Proverb – German


“Einem geschenkten Gaul, schaut man nicht ins Maul”

My Translation:

„You don’t look into the mouth of a horse which is given to you as a gift“

Description from Informant:

“A gaul is a horse and usually by looking a horse in the mouth you can tell how old/good he is. So basically if you get something for free, you don’t go around checking whether it’s good (quality). I like it!”

This proverb, to my informant is important in that it defines an aspect of her beliefs. She relates to takes to this proverb in that it is an encouragement of humility and therefore is used most likely on occasions where someone is complaining about the quality of the gift they have received. It therefore also has an educational purpose. My informant believes that you should be grateful for every gift you receive instead of being critical and trying to evaluate its quality. Although I am German, and attended a German school until the age of 12, I grew up in Asia and therefore have not heard this proverb before. However, I do relate to this quote in that the value that is being taught was very much emphasised to me during my childhood, as I was repetitively told by my parents, and German grandparents to be grateful for the gifts that I am getting. From my personal experience of what I have learned about German culture is that proverbs are used extremely often, and almost all the time come in rhyming couplets. I believe this is done to make the proverbs easier to remember.