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The chickens don't brag about their own soup. (Marti

nique Creole).

The reference is of course to chicken soup.


The cockroach is never in the right where the fowl is

concerned. (Trinidad Creole).
Lafcadio Hearn declared that he found this proverb

in every dialect that he had been able to study.
“The cockroach is never silly enough to approach

the door of the henhouse. (Martinique Crcole). “The cockroach is always wrong when arguing with the chickens." (English). “The cockroach never wins its cause when the chicken is

judge.” (Haytian). In a note to this proverb Mr. John Bigelow quotes

P. B. Hunt of Philadelphia as saying: "Hens feed on cockroaches in the West Indies to such an extent as to make the yolks of their eggs pale, thin, and at times more or less bitter, just as our hens' eggs are affected in the 'locust year' by a similar course of feeding. It is the commonest negro proverb in Martinique. When in 1845 the Chamber of Deputies of France was discussing the question of slavery in the colonies and proposed a plan by which a slave could redeem himself by an appeal to the colonial magistrates, Rouillat de Cussac, a Martinique lawyer, told the deputies that in this case the slave would repeat to them leur proverb le plus habituel, “Ravet pas teni raison devant poulé.' It has always been in use in Trinidad, which was both a French and Spanish island before it was English. The negroes of Jamaica and the other British West Indies say: 'Cockroach never in de right before fowls.' 'Cockroach eber so drunk, him no walk past fowl yard.' 'When cockroach make dance, him no ax fowl.'"-"Wit and Wis

dom of the Haytians ” (Harper's Monthly, 1875). The dog has four paws, but it is not able to go four different

ways. (Martinique Creole).

Four different ways at the same time. The devil is a busy bishop in his own diocese. (English,


The frog enjoys itself in water, but not in hot water. (Wolof

-West African).

The frog has no shirt, and you want him to wear drawers.

(Trinidad Creole).

The height o' nonsense is supping soor milk wi' a brogue.


Broguei.e. bradawl.
“Keeping the sea back with a pitchfork.” “You

cannot drive a windmill with a pair of bellows."
“Long ere you cut down an oak with a penknife."

(English). Other proverbs of similar nature will be found under

Impossibilities and Absurdities in Proverbs. The Kājar has gone to Bihār, while the wife has wide

spread her eyelids. (Behar).

Kajar-i.e. lamp-black.
The ludicrous picture presented by this proverb is

that of a woman, who, desiring to put some lamp-
black on the lower lids of her eyes according to
the practices of the women of the district, opens
her eyes wide for the purpose and finds that there
is none within reach, so instead of exerting herself
to get it she remains with staring countenance
vainly waiting for it to be brought. The ridicu.
lousness of her position, the unsatisfied vanity
depicted in her features, and the hopelessness of
her expectation unite in making the picture one
that fitly represents people who wait without
exertion for some turn in events, by which lost

opportunities for personal betterment will return. "They have gone to Bihar for the collyrium and the

bride continues looking in expectation.” (Hindustani).

The moat is heaven to the cat that falls into it. (Telugu).

He will be drowned.
The proverb is applied to people who become in-

volved in inextricable difficulties.

The mosquito is without a soul, but its whizzing vexes the

soul. (Osmanli).

The plaintiff and defendant are in a boat, the witnesses

are obliged to swim. (Hindustani).
When it comes to the court, the plaintiff and defend-

ant may be anxious as to the issue of the trial,
but the witnesses have to stir themselves to
greater exertion.

There is no sore as big as the head cut off. (Vai-West


There is nothing so eloquent as a rattlesnake's tail.

(American Indian). “There's a mote in't," quo' the man when he swallowed

the dishclout. (Scotch). There's mair knavery on sea and land than a' the warld

beside. (Scotch). “There's many a sort of instrument,” said the man who

had the wooden trump. (Irish).

“ There's sma sorrow at our parting," as the auld mear

said to the broken cart. (Scotch). The Rui fish grieves at falling into the hands of an un

skilful cook. (Bengalese).
The Rui fish is regarded by the people of Bengal

as a great delicacy, and is used in this proverb as
representing an intelligent person who has come

under the authority of an ignorant man or a fool. The snake says he doesn't hate the person who kills him,

but the one who calls out, “ Look at the snake!"

(Martinique Creole). The stealing is done by the moustacheless, but the man

with a moustache is blamed for it. (Behar).
“The small fish do the skipping, but it comes down

on the head of the big fish." (Behar). “The
small fish, by their activity, stir up the water and
thus indicate to the fisherman where he should cast
his net; then, when it is cast, they escape through
the meshes and let the big fish be caught; so the
moustacheless man steals food and lets the man
who has crumbs on his moustache be blamed."

The titmouse holds up his feet that the sky may not fall on

it. (Persian).
“Would the sea gull support the sky (with her feet)

in case it fall ? (Behar).
The absurd picture of a titmouse sleeping on its

back with its tiny feet held up to prevent the sky from falling on it is presented to the mind by this proverb, for the purpose of showing the folly of a weak man contending with another who is stronger, or attempting to perform a task too difficult for him.

The wren spreads his feet wide in his own house. (Gaelic).

The absurd picture of the little bird, in its pride

and assumption of importance, stretching its feet wide apart in its own house, is here presented to ridicule the pretensions of a conceited swaggerer.

They came to shoe the Pacha's horse and the beetle stretched out his leg. (Arabian). “The camels were being branded and the spider

came to be branded too.” (Hindustani). "The horses were shoeing themselves, the frogs held up their feet.” (Afghan). "The camels are carried down by the current, the spider says 'I can find no bottom. (Hindustani).

“They're a bonny pair,” as the deil said o' his cloots.

"They're a bonny pair,' as the craw said o' his

“Shame fa' the couple,' as the cow said to her fore feet.' 'They're curly and crooket,' as the deil said o' his horns." (Scotch). “That's a pair,' as the crow said to his feet.” (Gaelic).

This lie is a good lie: A snake swallowed an elephant.


To be up to one's neck in love with a pair of tall clogs on.


To come sailing in a sow's ear. (English).

To steal the pig and give away the pettitoes for God's

sake. (Spanish, Italian).
He steals a goose and gives the giblets in alms.”

'He'll dress an egg and give the offal to the poor.'
“He will swallow an egg and give away the shell
in alms.” “To steal the hog and give the feet
for alms." (English). “To steal the leather and
give away the shoes for God's sake." He
swallowed an egg and gave away the shell in
alms.' (German). “To steal a sheep and give
away the trotters for God's sake." (Portuguese).
“To steal the pig and give away the feet for the

love of God." (Italian). What can a pig do with a rose-bottle? (Telugu).

Like reading a portion of the Veda to a cow about to gore you.

“Though religious instruction be whispered into the ear of an ass, nothing will come of it but the accustomed braying." (Tamil). “A garland of flowers in a monkey's paw. (Telugu). “Gold coin to a cat." (Japanese).

"It is folly to give comforts to a cow.” (Persian). What did my father die of ? An excuse! (Spanish).

Applied to people who neglect making a will and

die intestate.

What would shame him would turn back a funeral. (Irish). When fortune smiles on a mean person, he orders an

umbrella to be brought at midnight. (Telugu). Among the Telugus an umbrella is a sign of rank or

authority. “He who is on horseback, he no longer knows his

own father." (Russian). “Set a beggar on horseback and he will ride to the devil.” (Latin, English, Spanish, German). "A beggar, ennobled does not know his own kinsmen." (Italian). “When a peasant is on horseback, he knows neither God nor any one.” “When a mean person becomes rich he knows neither relatives nor friends." “The dog saw himself in fine breeches (and would not recognize his companions).” "The clown (or peasant) saw himself in plush breeches and was as insolent as

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