Worldly Wise

Proverbs from around the world:

  • If two people tell you you are blind, shut one eye. (Georgia)
  • Those who have free seats at a play hiss first. (China)
  • It is in sugar that you see the dead ant. (Malaysia)
  • Seven days is the length of a guest’s life. (Myanmar)
  • Silence is a fence round wisdom. (Germany)
  • Good things sell themselves; bad things have to be advertised. (Ethiopia)
  • Where there is most mind there is least money. (Latin)
  • Better a free meal of acorns than a honey feast on trust. (Wales)
  • Only an owl knows the worth of an owl. (India)
  • Good luck is the guardian of the stupid. (Sweden)
  • At birth we cry — at death we see why. (Bulgaria)
  • Errands are small on a spring day. (Iceland)
  • The nail suffers as much as the hole. (Netherlands)
  • The higher the castle the nearer to the lightning. (Russia)
  • There never was a five-pound note but there was a ten-pound road for it. (Scotland)
  • A contented mind is a continual feast. (England)

(From David Crystal, As They Say in Zanzibar, 2006.)