The Wisdom of Russian Proverbs

alex atkins bookshelf wisdomLike every people, the Russians have their own accumulation of wisdom that has been passed on from generation to generation through stories, fables, and proverbs. I recently came across a little book of Russian Proverbs published by Peter Pauper Press (try saying that fast three times) in 1960. Peter Pauper Press, founded in 1928, publishes small gift books, including books of quotations and proverbs. Here is some timeless wisdom found in their collection of Russian proverbs:

Where the needle goes, the thread follows.

Counting other people’s money will never make you rich.

Slander, like coal, will either dirty your hand or burn it.

Wash a pig as much as you like, it will return to the mud.

Learn good things — the bad will teach you by themselves.

Better bread and water, than cake and trouble.

No apple is safe from worms.

If you don’t know how to be a good servant, you won’t know how to be a good master.

A guest should not have to honor his host; a host should honor his guest.

The fool makes ropes out of sand.

Once a word is out of your mouth you can’t swallow it again.

Walk fast and you can overtake misfortune; walk slowly and it will overtake you.

You can measure your cloth twelve times, but cut it only once.

Afraid or not, you will have to face your fate.

Don’t take your own rules when you enter a strange monastery.

Even if Truth is buried in a gold box, it will break out and come to light.

A good reputation sits at home, a bad one runs about town.

In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Presents are cheap, true love is dear.

He who rushes at life dies young.

Love your neighbors but put up a fence.

A kind word now is better than a pie later.

If you never see new things, you can go on enjoying the old.

Which is your favorite?

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