Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where the Crayfish Sleep

I think proverbs represent the essence of all human wisdom. Effective Soviet politicians, like Stalin and Khrushchev, seem to have had mastery over all of them. When threatened both men could almost always defend their rhetorical position with a choice aphorism or proverb. Below are a few Russian proverbs I've discovered via Wikipedia, Wikiquotes, and

Quality goods advertise themselves

Masha is good, but she's not ours.

Call me a pot. Just don't put me in the oven.

He wants to eat a fish but doesn't want to get into the water.

A bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit.

Bad news doesn't rest.

The further into the woods you go, the more firewood you find.

One can't wash a black dog until it turns white.

Whatever a fool does, he does it wrong.

Whether you hit an owl with a stump, or a stump with an owl, it's the owl who will get hurt.

What fell off the cart is as good as gone.

The cat knows whose meat it has eaten.

You can't hide an awl in a sack.

This story happened long ago, and it's true.

Berry by berry, a basket will become full.

Eggs don't teach a chicken.

I'm not me, and this is horse isn't mine.

It's easier for the mare when the woman gets off the cart.

Poverty is in want of much, avarice of everything.

For a mad dog seven versts aren't a long detour.

God won't give it away, pigs won't eat it.

For a big ship, a big voyage.

A beard doesn't make a philosopher.

Every barber knows that.

Since the times of Tsar Green-Pea.

To show someone where the crayfish spends winter.

Shchi and kasha are our food.

Every sandpiper praises his own swamp.

It's the still waters that are inhabited by demons.

Nobody goes to Tula with one's own samovar.

Only the grave will cure the hunchback.

A goose is not a pig's friend.

God is far up and the Tsar is far away.

Debt is beautiful only after it's repaid.

When you are home, even the walls help you.

Friendship is friendship, but keep your tobacco separate.

I have kvass, but not for you.

A beaten person is worth two unbeaten ones.

Law is like the shaft of a cart, it points wherever you turn it to.

They don't hit you in the nose for asking.

If I knew where I would fall, I'd lay some straw.

The wolves are sated, and the sheep are okay.

You can't drop a word out of a song.

The turkey was also thinking but he ended up in the soup.

One can't spoil porridge with butter.

Beware of the goat from its front side, a horse from its back side, and an evil man from every side.

The less you know, the more soundly you sleep.

I would have had no luck but for misfortune.

The wolf is beaten not for being grey but for having eaten the sheep.

Better 100 friends than 100 rubles.

The place doesn't adorn the man, the man adorns the place.

Don't try to get into hell ahead of your father.

A pig will find mud.

1 comment:

  1. Hilarious! Have you started using some of these?