Grist to the Mill

04 May, 2005


Without wishing to propagate more stereotypes (no, really) these nautical proverbs seem to contain something of a country’s “national character”. Obviously there’s really no such thing as a country’s “national character” and I’m making it all up, but surely there’s a whiff of the comedy stereotype abounding in these? Here’s what I’m getting at:

Bulgarian Proverb: If you want to drown yourself, don't torture yourself with shallow water.

English Proverb: Worse things happen at sea.
(“mustn’t grumble”)

French Proverb: If the seawater were hotter we could catch boiled fish.

German Proverb: God will help a seaman in a storm but the pilot must remain at the wheel.

Irish Proverb: Nodding the head does not row the boat.

Italian Proverb: After the ship has sunk, everyone knows how she might have been saved.

Japanese Proverb: If you are in a boat you are more afraid of fire than of water.
(insight, profundity)

Latin Proverb: Each man makes his own shipwreck.
(self awareness)

Russian Proverb: When you have fallen into water, the fear of water is gone.
(recklessness, fearlessness)

and this is the link. It’s an interesting site worth having a look at.

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