Georgia: Mingrelian Proverbs

Proverbs are one of the most important folklore traditions around the world. For other units with proverbs included, see English Nursery Rhymes, Brer Rabbit, and Tibetan Folktales.

The Mingrelians are an ethnic subgroup in Georgia who living in the Samegrelo region; they speak Migrelian, which, like Georgian, is a South Caucasian language. For more information, see Wikipedia.

[Notes by LKG]

This page is part of the Georgian Folktales unit. Story source: Georgian Folk Tales, by Marjory Wardrop (1894).

(Mingrelians, photo taken in 1865)

Mingrelian Proverbs

1. TURN to the right, or turn to the left,
’Twill all be one in the end.

2. The rat that came from outside,
Drove out the house-born rat.

3. Fight for the outlying village,
If thou wantest the one nearer home.

4. Wish thy neighbour to have an ox,
And God will send it to thee.

5. The wolf was abused as wolfish,
While the jackal ate up the flock.

6. The hen scratched and scratched till she dug up a knife,
With which her own throat was afterwards cut.

7. The road runs where an old road ran,
The river flows in the bed of a former river.

8. 'Give me room to stand,' quoth the bull, 'and I
Shall make myself enough room to lie.'

9. If the bear overcome thee--then call him Papa.

10. The dog took fright at a wolf,
And barked all the year round at a stump.

11. Who ever heard of a fish being prized
As long as it stayed in the stream?

12. They shot at the ripe--but the green fruit fell.

13. Leave a good deed on a stone by the way,
Thou'lt find it again after many a day.
(i.e. Cast thy bread on the waters.)

14. I say it--but whether it happen or no
’Tis nothing to do with me.

15. Eat and drink up whatever is thine,
But cross thyself over all that ’s mine.

16. Who slew me?--My brother.
Who brought me back to life?--My brother.

17. The well-doer receives not good in return.

18. The truthful man is always duped.

19. My father I love, my mother I love
But myself I prefer before all.

20. A heart-kiss is better than a lip-kiss.

21. If thou hast not eaten pepper, why does thy mouth burn?

22. A disease that one sees, will not kill;
’Tis hidden sores do the most ill.

23. Our granny has no teeth, so she
Likes not others' teeth to see.

24. He has forgotten the soul of his father, so he swears by the soul of his grandsire.

25. Gold is good, but if thou have it not, of what use is it to thee?

26. Better is copper of thine own than gold that is another's.

27. Of what use is light to him that is blind?

28. If thou art brave, do not bewail
The bluntness of thy sword.

(500 words)

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