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Malabar Manual Vol 2
William Logan
APPENDIX X - Proverbs

1. If you put anything inside, it will surely be known outside.

2. Literally, Dagger within, plaster without. 2. Inwardly malicious, but pious outwardly.

3. Call one passing afar and you lose one-eighth of a pice.

4. Of. "A bad workman quarrels with his tools". 4. Want of ingenuity finds fault with any material.

5. Alluding to false accusation. 5. The man on the opposite bank rolled the boat.

6. A kuran or mouse-deer is caught in a trap laid by A. B says to the deer "why starest," etc. 6. Why starest thou at me for being duped by Akkara Mavilon?

7. Why blamest thou thy mother for thy defeat in market ?

8. Alluding to attempting impossibilities. 8. How to dig but the root of Angillapongu (a rootless plant floating on water)?

9. Why should you remove your shoes when water flows far off?

10. If the father be a Mahout (elephant-keeper), will the son also have a callosity on his hinder parts?

11. If there are five buffaloes to milk, the neighbourhood will come to know it. If you strain and drink the conjee (boiled rice with water) your breast will know it.

12. You can keep a betel-nut in your lap, but not a betel-nut tree.

13. The drum gets beaten, but the drummer gets the money.

14. Brothers should never get the length of blows.

15. Even an elephant will fall on its own, if its foot slips.

16. Would you catch a leech and put it abed ?

17. The roof, if broken, will fall inside : a bridge falls into the current.

18. If eyes are given to the leech no chatty can be hung up from the roof.

19. A miry pit suits a leech.

20. A god will be recognised only if clad accordingly.

21. Though I hurt my throat, I will not renounce my share.

22. “The best can do no more" 22. A squirrel does what it can.

23. No mirror is necessary to see one’s brother’s foot.

24. Short life for being otherwise.

25. Covetousness will lead to unusual labour.

26. The thirteenth constellation, royal anger, bilious complaint, and paternal curse, cease not until they produce their effect.

27. Danger follows avarice.

28. If my food could give me good strength and God gives me a long life, you will see me in the battle-field called Mannattal.

29. Spoken of a time-server. 29. Put oil to the sword that is used daily.

30. Applies to artisans and others who have to take their labour to the market daily. 30. Do not benight yourself with a piece of work that cannot be done in one day.

31. If love fails, right fails also.

32. A gift made with a good heart is nectar.

33. Will not you be satisfied, with eating the bread? Why should you count the air-holes in it ?

34. If you practice you can carry an elephant.

35. A door is a morsel (lit. pappatam) to him who devours a temple.

36. In practising, a good many arrows are lost and a good many cadjans used as copybooks. 36. He who has lost a great many arrows, becomes a good archer : he who has spoiled a great many cadjans, a good writer.

37. A Dutchman’s anchor ? 37. The arrow is at Kumbalath, the bow at Sekkalath, but the Nayar who uses them has reached Pannangat gateway.

38. If the mother is a harlot, the daughter is also one.

39. Mother in the ഉറി (net-work for suspending pots), sister below it, and the wife in mortar (rice-pounding).

40. If mother is beaten, father should enquire about it ; and if sister is beaten, brother-in-law should enquire about it.

41. In allusion to a story wherein the ‘‘uncle” and the cow are put in status quo by an umpire. Is repeated by a man when he stops a quarrel, etc. 41. Let uncle stand where he used to stand, and the cow where she used to stand

42 If you take more than your share, the sky will fall down on your head.

43. She who leaves her husband, falling in love with a king, gets neither.

44. Is there war after the king is slain ?

45. Instant death results from the biting of a salamander.

46. It is said that the reptile forgets a thing ere its tail (while creeping) has reached where its head was. 46. Forgetfulness is with salamander.

47. Borrowed from the weaver ; meaning, with reference to any difficulty, that there is as much of it as there is in disentangling half a pallam of yarn. 47. Difficulty of half a pallam weight of thread.

48. Half a pallam weight will waste away when any one goes by side of another.

49. The dog ate the rice and bit the carpenter woman, and yet it snarls.

50. A thousand crows will come if you throw rice.

51. If you (devour) subdue your anger, it will turn out nectar ; but if you devour (fail to use) your weapon, you will not keep your manliness.

52. One in infirmity cannot be ceremonious, nor can one in destitution make presents.

53. For the operation cannot improve the substance. 53. What has been ground should not be pounded.

54. Is the complaint of a patient who has to swallow, unassisted, what the doctors compound. 54. Many are there to grind, but there is only one to drink.

55. Riches (are) ruin.

56. A mean fellow becoming rich will cause an umbrella to be held up for him even at midnight.

57. Do half yourself and leave the other half to Providence.

58. Every clump of bushes is an elephant to an ignorant

59. One need not explain to men of understanding, nor should one explain to men of ignorance.

60. If you can give a thousand to be butchered, why cannot you give one to be reared ?

61. Said of one in extreme agony. 61. Like a cock that struggles having its head out off.

62. Said of one hard-worked. 62. Like a washerman's donkey.

63. Do not speak to a distressed Pulayi woman about a Jungle full of firewood.

64. He is a bed or mattress to ten persons.

65. Said of a dying man. 65. If all the gods come, it can be managed.

66. In the treatment of those who are not versed in Ashtanga Hridayam, turmeric is used as orris root and camphor as Plumbago Ceylanica.

67. Of. "A worm will turn." 67. Even a rat-snake will bite if attacked in its hole.

68. There will be no pulp in a jackfruit that looks beautiful.

69. Deprecates overcrowding. 69. A plantain tree that grows in a cluster of several others will produce no bunch.

70. Put on the chains and log as soon as you see that an elephant is mast.

71. Will a goat know anything of the merchandise in a bazaar ?

72. Dress supplies what merit lacks. 72. To the Chakkiyar who does not know how to dance, dress and ornaments are everything.

73. Like a jungle where goats are allowed to graze.

74. The proximity of kings was dreaded in former days. 74. Goats spoil a jungle ji-tst as a wandering king a country.

75. ‘‘Out of one’s element.’’ 75. How will an oil-monger behave if told off to weave?

76. Give an elephant rather than give rise to hopes.

77. The innermost part of a plantain tree that has brought out its bunch has a 'heart’ resembling ivory in colour, etc. 77. Are ivory and the heart of the plantain tree equal to each other ?

78. The walking of an elephant and the running of a horse are equal.

79. “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, without the part of Hamlet.” 79. How can it be a procession if there is no elephant ?

80. When a dog barks at an elephant-keeper on the back of an elephant, how much will he be frightened

81. When elephants fight, the ants are crushed to death.

82. To an elephant a horse is only a footstool,

83. A palm-tree is sugar to an elephant.

84. An elephant needs no decoration. 84. Do not hang bells on the neck of an elephant.

85. Alludes to people prone to find fault with anything and everything. 85. One so careful that he looks to see if a worm has bitten a gold mohur.

86. Spoken of a stupid fellow. 86. None but senseless words will be uttered, though thousands of instructions are poured into the ear.

87. He holds a thousand gardens on rent, but has only oilcakes to make curry with at night.

88. A man will be called only half a physician if he has made a thousand men blind.

89. One dose of arsenic is sufficient to kill a thousand crows.

90. Having borne it a thousand leagues, do not drag it half a league.

91. Better to see one sovereign than a thousand ministers.

92. A thousand proverbs are not injurious to life, but a thousand curses are.

93. Not quite clear, but is probably spoken by a tiny fish, and has reference to its own escape through the meshes of the net, while the turtle is caught and placed on its back with a stone upon it and the larger fish are strung on an “ikkil". 93. He who pretended to possess a thousand senses, has now a rock on his breast ; and the other who pretended to possess a hundred, is strung on the rib of a cocoanut leaf ; but I who am said to possess only one sense may now leap off free.

94. A thousand words have not the weight of half a pallam (one quarter pound)

95. The words of a person about to plant a thousand nuts. 95. If grown there will be a thousand cocoanuts (tengnga), otherwise the loss is but a thousand shells (tongna).

96. However fondly you may bring up a stranger, he will ever remain a stranger.

97. Is commonly repeated when one is blamed for another’s fault. 97. The Variyan is blamed for another’s fault.

98. You may a thousand times kiss another’s child, but not once slap it.

99. Better (more serviceable) our own gums than the teeth of other people.

100. A Pattar (foreign Brahman) gets a Nayar girl when no one else will have her. Tal is eaten only when nothing else is procurable. 100. If there is nobody else, then give me a Pattar. If there is nothing else to eat, then give me Tal (edible plant).

101. A hundred languages in half a dozen districts.

102. Teaches the importance of accounts. 102. Even if you spill it in a stream, it should be measured.

103. In allusion to a stupid errandboy who, as soon as he was told he must run an errand to a certain place, went thither without waiting to receive the message and returned. 103. Like Ali's going to Nagapuram.

104. If you drink milk at the cattlepen you will not have buttermilk at home.

105. You should not strike a cow on its muzzle when it is coming to the pen.

106. “When you are at Rome do as the Romans do.” 106. When one flying-fox visits another, the one takes one branch, the other another.

107. The result of your deeds during the prime of your life will be seen at the time of your death.

108. Avaricious men will fall into great danger.

109. In Malabar a carpenter begins life by making coconut-shell spoons; in old age he earns a scanty livelihood by making the same description of useful articles. 109 Drudgery at the beginning of life and the end, like (the career of) a carpenter.

110. "Necessity knows no law.’’ 110 When necessity compels, a temple is a mere compound.

111. Precious stones are not unfrequently valued according to the worth of the wearer. 111 The worth of the gem depends on the worth of the man who wears it.

112. If you want a thing done, do it yourself. 112. Better go yourself than send many.

115. "Grasp your nettle.” 113. What the root is to a tree, such is help to a man (who needs it).

114. A long pole for a deep pit.

115. There is no chilliness if you plunge deep (into water).

116. Distance lends enchantment to the view. 116. When seen from this side, the opposite side looks green

117. "Itala” (a fast-burning wood) is not suitable for cremation : nor is a Sudra (for the purpose now in hand).

118. Like a snake that heard thunder.

119. Like a tree struck down by lightning.

120. Do not associate with one that has no friend.

121. If you associate with one that has no friend, you will lose all your nine friends and at last yourself.

122. Children brought up by a beggar will not leave off mendicancy.

123. Fit for no work. 123. Like a snake that has devoured its prey.

124. Probably in allusion to constant calls the maid has to attend to. 124. Like the door of a room in which a maid-servant sleeps.

125. Do not stretch out your legs before you are seated.

126. The would-be donor is certainly liberal. 126. When the rock at Iringath becomes gold, half of it will be given to Devar.

127. Improvements should never begin at the wrong end. 127. Do not thatch your gate-house till after you have thatched your dwelling.

128. Spoken of things that have found their way to people's hands and never will return. 128. Will (red-hot) iron belch the water it has drunk ?

129. A grave wrong is not counteracted by a slight act of the opposite kind. 129. If you swallow an iron bar, will drinking ginger-water enable you to digest it?

130. The horse knows the taste of iron and the elephant the weight of a chain.

131 . Iron and skill will go bad if not used.

132. Falling between two stools. 132. If you put your feet in two boats you will find yourself in the middle (of the stream).

133. If you cut down a tree on which you are seated, the tree will come uppermost and you undermost.

134. An idle fellow will not know what appetite is, but he will who digs hard.

135. Probably meaning that when there is a greater man present, a lesser one should not make much ado. 135. When flesh is present, the feathers should not struggle.

136. The man who went for meat, died of shivering (having been benighted in the jungle), and the man who sent for it died of greediness.

137. Meat is eaten, but the horns are not strung up and hung around the neck.

138. If there is want In the Brahman's house, you need not expect to find anything in the King's palace.

139. He that can be useful at home, will not go abroad as a serving man.

140. A man with plenty at home finds plenty abroad

141. The birth of a daughter is to a Brahman the beginning of anxiety and expense. 141. Why do you look like a Brahman to whom a daughter has been born ?

142. Homeward a man will carry even seventy-five (measures) [an extraordinarily heavy load.]

143. An emaciated child certainly does not indicate plenty at home. 143. The circumstances of the family can be guessed from the child'ship.

144. Has access to all parts of the house(?) 144. Like the cat in a Brahman’s house.

145. Amata (superfine gold) is to the poor the same as common gold.

146. A wife, if not liked, is found fault within whatever she does.

147. Money is a hatchet for severing friendship.

148. Do not plant (a tree) head downwards

149. A young deer does not know the jungle tracks ; an old deer is not strong enough to run.

150. Making a deal of noise (with the feet). 150. Like a dog on a heap of cockleshells.

151. Like a monkey who has got a lump of bread.

152. Both are apt to take advantage and worry you. 152. Do not show your sore to a fly nor your toothless gums to a child.

153. Some mishap (to an enemy) in the nick of time. 153 Sore-mouth to crows when dates ripen.

154. Is a louse to be the wages for removing a nit ?

155. What the miser Mayan had acquired, the prodigal Mayan consumed.

156. She that went to act as a midwife brought forth twins.

157. The reason is not known ; possibly because intercourse with the island was forbidden to Brahmans, or because the trip thither was attended with danger. 157. The Brahman who sees Ceylon will never see his home again.

158. Is that stump of the stalk for me and the coconut for Mullappalli (a Nambutiri) ?

159. For fear of hurting himself (?) 159. Will a man who has a sore on his hip pass through a narrow stile ?

160. How can a man who has no clothes to wear, use a clothes line ?

161 A child that has eaten well will jump and play about, but a child that has not, will play seated in one place.

162. We should not put pebbles in rice left over after meals.

163. A man who has taken his meals will not know the hunger of a man who has not taken it

164. The man who has taken his meals wants a mat : but the man who has not done so wants a plantain leaf (off which to eat).

165. You should not wish to make an attachment (distraint) in a house where you have lived as a boarder

166. Vide 143. 166. The appearance of a child tells the distress prevailing.

167 No presents at meals and no ceremonies in sleep.

168 If destitute of any other things, take rice made of seed paddy, and if no clothing, wear silk

169. As their "luck’’ so the crops. 169 The good luck of the people who are to eat, can be seen at the place ploughed.

170. If you are industrious you can have your dimmer.

171. Real merit alone will retain its place. 171. If you force anything up It will slide down of itself.

172. Better to be drowned in a well with a stone hung on our neck than to be mounting both ends of a pestle (rice pounder) for which there is no use (rice to be pounded).

173 Nothing salted will be more saltish than salt.

174. If anyone eat salt, he will drink water.

175. If salt is saltish, then the Mappilla (shop-keeper) will cheat.

176. Underwent hardship in a useless occupation. 176. He was exposed to smoke while pounding paddy husks.

177. i.e., You must allow for wastage Tudi and ural are alike in shape, but the latter is several times larger than the former. 177. A small drum (tudi) will be formed of it even if you make it as large as a mortar (ural).

178. One must expect to get blows if seated at the foot of a mortar.

179 The former is operated upon on one side only, while the latter is beaten on both sides at least in Malabar. 179. A mortar (for pounding rice) complains to a finger-drum.

180. See 177. 180 Being cut for a pestle, turned out a short stiek.

181. Even an uri (a net work for suspending household pots) will laugh if the truth is spoken.

182. A poor man's iron bar is required for stealing a rich man's gold.

183. If you jump up without knowing your strength, you are sure to break your hip.

184. The former hastens to the feast. The pig, frightened at the sound of the "horn" runs for its life. 184. A Pattar (foreign Brahman) who has heard of a rice choultry and a pig that had heard of a chase (run equally fast).

185. In eating and bathing be first, and in war, umbrella, and mud, the middle.

Commentary                MMVol 1               MMVol 2

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