Proverb – El Salvador

“En boca cerrada no entra mosca”

“In a close mouth a fly does not enter”

“A fly does not enter a close mouth”

My dad told me that he learned this proverb when he was about ten years old. He learned it from his parents while living in San Salvador, El Salvador. He told me that this proverb is used to tell people that in some situations is better to keep quiet than to say anything. He first heard the proverb when his mother was telling him that he should not backtalk to his teacher at school, and if he ever backtalk he would get in so much trouble. His mother wanted him to remember that it is impossible for a fly to enter a close mouth. My dad agrees and likes the proverb. He told me that because of this proverb, he learned to keep his mouth shut in some situations, and this helped him get into fewer problems with his elders. He told me that the proverb should be told to people that are very talkative or have a tendency to say what they are not supposed to.

Like the proverb says, if one does not open their mouth, flies will not be able to enter and one will prevent problems. I do agree with this proverb. It shows a valuable lesson that in order to keep peace and don’t get in trouble, one should keep their mouth shut as much as possible. I have seen many example of this problem in today’s society. Most teenagers get in so much trouble when they argue the punishment given by their parents or teachers; they basically give themselves a harder/longer punishment. I have also experience this; one day, when I was in High school, I got a detention for a stupid thing I did. I started to complain and the teacher ended up giving me 1 hour worth instead of only 30 minutes. I did not keep my mouth shut and I brought myself more problems. This proverb is a great lesson for today’s youth as I think they are back talking more and more to their elders. This proverb is to encourage people to realize that sometimes they are provoking problem themselves by opening their mouths. I have only heard this proverb from my dad, but I did some research and was able to find that this proverb can be even be found on then other side of the Atlantic. This is a good lesson and has travel around the world; the book where I found the proverb is called the Dictionary of European Proverbs.

Annotation: this proverb can also be found in a Dictionaty of Eurpoean Proverbs.

Strauss, Emanuel. Dictionary of European Proverbs. New York: Routledge 1994. Page 73