Ningún mono se ve el rabo.

Ningún mono se ve el rabo.

No monkey sees his own tail.


(Similar Proverbs: Pigs don’t know pigs stink, Before you criticize the splinter in someone else’s eye, remove the log from your own.)

My informant, who is bilingual, remembers hearing this proverb from her grandmother, born in 1915, and who moved to the United States from Cuba in 1976. (My informant’s mother came to the United States at the same time in 1976).

This was one of her favorite proverbs growing up. Notice the objects used in each version of the proverb. In Cuba it was a monkey, a more western version uses a pig. It appears that this proverb is localized to each region in that they use native animals for the proverb.

My informant did note that, although some versions of this proverb do come from the Bible, she felt that “No monkey sees his own tail” is more a reflection of her grandmother’s origins, not the similarity between her grandmother’s version and the version found in the bible involving removing the log from ones eye.

My informant explained the proverb to me as a proverb advocating self-examination. When you want to criticize someone for a small fault, look at yourself and any faults that you might have first.