Proverb – Persian

reezeh cheh nahbeen felfel

is small how don’t look pepper

Don’t look at how small the pepper is

teezeh cheh behbeen beshkan

is sharp how look break it

Break it and see how sharp it is.

This is a Persian proverb my dad told me.  I had never heard it before; when I asked him where he had heard it from, he said that he could not remember but that it is one of those phrases that everyone (in Iran, at least) knows and says frequently.  This proverb is roughly the Persian equivalent of “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  The proverb basically means that even if a person is small or little, they still may have a lot of power and strength in them.  It is also interpreted to mean that a calm, quiet person may all of a sudden do something unexpected and spontaneous.  This is a very old proverb in Iran and people say it in their everyday lives.

Since it does rhyme, there are no variations of this proverb.  It is a fixed phrase and since it dates back to ancient times everyone has learned this proverb the way it is told now.  Overall, this proverb is said day-to-day in order to warn somebody of judging through appearances.