Better bread with water than cake with trouble
, but if you have no bread, drink wine.
Watch the goat from the front, the horse from behind, and a bad man from all sides.
The bear is lucky in not meeting the hunter, but the hunter is sometimes lucky in not meeting the bear.
When you live close to the cemetery
you cannot mourn for everyone.
The Devil is powerless, but his slaves are strong.
If two people tell you you’re drunk, go to sleep
A clever lie is better than a foolish truth.
Whoever gives many reasons tells many lies.
He is not a good scribe
who writes well, but he who erases well.
is not like a tale
, one cannot leave out a single word.
He who drives straight ahead does not get home.
Do not fear a clever enemy, fear a stupid one
plays all manner of tricks while God is asleep.
Thought hovers over the mountain, but death lurks behind one’s back.
He who grudges the wine has no guests
If it were not for the fools of the world, there would be no Reason
Love is a ring, and a ring has no end
If you go to war, pray; if you travel far, pray again; if you are about to marry, pray again.
Fear life, not death
: Andrew Guershoon, Certain Aspects of Russian Proverbs
(London : Muller, 1941), 327p. The book has over 3000 proverbs and sayings culled from a dozen traditional sources, and roughly speaking slots them in various categories: military life, domestic woe, history, religion, etc. if you're interested. The historical emergence of Russia's 'rural wisdom' is treated in depth, from the earliest Czar
s to the Bolshevik
s, with all sorts of historical tidbits. One of the creepiest is a whole string of proverbs on variations of the French 'eating crow
', which was apparently what Napoleon
's troops had to do during their winter retreat from the Russian front.