طلعله من الجمل اذنه
Transliteration: Telaalu min al jamal ednu.
Translation: “He got only the camel’s ear.”
When someone works hard to get big share of a deal but the outcome turns out to be very small because many other people shared it with him.
Background information: An expression known in Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. This is a common figure of speech in the Arabic language.
Context: The informant told me about this expression in a conversation about folklore.
Thoughts: This is a very interesting way to describe this situation, one that appears to be quite common all throughout history to today. I find the use of metaphors in other languages to be fascinating and a colorful way to carry out the language. I don’t think I use nearly the amount of metaphors as other languages (such as Arabic) when I speak English.