Author Archives: Aimy Vo

Proverb – American

“A penny saved is a penny earned.”

My informant first heard this phrase at the age of six or seven.  Her parents would always give her a dollar for ice cream every week.  However, when she wanted to buy a Barbie doll, she had no money and her parents would not buy it for her.  So her parents told her the phrase “A penny saved is a penny earned.”  In telling my informant this phrase, her parents were trying to teach her to save her money instead of always buying ice cream so that she could buy the doll herself.  My informant believes this proverb means that if you save money, then in the end you’ll have more money to spend.  Since then, my informant has been very good with saving her money.  She has never been worried with not having money.  She believed it was a good lesson to learn as child because it also helped her to learn to only buy things that are necessary. This proverb taught her the value of money.

I as well believe that this proverb means that saving even a little bit of money will be better for a person in the end.  I also think it means that a person will save his or her money a little at a time by not spending their money.  Therefore, the proverb is saying that not spending money is the same as earning money.  This proverb originated from Benjamin Franklin.  Benjamin Franklin stated this proverb to encourage more Americans to save more money.  He believed that saving even a penny can lead a person to prosperity in the future.

Proverb – American

“A stitch in time saves nine.”

My informant first heard this phrase at the age of thirteen.  At this age, she was having a lot of family problems and she never wanted to deal with it so she went out constantly.  However as she went out more, her family problems increased.  One day while she was out with a friend, her friend tried to give her advice about her problems by saying “A stitch in time saves nine.”  My informant interpreted this proverb as if a person takes care of your problems immediately, then the problems will not escalate later.  At first my informant did not believe this proverb as true, but she eventually confronted her problems and resolved them.  My informant learned an important lesson from her friend.  She learned that it will be easier for her if she solves her problems sooner than later.  This way her problems do not get worse and then she will not have to deal with more later.  She now lives her life based on this proverb.

I agree with my informant on the meaning of this proverb.  I also believe that it is better to solve and confront your problems as soon as possible.  If a person waits to solve their problems and drag it out then the problems will most likely get worse.  In the end, it could take a longer time to deal with the problems.  It might even be harder to deal with the problems if a person waits too long.  Waiting to solve problems might even result in worse consequences.  Another proverb that is a variation of “A stitch in time saves nine” is “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Riddle – American

Q: “What two coins make 30 cents but one is not a nickel?

A: A quarter and a nickel.

My informant first heard this riddle when she was 7 years old.  She heard it while she was in class.  A classmate was speaking with her and her classmate felt like acting smart so her classmate asked her a riddle.  Her classmate asked her this riddle and my informant did not know the answer.  After my informant heard the answer, she was very angry because she thought the answer would be more complicated.  However, the answer was very simple.  Since she was so angry that the answer to the riddle was so simple, she will never forget this riddle.  My informant said, “Whenever I think of riddles, I always think of this one.”

My informant believes that this riddle is not that challenging and that this riddle was meant to just make someone feel dumb or silly.  Many people use riddles like this to socialize with other people.  Using riddles is a good way to break the ice between strangers.  Riddles can also be used as just entertainment.  Riddles are a good way to start conversations and a good topic to bring up when people just want to socialize and have a good time.

Proverb – American

“Kill two birds with one stone.”

My informant first heard this phrase when he was thirteen and in the 8th grade.  His history teacher was lecturing and brought up the proverb “Kill two birds with one stone.”  My informant did not understand what it meant and asked his history teacher for the definition.  His history teacher told him that it meant you can get two things done with one action.  His history teacher gave my informant an example of if two people have birthdays that are close to each other, then they can celebrate it together and it would be “killing two birds with one stone.”  My informant learned from this proverb that getting two tasks done with one action is very effective and will help save time.

Many people use this expression when they solve two problems at once.  Many people accomplish two objectives with a single action to save time.  It is also more convenient for a person if they can get more than one thing done at once.  This proverb is so popular because “Killing two birds with one stone” is so efficient.  I, myself follow this proverb as much as possible.  I think it is a really important proverb to learn because if a person can solve two problems at once, it could help make situations a little easier.  It would really help in situations when someone is really busy.  This proverb is one of the most popular proverbs used in everyday life.

Riddle – American

Q: “What is black before you use it, red while you use it, and white after you use it?”

A: Charcoal.

My informant first heard about this riddle while reading a newspaper.  My informant found the riddle in the corner of the newspaper and thought it was a pretty interesting riddle but easy to solve.  My informant also believes that this riddle is very popular and that most people knew the answer to this riddle.

Therefore, at the barbeque with all of our friends when all of us were giving each other riddles my informant told us this riddle believing that all of us would get the answer.  However, surprisingly only one person got the right answer.  Riddles are fun to solve because they are mentally challenging.  It takes some thinking to do and when a person gets the answer right then they feel very accomplished.

There are many different types of riddles.  There are riddles that are very simple and should not be over analyzed.  There are riddles that are a play on words.  Since there are so many different types and variations of riddles, riddles are a very good example of folklore.  They are spread throughout all over the world.  They are constantly being told and maybe they are even being told in a different way.