Proverb – Italian

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: January 2007
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Italian

“È meglio un uovo oggi di una gallina domani.”

“An egg today is better than a chicken tomorrow.”

My informant first heard this proverb at the age of fifteen (circa 2003) from his mother.  He was going to the movies one night with a few friends when he didn’t have any money so he asked his mother for some money and she gave him ten dollars.  He responded by asking for more, and being Italian, his mother responded by saying “È meglio un uovo oggi di una gallina domain.”  Daniel knows Italian, so he responded by saying “okay” and walking away.

My informant’s first reaction upon seeing and hearing the proverb was that it was interesting, because it relates to one’s everyday life.  He told me that “there is so much greed in this world that it is so common to see teenagers asking for more from their parents.  You also see it in other aspects of daily life when people say they want more of something.”  This proverb is meant to be said by an older individual, such as a grandparent or a parent, to a younger kid.

This proverb is used in the Italian culture; moreover, it is used to tell someone to take what they are given and don’t be greedy.  There is a very similar proverb in the American culture that is interesting as well.  The proverb “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” is one that is said so often by my parents as well as other parents.  This shows that Italian parents and American parents and many other parents are trying to teach their children at a young age not to be greedy.

The reason why this proverb is important in my informant’s life is because he said “I really take pride in my Italian culture and when my mom taught me this proverb, it really hit home, because I know I shouldn’t be greedy even if I am sometimes. Then again, who doesn’t like money?”  After telling me this he started laughing, because in our culture today everyone likes money and everyone wouldn’t mind a little more of it.

The reason why this proverb means so much to me is because my mom says the same proverb to me all the time, but in English.  It makes me realize that it is definitely not a good thing to be greedy because greed will end up hurting you in the end.  One should be happy with what they have and not ask for more, because there are people in Africa with absolutely nothing and would be happy with ten dollars.  In conclusion, this proverb really makes you think about what is important in life, and in this case, love or any other irreplaceable aspect of life is much more important than ten dollars.