Hi all, I thought I’d randomly share some Swedish proverbs. Bet you didn’t see that one coming!
The idea is sprung from my recent visit to San Francisco, when mentioning a saying we have in Sweden provided some amusement: sifting mosquitos and swallowing camels.
I only just learned that it is Biblical in origin, which of course makes sense. We sure don’t have any camels up here to go with the mosquitos. You’ll know it as “straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel”.
I suppose our shared history, not least that of Christianity, and shared humanity is the reason so many sayings and proverbs are nearly identical in Swedish and English: it takes two to make a quarrel; grasp all, lose all; one swallow does not make for summer.
But do you know or use any of these? I’ve added some clarifications – feel free to shed further light!
Note: the translations are fairly direct and therefore most poetic qualities are lost.
Don’t judge the dog by its hairs - “don’t judge a book by its covers”.
Sour, said the fox of the rowanberries - apparently the rowanberries are a derivation of the “sour grapes” from “The Fox and the Grapes” in Aesop’s Fables.
Away is good, but at home is best.
Angry cats get scratched skin - “quarrelsome dogs come limping home”.
Burnt child shuns the fire.
One who waits for something good, never waits too long - often used by parents on hungry or eager children. At which point, the child will think, ‘that’s dumb, when you’re waiting for something good, it always takes too long to get it!’
There is no bad weather, only bad clothing - chyeah right..!
What is hidden in snow, is revealed at thaw.
If there is room in the heart, there is room for the behind - this one really looses something in translation, it is shorter and rhymes nicely in Swedish. More like, “if there is heart-room there is butt-room”, really. The meaning being that you can accommodate more people/guests if you make an effort.
First one to the mill (gets to grind first)... - “first come, first served”.
To walk like a cat around hot porridge - this usually refers to talking "around" a topic without getting to the point, because it is a sensitive or intimidating issue. "Beating around the bush", I guess?
No danger on the roof - means there is no harm done, no imminent danger, not to worry. Is this like “Bob’s your uncle”? And why the heck would you talk about some uncle named Bob??
A beloved child has many names - someone or something which is popular is often referred to by many different epithets.
Alike children play best - that you get along best with people who are like you, perhaps is the same as "birds of a feather flock together"?
In the shallowest waters swim the ugliest fish - "an ugly fish" usually refers to a suspicious, dishonest and possibly criminal person. I.e. such a person might be found where you don’t expect it, near plain sight rather than in the deep and dark waters.
A small tuft often overturns a big load - the little hindrances may be fatal.
Don't cross the brook for water - because that would be unnecessary. Don’t complicate things.
Don’t yell ’hello’ until you’ve crossed the creek - kinda like "don't count your chickens before they're hatched."
Evil gunpowder doesn’t easily perish - I never knew the origin of this until now: it is an old etymological misunderstanding of the German phrase "unkraut vergeht nicht", something like "weeds won’t go away". Swedes apparently thought "unkraut" sounded more like "ont krut" which translates to evil gunpowder…
Small pots also have ears - even though kids are small, they do hear and understand a lot. The handles on a pot, we call ears, maybe you guys do to.
And my favourite, a modern one:
Lots of talk and little hockey - all talk and no action. Well, really it’s ‘too much talking and too little shop (doing)’, but I like to say hockey. Sports commentators, like car shop dealers, may talk a lot while there’s not enough ice hockey being played or cars being repaired. Not that I’m into either, lol.
Thanks for having me!
AND JUST FOR FUN, A FICTION PROMPT CALL...!!
Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Take the prompt "A NEW RESOLUTION" and write something for the visitors this month. It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.
Depending on how many (if any!) contributions we get, I'll post them during the month or all in the last week. Just send them in to me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and we'll go from there :).
Follow this month with Clare - and the goodies so far:
JAN 01: A FREE short from me, revisiting Nic and Aidan from Sparks Fly.
JAN 01: A huge selection of delicious m/m icons from luscious_words.
JAN 02: Why I want to be a Bond villain! by chrissymunder.
JAN 03: Consider the world of inspiration between 'historical' and 'contemporary' with stevie_carroll.
Check up on the original post and the Guest Schedule for January HERE.
Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space ♥
NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.