receptacle of sorrow? (Sanskrit).

The scoffer, the liar, the hypocrite, and the slanderer can have no share in the future world of bliss. (Hebrew).

These six—the peevish, the niggard, the dissatisfied, the passionate, the suspicious, and those who live upon others’ means—are forever unhappy. (Sanskrit).

The spring is the youth of trees, wealth is the youth of men, beauty is the youth of women, intelligence is the youth of the young. (Sanskrit).

The thinking of a bad thought, the uttering of a bad speech, and the doing of a bad deed—this is the character of a fool. (Burmese).

The voice is the beauty of cuckoos; chastity is the beauty of women; learning is the beauty of the deformed; patience is the beauty of ascetics. (Sanskrit).

Though the sun and moon be bright, they cannot shine under an inverted bowl; though the sword of justice be swift, it will not behead a man without crime; neither will flying misfortune enter the doors of the careful. (Chinese).

Those eager to amass wealth regard neither priests nor relations; those eager to indulge lust feel neither fear nor shame; those eager in the pursuit of knowledge care not for comfort or sleep; those eager to satisfy hunger regard neither the flavour nor the cookery. (Sanskrit).

Those without a leader perish; those without a youthful leader perish; those without a female leader perish; those without many leaders perish. (Sanskrit).

To be the husband of a worthless woman, covering with a hole in the middle of it, a hired weaver—these three are the agony of death. (Assamese).
The Assamese cart is drawn by bullocks and covered with a kind of hood made of matting and held up by bamboo hoops.

To confer favours happily three things are necessary:—promptness, discrimination, and secrecy. (Arabian).

To feed the land before it gets hungry; to give it rest before it grows weary; to weed it well before it gets dirty—the marks of a good husbandman. (Gaelic).

To go safely through the world you must have the eye of a falcon, the ear of an ass, the face of an ape, the mouth of a pig, the shoulders of a camel, and the legs of a deer. (Italian, English).

To rise at five, dine at nine, sup at five, go to bed at nine—make a man live to ninety-nine. (French).
Another French proverb says: “To rise at six, eat at ten, sup at six, go to bed at ten—make a man live years ten times ten.”
See Wit and Humour in Proverbs: “Early rising is the first thing that puts a man to the door.”

We ask four things for a woman—that virtue dwell in her heart, modesty in her forehead, sweetness in her mouth, and labour in her hands. (Chinese).

When anger is repressed by reason of inability to do immediate harm, it retires into the heart in the form of malice and breeds these vices: Envy, triumph over the enemies, ill, repulsion of friendly approaches, contempt, slander, derision, personal violence, and injustice. (Arabian).

Who gains wisdom? He who is willing to receive instruction from all sources. Who is the mighty man? He who subdueth his temper. Who is rich? He who is content with his lot. Who is deserving of honour? He who honours mankind. (Hebrew).

Wishing for long life, one should eat facing the east; wishing for wealth, he should face the south; if he desire prosperity, he should eat facing the west; one should not eat facing the north. (Burmese).

With dancing and joy, moves the maggot; wriggling about to and fro, moves the worm: They dance, they rejoice, but the child of the Banabana is going to the wood farm. (Yoruba—West Africa).
“The Banabana is an insect that carries a bit of wood in its mouth, and this is an emblem of the poor who must fetch fuel from the farms. The proverb will thus mean—‘Others may amuse themselves, but the poor man has no holiday.’”—Richard F. Burton.

Without ascending the mountain, one cannot know heaven’s height; without descending to the valley, one cannot know the earth’s depth; without listening to the sayings bequeathed by a former king, one cannot know wisdom’s greatness. (Chinese).

You should forsake a man for the sake of your family; you should forsake your family for the sake of your village; you should forsake your village for the sake of your country; you should forsake the earth for the sake of yourself. (Sanskrit).