Ancient Wisdom of the Fulbe

  • Every little tree gives its own bit of shade.
  • If you come to the village of the blind, close an eye until you leave.
  • The calf shouldn’t be in a hurry to grow horns; he’ll have them until he dies.
  • You don’t ask the chickens what day to move house.
  • A knife can’t carve its own handle.
  • No matter how long it sits in the water, a log won’t turn into a crocodile.
  • The spoon is the one who knows what’s left in the pot.
  • Two women pounding at the same pestle shouldn’t try to hide their armpits from each other.
  • Poverty doesn’t kill, it just causes suffering.
  • If you have a mouth, you can’t get lost.
  • You only stumble if you’re going somewhere.
  • Too many goodbyes mean you’re waiting for a gift.
  • If you’re woken up with a beating, you must have done something before sleeping.
  • You can’t catch two rabbits at once.
  • A lie builds a roof that gives no shade.
  • Crickets shouldn’t kick at each other while they’re being sautéed together.
  • If the stomach reigns, you will lose your dignity.
  • When the goat bites a stranger, the dog feels shame.
  • The one who digs a hole as a trap shouldn’t dig too deep; he doesn’t know who will fall in.
  • Even tooth and tongue will sometimes fight.
  • However skilled the blacksmith, he needs someone to man the bellows.
  • “A little” is not sufficient, unless it is hot pepper.
  • Knowledge diminishes ignorance, not bad character.
  • Don’t laugh at the man who is drowning in a river you haven’t crossed.
  • The one who says he’ll straighten out all the parts of the crab will have to fight the crab.
  • A house burning down ruins even the lives of cockroaches and mice.
  • Whatever a hoe pulls, it deposits at the feet of the one who pulled it.
  • The eye may go where the heart doesn’t want to, but the feet will not.
  • If you see a turtle flying, the one who threw it isn’t far away.
  • If you are without a friend, you must laugh with your enemy.
  • Nothing comes from the mouth of a chicken about the price of a knife.