“Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.”
– Italian Proverb
Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
(Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg)
A loveless life is a living death.
~ Old English Proverb
What good is honor when you’re starving?
~ Yiddish Proverb
The heaviest weight in the world is an empty pocket.
~ Jewish Proverb
Pleasures are transient, honors are immortal.
~ Greek Proverb
“A crust in comfort is better than a feast in fear.” …
“All of us, the great and the little have need of each other.” …
“One who steals has no right to complain if he is robbed.” …
“Fine feathers don’t make fine birds.” …
Aesop (or the legend of such a man) has survived for centuries without a shred of real evidence regarding his actual life. Nobody knows anything about Aesop to be fact; mainly what we continue to carry of this legacy is nothing more than word of mouth, handed down for generations. (In itself, this is amazing!)
I feel strange quoting someone who may not have even existed, but the words are there despite any argument surrounding Aesop, himself.
He was supposedly a hideously ugly slave who could not even speak upon the beginning of his becoming a fabulist. He was given the gift of storytelling from a priestess of Isis, after doing a nice deed for her out of kindness. Apparently, there was no stopping him after that, and the rest is history. Either way, the wisdom attributed to him are profound and worth passing on, in my opinion.
“These are the four abuses: desire to succeed in order to make oneself famous; taking credit for the labors of others; refusal to correct one’s errors despite advice; refusal to change one’s ideas despite warnings.”
“Abuse a man unjustly, and you will make friends for him.”
~ Edgar Howe
“Every abuse ought to be reformed, unless the reform is more dangerous than the abuse itself.”
“You’ve got to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”
~ Irish Proverb
(Of course, I must give a shout out to my one and only “Irish Super Woman”, Tric!!!)
You wanna talk about “ancient wisdom”?…this proverb is enough to stop a clock with its truth. 😉
The Celts have been faring the elements of nature and humankind since the dawn of time, it seems. The Irish, especially, are a very wise and old bloodline in our species of human beings. The history of pre-Celtic Europe remains very controversial to date; but according to some scholars, the common root of the Celtic languages, a language known as Proto-Celtic, appeared sometime amidst the Bronze Age around 1200 BC. They mastered engineering feats that were leaps and bounds ahead of their’ times. The folklore belonging to the Irish is unmatched, in my opinion – I even gave my only child a Celtic name (that has deep meaning and symbolism).
“Danger and delight grow on one stalk.”
~ Scottish Proverb
I won’t go there with William Wallace (FREEDOM!!!!!), as we all know his (brilliantly suppressed for centuries) story. The Scots are an ancient culture infused with the elements of several different Celtic tribes; and, a small but very solid force to be reckoned with. As a tiny place on the fringes of a long-battered area, the Scottish have managed to not only survive history’s many pages of war and unrest – but to thrive as well.
“With all things and in all things, we are relatives.”
~ Arapaho Proverb (Native American)
I chose today’s proverb simply because it chose to grab me when I came across it in a book about Colonial times in the US. I know I am not the only one who has noted the trends amongst native leaders during those times to urge unity and humanity in the face of life-altering impositions and strife; and the above quote is just another example of the tribal tendency to relate with a stranger who is fundamentally different.
“Where the cattle stand together, the lion lies down hungry.” ~ African Proverb
Again, when it comes to the rich and extremely diverse history attached to Africa, it’s almost impossible to narrow this down to any particular focal point. Nelson Mandela was a true inspiration, but we all know about him already. I am going to go with the rich and extremely intriguing story of the Queen of Sheba, instead.
I choose this woman not just because she was the Queen who had a weekender with King Solomon in Ancient Jerusalem before going home; although her status in ancient times suggests that she was a force to be reckoned with. However, the most amazing part about the legacy left behind so long ago is the Kebra Nagast, or The Glory of the Kings: a fourteenth century saga detailing the origins of the Solomonic line of the Emperors of Ethiopia.
This saga illustrates the legendary relocation of the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, where it is said to remain to date in a tiny building under sacred guard, and is very, very historically accurate and quite possibly: a very TRUE account.
“Who takes the child by the hand takes her mother by the heart.”
~ German Proverb
“The discovery of a true friend is the discovery of a treasure.”
– Macedonian Proverb
Alexander “the Great” was born in Macedonia; after his death on the road far from Egypt, one of his top generals (and someone he considered a good friend), Ptolemy I Soter (yes, the originator of Cleopatra IIV’s bloodline), stole his mummified remains and took them to Egypt in order to seal his destiny with the Egyptian people. Hence, creating his own place among the beginning of a dynasty of future Pharaohs. I thought this little side note would be rather fitting to today’s ancient proverb regarding “friends” – a proverb passed down from the very same people that would steal the dead body of the other in order to ensure himself a very good Life. What a friend!
Anyway, this post is with my own bestie in mind, a reminder that she and I are indeed: pirate’s…but quite wealthy pirate’s when it comes to the treasure of ‘friendship’.
“Our last garment is sewn pocketless.” – Roman Proverb
Personally, I am not a huge fan of most famous Romans from the the history books, Julius Caesar and his so-called “civilized” goons, in particular…but every once in a while, I come across a little morsel of goodness in written form from that era. Today’s proverb is one of those old sayings that gives the reader pause to think about its meaning, which is why I have always loved it.
It’s not enough to know how to ride — you must also know how to fall.
~ Mexican Proverb
My stepfather is from Guanajuato City, Guanajuato, Mexico. This is a historic Mexican site for several reasons but most notably would be
- the 111 human mummies that are on display in a building next to the ancient, sprawling cemetery; and
- the revolutionary history associated with the building called the Alhondiga de Ganaditas (an old town granary), on which an insurrectionist head was hung at each corner following an uprising.
His hometown is a beautiful place, but, unfortunately it is one of the only places in Mexico that I have traveled to so far.
“A man can never be caught in places that he does not visit.”
– Danish Proverb
My Papa was born and partially raised on the Danish Archipelago, fishing the coast of Bornholm in Denmark before his parents sent him to the united states due to the rising sense of general unrest that began with the occupation of Nazi Germany in the years leading up to WWII. After being emigrated here, my Papa became a military pilot and flew for the US during the war. I have written before about how wise and wonderful of a man and human being he was; and I have a feeling that might have had a lot to do with his early upbringing and environment.
“Upon suffering beyond suffering the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world; a world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations; a world longing for light again.” – Crazy Horse, Oglala
The Oglala Lakota people are collectively interchangeable with the descendants of the one of the worst National Memories belonging to the US: Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to the National Memorial Site of the notorious massacre of over 250 Lakota, at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890. They represent a long history of violated treaties and broken promises on the part of US government. In 1980, after the longest-running court case in US history, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Black Hills territory, land sacred to the Lakota, had been seized illegally after gold was discovered there in 1874. The court awarded a compensation payment of US$ 106 million, but the tribe refused the money and demanded return of the lands, instead. This is a tribe that has endured against the most tremendous of odds throughout history, and one that I deeply respect and admire as a whole.
“You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.” –Navajo Proverb
The Navajo, or Naabeehó
This tribal population likely makes up the most diverse tribe in modern day US; they originally hail from the Southwestern United States, and are the largest federally recognized tribe of the United States of America (with over 300,000 enrolled members).
“Man’s law changes with his understanding of man.
Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same.”
The name of the tribe, Apsáalooke [ə̀ˈpsáːɾòːɡè], meaning “children of the large-beaked bird”, was given to them by the Hidatsa, a neighboring Siouan tribe; they became known in English as ‘the Crow’.
Other tribes also refer to the Apsáalooke as “crow” or “raven” in their own languages as well.
One thing that has always stuck with me about the Crow is something I saw when I was very small and could barely read: an account by a Crow Warrior about his home and homeland. He wrote something along the lines of:
“The Creator put my people right where it is most perfect for us to be…protected by mountains and hidden by valleys. When someone is here, all is well; but if you travel out of my home in any direction, trouble will find you.”