USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘patience’
Folk speech
Proverbs

“Don’t Jump the Gun” in Norwegian

“Okay, so it’s this thing, and it’s literally translated, ‘Don’t sell the bear’s pelt.’ Is that what it is? Pelt is fur? Yeah, ‘Don’t sell the bear’s pelt before it’s shot.’ It literally means, like, don’t celebrate until it’s happened. Don’t, don’t, don’t jump the gun. But in Norwegian we say that about hunting and bears. *laughs*  So yeah, it literally, but yeah that’s one term.”

 

The source talked about this proverb with particular passion because he really likes it. He says he tries to live by this proverb so that he doesn’t get too far ahead of himself. The source is a filmmaker, so he has a lot of grand ideas, and he says that if he sells the bear’s pelt before it’s shot, there’s a chance it’ll bite him in the butt later because he may not always be able to come through with his projects. He says it’s better to celebrate step-by-step than assuming you’re going to be successful the entire way.

I very much like this proverb as well, particularly because we don’t have one like this in the US. Or at least, I’ve never heard one quite like it. I know I’ve heard the sentiment before from my parents, but I think the phrasing is pretty unique. The message is also great. What does it say about Norwegians? Perhaps that once, their egos were large, so they have to weigh down their pride using proverbs like this.

This proverbs speaks to patience and wisdom. Also, the fact that it phrases in terms of bears is interesting. It makes it even more uniquely Norwegian. You wouldn’t get this proverb in, say Cuba for example or Peru even. Because those countries don’t have bears. For Norway, though, bear hunting is huge. They need the pelts for making clothing and blankets to protect from the cold, which gets awful in Norway for half of the year.

general
Proverbs

Proverb on Success

Danish

English

18, student

20 April 2011

“Reap what you sow”

To Christina this is particularly important because she has always felt like she does things without thinking. She describes this proverb as “the way I get my dues” meaning she uses this proverb to justify when things go wrong. Christina’s Dad taught her this phrase, he is very wealthy and has “reaped” a lot in this life. She learns a lot from her father and considers his life an inspiration. When things don’t go her way, she says, “I just gotta try hard, I know I screwed up but I’ll try again.”

This folk proverb has been passed down to Christina like most proverbs are—from word of mouth. This proverb means a lot to Christina because she works hard and desperately wants to succeed. Even though the tone in the proverb with words like “reap” makes it sound very fatalistic, the message is positive and one that Christina treasures.

Annotation: This quote also showed up in the popular novel Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

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