This proverb comes from my friend LP who is Greek.
“Τα μάτια σου τέσσερα.” The translation roughly means “use four eyes.”
“Τα μάτια σου δεκατέσσερα.” The translation roughly means “use fourteen eyes.”
“My mom and my yia-yia (a.k.a. grandma) will use the first saying whenever I go out somewhere they consider somewhat dangerous,” LP said. “For example, if I got dinner in the city with my friends, my mom would use that saying as I was walking out the door. It essentially means be careful and keep a lookout for danger. If I’m going somewhere that my mom considers to be super dangerous, she’ll use the second phrase. This just means be extra careful — hence the fourteen eyes instead of four.”
When LP told me the first saying, I thought it was interesting and that the number four made sense as I’ve heard things like “I have a pair eyes on the back of my head.” When she followed it up with the second saying about fourteen eyes, I was surprised at the huge jump in numbers and it got me curious about the number four itself since it was found in both sayings. I found that in Greek mythology, four is the number of Jupiter who is the “master of the protection and the justice,” which fit along perfectly with the context Leia provided for the phrase. The phrases are sweet and endearing as they imply caring about the wellbeing of loved ones.