Some (older) proverbs

27 May

This was two lists of proverbs, one English and the other African, published as a competition (to match them up) in Popular Science magazine in 1926.


  1. Married in haste, we repent at leisure.
  2. Answer a fool according to his folly.
  3. One swallow does not make a summer.
  4. Out of the frying-pan into the fire.
  5. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.
  6. Birds of a feather flock together.
  7. First catch your hare.
  8. Sour grapes.
  9. Adding insult to injury.
  10. Curses come home to roost.
  11. Distance lends enchantment.
  12. Milk for babes.
  13. We can all endure the misfortunes of others.


  1. One tree does not make a forest.
  2. I nearly killed the bird. No one can eat nearly in a stew.
  3. Full-belly child says to hungry-belly child, “keep good cheer.”
  4. Distant firewood is good firewood.
  5. Ashes fly in the face of him who throws them.
  6. If the boy says he wants to tie the water with a string, ask him if he means the water in the pot or the water in the lagoon.
  7. Cocoanut is not good for birds to eat.
  8. He runs away from the sword and hides himself in the scabbard.
  9. A fool of Ika and an idiot from Iluka meet together to make friends.
  10. The ground-pig said: “I do not feel so angry with the man who killed me as with the man who dashed me on the ground after.”
  11. Quick loving a woman means quick not loving a woman.
  12. If the stomach is not strong, do not eat cockroaches.
  13. No one should draw water from the spring to supply the river.

Interesting both in the comparison between cultures, and in way some of the once-common English proverbs have faded away.


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