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International Proverbs from Early Service Training

August 26, 2010

Thank you to Ann Betz for finding all these proverbs and sending them to us!

When elephants battle, the ants perish. (Cambodia)

Talk does not cook rice. (China)

You can’t chew with someone else’s teeth. (Yiddish)

Mistrust is an ax at the tree of love. (Russia)

Do not look for apples under a poplar tree. (Slovakia)

A blow passes on; a spoken word lingers. (Yiddish)

Anger is a bad advisor. (Hungary)

Eyes can see everything but themselves. (Serbo-Croation)

Little by little, the cotton thread becomes a loincloth. (Africa)

It is one thing to cackle and another to lay an egg. (Ecuador)

You can’t spit on my back and make me think it’s rain. (Yiddish)

To hide one lie, a thousand lies are needed. (India)

If you get up one more time than you fall you will make it through.

A wise man never knows all, only fools know everything. (Africa)

A person who develops themselves is born twice. (Argentina)

Clouds that thunder do not always rain. (Armenia)

Between the beginning and the end there is always a middle. (Brazil)

When the sun rises, it rises for everyone. (Cuba)

Life is short but a smile takes barely a second. (Cuba)

Beyond the mountain is another mountain. (Haiti)

Ignorance doesn’t kill you, but it does make you sweat a lot. (Haiti)

You can outdistance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you. (Rwanda)

If you are building a house and a nail breaks, do you stop building, or do you change the nail? (Rwanda)

In every woman there is a Queen. Speak to the Queen and the Queen will answer. (Norway)

Walk with your slippers until you can find your shoes. (Italy)

Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and all good things will be yours. (Sweden)

Sweep first before your own door, before you sweep the doorsteps of your neighbors.(Sweden)

Goodness speaks in a whisper, evil shouts. (Tibet)

If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are. (Zen)

No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place. (Zen)

Sit, walk, or run, but don’t wobble. (Zen)

Reading books removes sorrows from the heart. (Morocco)

Do not kick away the canoe which helped you to cross the river. (Madagascar)

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. (New Zealand)

A tiger does not have to proclaim its tigritude. (Nigeria)

People who do not break things first will never learn to create anything. (Philippines)

What was hard to bear is sweet to remember. (Portugal)

Never ask God to give you anything; ask God to put you where things are. (Mexico)

It’s not enough to know how to ride — you must also know how to fall. (Mexico)

A book is a garden carried in the pocket. (Saudi Arabia)

Wisdom does not come overnight. (Somalia)

Venture all; see what fate brings. (Vietnam)

If you wish to know what a person is, place them in authority. (Yugoslavia)

After all is said and done, more is said than done. (U.S.)

Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose. (Turkey)

Where there is sunshine, there is also shade. (Kashmiri Culture)

Those who can’t dance say the music is no good. (Jamaica)

Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods. (Japan)

Bad and good are intertwined like rope. (Japan)

The cobra will bite you whether you call it cobra or Mr. Cobra. (India)

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