It’s like carrying wood to a forest

Although she is from Vietnam, my informant attends college in Finland. When I interviewed her, she was at USC for a semester abroad. Even though she has been living in Finland for the past few years, the folklore she is familiar with is very strongly influenced by her Vietnamese upbringing.


Below is one of the folk similes that she says her family regularly uses. (picture of text in Vietnamese attached)


Translated, it means “It’s like carrying wood to the forest.”


This simile’s message is one of redundancy. A forest is already filled with wood. It would be pointless to bring more.


My informant also gave me a hypothetical situation in which this simile would be used. “My mom has a seafood store. If I was to go to the beach, and bring food from the ocean, she’d use this expression, because we already have plenty of sea food, and I don’t need to bring more.”


I asked her why this particular folk simile centers on wood as being abundant, and if Vietnam is particularly forested. She said it wasn’t.


This simile is similar to the English simile of, “It’s like carrying coals to Newcastle.”