Archive for the ‘Crucial Quotes For Me And You’ Category

Comparative Proverbs, II

Continuing our erratic series of comparative proverbs, I was reminded the other day of the Tibetan saying that goes: “Don’t stare too hard at the yak that your father-in-law offers you”.


It immediately brings to mind the gift horse you aren’t supposed to look in the mouth, a saying which has an almost exact equivalent in Spanish (A caballo regalado, no le mires los dientes) which, actually, is more explanatory than the English version.


Scouring worldwide proverbs, one can also find the Chinese version, which translates roughly as: “When a tiger is a gift, its flaws are fewer than its stripes”. And I am indebted to Dr Abdullah Said Raweh of the Yemeni Linguistic Society for the saying, “If I lend you my dromedary, I know you won’t mind its lopsided hump”.


But my all-time favourite is a little-known saying from the Hausa people of west Africa. Hausa live mostly in what is now Niger, and “Hausa” is also the name of their language. They have obviously learned what “politically correct” means quite recently, and I am told that this proverb is now frowned upon but can still be heard occasionally at old-fashioned wedding ceremonies. The whole ceremony is a complicated ritual of poetry and dance, and includes this snappy fragment:


 “When you give me your daughter, and I say I prefer to see her at night,

It’s not so that I will see less of her, but rather, I prefer not to blinded by the light.”


At Zaragoza Twins, we are always grateful for our readers’ collaboration. If you know any other proverbs that match these, please send them in!





Quote of the Day

“If it looks like chicken, smells like chicken and tastes like chicken, it’s probably walrus.”         – Seth Gooligan

Comparative Proverbs



Just as there’s an English proverb that says, “Don’t sell your chickens before they’re hatched”, there are several proverbs that appeal to our prudence in all languages. In Spain (and, I understand, in Norway) you can hear, “Don’t sell the bear skin before you’ve hunted the bear” and the Chinese say, “Don’t burn your incense until you see the true Buddha”. Here at ZaragozaTwins, we’re always keen to learn equivalents in other tongues, and would like to share some of our recondite discoveries with you.


Be amazed at the startling parallels of these poignant adages:


“Don’t sauté your tofu until you’re sure you’re a vegetarian” – Japan.


“Don’t throw your wife down the well until you’re sure it’s empty” – Mauritania.


“Don’t bribe the mariachi until you’ve heard the music” – Mexico.


If you know of any other proverbs in the same vein, do let us know, and we will publish them here and pretend we’ve discovered them ourselves.






Don’t Quote Me On That

“I sit on a big throne, shouting and belching. That’s how they know I’m their king.”

         King Masootsama of Botswana, 1902

You can quote me

“A fool looks at a wall and sees a river.”                  – Cherokee proverb

Crucial Quote For Me And You, Today and Always

“The sum of all I’ll ever do is the square root of all I’ve ever been.” – Richard B. Erstwhile