Proverb – Jamaica

“Greedy chokes puppy.”

Subject’s Analysis:

I received this entry from my grandmother. She is Jamaican, and she grew up on the island. She learned this saying from my great-grandmother. She says that as a little girl growing up in Jamaica people would use this saying all the time. She says that it means that if you try to take too much you wont swallow it. She says that it is also a metaphor for greed in everyday life.

Collector’s Analysis:

I agree wholly with my grandmother’s analysis. I think that the saying is pretty self explanatory. It could be taken literally or figuratively. Extended into a proper sentence it could be written as, “A greedy puppy will choke”. This proverb could easily be related to the popular proverb, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew”, which is also a reference to greed. Both proverbs lead to the overall meaning that greed in any aspect of life will lead to eventual, sometimes painful downfall.

Why the proverb refers to a puppy is something of a mystery however. But having been to Jamaica and seeing how the dogs are treated I have some idea. The dogs there are less pet than wild animal. They aren’t pampered as they are in the states. When feeding our house guard dog Judo, I noticed that he was fed entirely table scraps (old oatmeal, chicken bones, veggies, greens, bread, apple cores, ect) in an old white bucket. With such a rough diet a greedy dog could easily choke, as I suspect many have. This is my hypothesis on the phrase.