Japanese Monkey Proverb

My friend and I got to one of our classes early. While we waited I asked her if she knew any folklore. She happily gave me a legend about the Mid-Autumn Festival. She also gave me two proverbs. Here is the first:

“さるも き から おちる (saru mo ki kara ochiru).” translates to “Even monkeys fall from trees.”

I asked her what the proverb meant, here is what she said:

“Well, ‘Even monkeys fall from trees’ is a really famous Japanese proverb. I’ve heard it from pretty much every person of my dad’s side of the family… its like basically saying even the best will fail. So like during my family game nights, my mom usually dominates trivia but sometimes if my dad wins, which rarely happens, he’ll say the proverb to my mom just as a reminder that she’s still better than him at trivia, it was probably just an off day. So, yeah… its kind of similar to ‘everyone makes mistakes’ but not quite. I think this proverb is more specific because its like no matter how good you are at something, you can slip, and that’s okay.”

Collector Analysis:

I thought this was a very beautiful proverb. The message of accepting failure is so important and I think it is a beneficial proverb to grow up hearing because it teaches not to fear failure because it is only natural. So many people think that to be successful means to never fail, but success is measured in the amount of times someone failed and got right back up to try again. This proverb really gets the point across about how natural failing is. I really wish I had grown up hearing this proverb because coming from a family member this proverb is endearing and uplifting. I wonder if other cultures have a similar proverb.