“Wisdom of Nations” – Animal Proverbs (Part II)

“The wisdom of nations lies in their proverbs, which are brief and pithy. Collect and learn them; they are notable measures of directions for human life; you have much in little; they save time in speaking; and upon occasion may be the fullest and safest answer.” William Penn

Proverbs about animals are taken from “Dictionary of English Proverbs, Sayings and Idioms in Russian, Kazakh and German” by Sakina Akmetova, published by Mektel in Almaty, 2009

“A good horse should be seldom spurred.” OR “Do not spur a willing horse.”

“A lazy sheep thinks its wool heavy.” Turkey (too much trouble to carry their own wool, lazy)

“Better have a mouse in the pot than no flesh.” Scottish

“Careless shepherds make many a feast for the wolf.” Chinese?

“Even a mangy sheep is good for a little wool.”

“Every man thinks his own geese swans.” OR “Every mother thinks her own gosling a swan.” Danish or German

“Flies always sit themselves on a thin horse.” [Mennonite Low German from Kansas – the vulnerable are always targeted by predatory people]

“Go to bed with the lamb and rise with the lark.”

“If you want a pretense to whip a dog, say that he ate the frying pan.”

“It is a small flock that has not a black sheep.”

“Man is a wolf to a man.” Roman proverb by Plautus “Homo homini lupus”

“Nightingales will not sing in a cage.”

“No room to swing a cat.” (very tight quarters)

“One man may steal a horse while another may not look over a hedge.” German

Some are chartered libertine while others are always eyed with suspicion

“One might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.” If you are caught and getting the same punishment, you may as well commit the greater offense

“One scabbed sheep will mar a whole flock.” Danish

“The camel going to seek horns lost his ears.” Latin or Turkish – in seeking to better their condition, they lose the advantages that are at hand.

“The dog barks, but the caravan goes on.” (Persian – indicate the superiority of the great to popular clamour)

“To eat the calf in the cow’s belly.” (Reckon one’s chickens before they are hatched – spending our pregnant hopes before they are delivered)

“To find a mare’s nest.” – (complex and difficult situation or hoax and fraud)

“To give a lark to catch a kite.” (Throw out a minnow to catch a sprat)

“To have rats in the attic.” Danish

“Too much pudding will choke a dog.” (Too much of a good thing)

“To see which way the cat jumps.” (You postpone making a decision until you have seen how things develop)

“To send owls to Athens.” (Greek, similar to “sending coals to Newcastle” – engage in something that is useless)

“Where the horse lies down, there some hair will be found.”

“While the grass grows, the horse starves.” (Dreams or expectations may be realized too late)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: