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A.<3.^/1 '^? IslTths. 

Cornell University Library 
PN 6519.I4C55 1891 

Behar proverbs xiassified and arranged 

3 1924 023 159 787 


Cornell University 

The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

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' Proverbs are the genius, wit, and spirit of a nation." — Bacon 










B.C.S., M.A.S.B., M.E.A.S. 





1. Proverbs in General. 

It is no less a true than a terse Arabic saying, " That 
a Proverb is to speech what salt is to food." It aptly 
describes the office of proverbs, and puts in a practical 
though homely form the part played by them in a 
language. It is quite possible to derive nourishment and 
sustenance from food without salt ; but if we want to 
enjoy our meals, we must have salt in them. Just so with 
Proverbs. Language would be tolerable without spicy, 
epigrammatic sayings, and life could no doubt be carried 
on by means of plain language wholly bereft of ornament. 
But if we wish to relish language, if we wish to give it 
point and piquancy, and if we want to drive home a 
truth, to whip up the flagging attention of our listener, 
to point a moral or adorn a tale, we must flavour our 
speech with proverbs. There is no language in the world, 
however poor, that has not its proverbs, its pithy and 
pointed sayings, and its witty epigrams, " the wisdom of 
many and the wit of one" — -some one who has treasured 
up and kept ready for use in a concentrated and palatable 
form the essence of practical wisdom, by availing ourselves 



of whicli we become possessed of a clear sight and take 
a ready view of intricate matters, to unravel which for 
ourselves would require a disproportionate expenditure of 
time and mental labour. " Proverbs," says Archbishop 
Whately, " are somewhat analogous to those medical 
formulas which, being in frequent use, are kept ready 
made up, in the chemist's shop, and which often save the 
framing of a distinct prescription." 

2. Proverbs of a people are the index of their 

Every nation has its peculiar form of expressing its 
ideas, its special shades of thought. The idea may be 
the same, but different people will employ different figures 
of speech and modes of expression to convey it. These 
may seem quaint, perhaps crude, and even grotesque to 
others ; but they are the appropriate vehicles of thought 
of the people, and suited to their circumstances in 
life. " Proverbs, however quaintly expressed, contain 
the essence of some moral truth or practical lesson ; 
they are drawn from real life, and are generally the 
fruit of philosophy grafted on the stem of experience." 
Carlyle says, " That a man's religion is the chief fact 
with regard to him : a man's or a nation of men's." 
If the proverbs of a people are not the chief facts with 
regard to them, they are at any rate a safe index of their 
lives, their mode of living, their current thoughts, their 
intellectual and social status, their surroundings, and in 
fact everything else that goes to make up social life. 


3. Use of Proverbs : they help us to see the people as 
they are, and understand them better. 

To know a people ttorougbly we must accompany 
them in their homes, iand them in their daily occupations 
and amusements, see them as they are, — not with 
behaviours and manners assumed for the occasion, but 
in their natural and every-day habit, just as they appear 
to their own friends and families. In this unsophisticated 
state we see them in the natural utterances that form 
the proverbs and sayings of the people. In them they 
give vent to their genuine thoughts freely and without 
constraint. We see them as they are seen in their own 
circles, in their domestic relations (when human nature 
unbends itself), in their jovial moods, and in the 
various phases of social life. It is impossible to under- 
stand a people when they are acting a part, when they 
are playing an artificial role as it were ; and this is 
what most natives do when they appear in the presence of 
a European. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that 
an illiterate native seldom appears to a European in 
his true light. 

The role he unfortunately assumes is the one least 
calculated to produce a favourable impression. He 
speaks in hyperboles, as language more comprehensible to 
a European ; he agrees to everything the Sahib advances ; 
he cringes; he does not even mind stretching a point ; 
if questioned about anything which in his opinion 
would act prejudicially towards his interest, he at once 
avows ignorance, thinking that the safest way out of the 
diiEculty ; he makes desperate attempts to speak a 
gibberish made up of Hindi, Urdu, and his own Ganivdri, 


— all this, as lie imagines, to acquit himself well and to be 
in the European's good books. This counterfeit form 
he always dons when he appears before a foreigner, not 
because this is his usual manner with his own people, 
or that he is habitually given to exaggeration or being 
imaginative, but because he thinks this is the behaviour 
best calculated to please a European. Thus, with the 
best of intentions, and with no little trouble to himself, he 
manages to convey a wrong impression about himself. 
And the consequence is, that he appears blacker than 
he really is. This is no doubt an error of judgment 
based on an inordinate desire to please at any cost : 
the foundation of this frame of mind probably going 
down deeper, and resting on a moral nature differently 
constituted. This view will not be disputed if it is 
remembered that natives who have long been in contact 
with Europeans usually behave more straightforwardly, 
as they know from experience that this is the safest 
course to pursue to gain the desired end. Another 
unfortunate fact against the Bihari peasant is that his 
European critic does not always approach him prepared to 
make the largest possible allowance for his failings, 
drawbacks, and surrounding circumstances. He is too 
ready to judge him by his own standard of merit and 
demerit ; and as he falls so lamentably short of it, to 
give him up as past redemption. And this he does, not 
from any uncharitableness, but solely from want of a 
thorough acquaintance with his real character. The 
proverbs, therefore, as helping us to pierce through this 
assumed veil, and enabling us to see the people in their 
genuine state, and thus helping us to understand them 
better, are a useful study. If we knew that the people 


had some good points, and were not so wholly bad or 
corrupt, that when moving in their own circle their 
chief characteristics and prominent features were not 
exactly those by which they are known to outsiders, 
we would perhaps be more inclined to view them 
leniently and give them a helping hand to ameliorate 
their condition. The writer made it a point, when either 
his work or excursions into the country brought him into 
contact with the peasants, never to be overbearing or in a 
hurry, but always to listen attentively and sympathetically 
to them, and then, surely as they went on, they gradually 
" doiFed " this mannerism and assumed their natural style. 
Thus by exercising a little patience he was enabled to see 
the " real " Bihari peasant ; and would recommend this 
plan to every one who would care to hear him talk not 
artificially but naturally. He will find them more 
truthful, and certainly far more interesting. 

4. Bihar Proverbs : their language. 

By " Bihar Proverbs " is meant those sayings in use 
among the people of Bihar. They include not only 
epigrams and pithy utterances containing practical truths, 
wholesome rebukes or salutary advice, but also nursery 
rhymes, proverbial figures of speech, short fables and 
lampoons (some transgressing the conventional brevity of 
proverbs), which are current among the people and are 
often quoted by them. " They walk upon men's tongues, 
dance in their fancies, are carried about in their memories, 
and are reserved for graces of their discourses, when they 
desire to appear in their festival habits and holiday 
behaviour." These are principally of Hindi origin. 


and in one of the several vernacular dialects in use in the 
province. A proverb couched in the Shahabad dialect, 
for example, would be readily understood by a native of 
Champaran, but he would in using it himself employ the 
patois of his district. It is difficult for a foreigner, 
unless thoroughly conversant with all the provincial 
shades of speech, to detect the nice geographical 
distinctions of dialect. It would require long familiarity 
to do this readily. But, nevertheless, these fine shades of 
distinction exist, and Mr. Grierson, in his admirable work 
on the Bihar Peasants, has pointed them out to a nicety. 
Many of the proverbs in vogue are thus local, and 
variations occur frequently. The same ideas are repeated 
in difiPerent forms. No collection of proverbs therefore 
can be comprehensive enough to include all the variations 
prevalent in different parts of a province that is larger 
than England. The following proverb shows that 
variety of speech may sometimes lead to unpleasantness. 
What is the usual and polite language of one part 
may be regarded as vulgar and even rude in another : — 

Maggah des kanchna puri 
Des hhala pai hhahJia buri, 
Rahlun Maggah kahliui re, 
Tekra la ka marhe re ? 

i.e. "Maggah is a rich (golden) country; the place is 
good, but the language vile. I lived there, and said in 
consequence re. Will you therefore beat me ? " Where 
one who has lived in Maggah, and has acquired the habit 
of using re, is thus taken to task. It will be noted that 
though a quarrel has been picked up with him for using 
re, yet he cannot desist from the habit of using it. This 


is, of course, aimed at the people of Maggah, who in- 
Tariabl}' use the interrogative terminal re in addressing 
people — a term considered especially vulgar in polite 
language. Many Hindi and Sanskrit words are corrupted 
(either in pronunciation or etymology) beyond recogni- 
tion, or have come to acquire meanings altogether 
different from their originals, and in no way traceable, 
at least immediately, to the primary ones. In such 
cases the word is written as pronounced in Bihar, and 
translated in the accepted sense which prevails among 
the people. Such corruptions are unavoidable in an 
uncultivated and unwritten language. A purist may 
object to this style as perpetuating errors. But there 
can be no doubt that the right way to transliterate 
words used by the peasants is to write them exactly as 
they are pronounced in ordinary familiar talk. This 
may not be etymologically correct, but it is so colloquially, 
and the only form in which they would be recognized by 
the mass. Surely the so-called " right " method would 
be pedantic without any purpose or good being served 
in a work like this. A few Urdu proverbs that have 
gained currency, and are freely used by the people of 
Bihar, have been included in this collection. These have 
been naturalized and are familiar to the people in their 
Hindi form. But Arabic, Persian, and Urdu words 
are treated with scant courtesy in the mouths of the 
Biharis ; they give them " their own intonation." 
As Mr. Grrierson says, " All the dots in the world will not 
make a Bihari pronounce & Z a,B other than J, or a 8dd 
as other than S." But his liking for these foreign words, 
and his tendency to use them in season and out of 
season, is none the less very pronounced. Every one 


acquainted with the Bihari rustic has noticed that 
shortly after he comes into town, or into better society, he 
attempts a refinement of speech by interlarding it with 
Urdu phrases and words. He does this perhaps as much 
with the object of making himself intelligible (as he 
thinks) to the townsfolk, as to air his familiarity with 
polite parlance. His ludicrous failure is pathetic at 
times, and provokes the good-natured laugh of the 
citizen. The writer was once yery much puzzled by 
the frequent use a respectable villager made of two 
words which he, for the life of him, could not make out. 
They were " hama," "soma" {sic). At last, after 
much patience (for interruption and questioning would 
have hopelessly lost the words), he discovered that they 
were .^a and U^ (Persian "I" and "you"),^ which 
he irrelevantly and persistently kept on thrusting 
between his sentences, quite to his own satisfaction. 

5. Some peculiarities of these Proverbs. They chiefly 
bear the country stamp. 

It would be perhaps just as well to note briefly here 
a few of the characteristic features of the Bihar Proverbs 
— some peculiarities that distinguish them. Regarded 
generally, the proverbs in common use among the people 
are of a rural and agricultural nature ; that is, the images 
they call to mind are connected with husbandry, and the 
associations they awaken are chiefly such as surround 
country domestic life. A little reflection will show that 
this is but natural ; our ideas and thoughts naturally run 
in the grooves of our occupations and daily lives ; and we 

' An idiomatic Persian expression meaning " Such as you and I." 


readily draw our illustrations, comparisons, and similes, 
from images familiar to us, and ever present in our 
thoughts. Hence it is that people whose chief concern 
in life is with the soil and the country, draw on rustic 
objects, agricultural implements, and domestic animals 
to illustrate, emphasize, and explain their thoughts. 
Thus, when a Bihar rustic wishes to express his sense 
of the unfitness of things, the unseasonableness of a 
remark, or the in appropriateness of an act, he puts 
into requisition the implements of agriculture with which 
he is familiar, and conveys his sense of incongruity by 
the proverb : Sansuica he hiyah khurpa ke git (Proverb 
202), " In the wedding of the sickle, the song of the 
hoe ! " that is, in the wedding of the sickle, the song 
should of course be about the sickle. It is therefore 
singularly out of place to sing on such an occasion in 
praise of the hoe. This is not merely a figure of 
speech, but is literally true, however quaint and far- 
fetched it may appear to us, and points to a time when 
it was really the custom to hold marriage ceremonies of 
these agricultural implements. This custom of wedding 
inanimate objects is still extant in regard to groves, 
tanks, wells, etc., which are formally married on being 
opened.^ Even now artisans and peasants worship their 
tools and implements with deep feelings of veneration, 
and the Kayath (the writer class) has his ink-pot 
festival {dawat puja), when he washes his reed pen and 
ink-bottle clean, and worships them with ofierings, and 
nothing will induce him to write on that day. Similarly, 

1 No doubt the underlying idea in these marriages, for instance of a kudar 
(spade) to an untilled field, of a sickle to a field of corn, etc., was the fertility 
and productiveness supposed to result from the unions. 


when a rustic wants to express to you his feeling of 
uncertainty, the evanescence of anything, or the fleeting 
nature of an advantage, and desires to warn you against 
placing too much reliance on an ephemeral object, what 
better simile can he call to his aid than " the shadow of 
the palm tree," which he has so often watched ! The 
comparison is picturesque in its simplicitj'^, and quite 
familiar to him. Changing almost every minute as the 
sun moves along his orbit, the shadow of the toddy palm 
cannot be relied on to shelter you for any length of time. 
If you, therefore, put too much trust on wealth or rely on 
your post, which you may hold to-day and lose to-morrow, 
the peasant tells you : "Daitlat tar gachh ke chhaya " or 
''Naukri tar gachh ke chhaya." "Wealth or post is uncertain 
and transitory like the shadow of a palm tree." 

Then again if he wants to express his surprise at the 
unexpected impudence or pugnacity of any one who 
suddenly assumes the role of a bully, but who is naturally 
expected to be humble and meek, he quotes the following 
hyperbole : Jolha ke chher markhah ! " The goat of a 
weaver, and given to viciousness ! " [lit. butting). The 
quiet, humble, forbearing weaver, the butt of all, and the 
typical fool of Indian society, is the most inoffensive of 
human beings; therefore, from a parity of reasoning 
(helped by imagination), his goat, of all creatures in the 
world, ought to be the most inoffensive ! Then, goats 
are not usually vicious, and much less the goat of a 
weaver. It is therefore singularly inconsistent with its 
nature if it takes to pugnacious ways, and wonder is 
expressed at this unexpected transformation. 

If, again, one of his fellow-villagers, after a short 
absence, returns home and decks himself out in gay colours 


and costumes, not usually seen among the homely-dressed 
peasants, and otherwise gives himself airs (a very 
common weakness), he laughs at him in the proverb : 
Chare din ke gaile murga mor hoke aile ! " The cock went 
away for four days only from his home, and returned a 
peacock !" which is analogous to the story of the jackdaw 
who arrayed himself in the plumes of a peacock, and 
suffered an ignominious humiliation at the hands of his 
former indignant companions. 

Thus dozens of proverbs may be quoted to show that 
they are essentially rustic in their nature. The similes 
and metaphors are drawn from rustic objects, familiar 
to the every-day life of the Bihar peasant, and an odour 
of homely village life pervades them. 

6. The morale of the Proverbs : their tone more practical 
than moral. 

But it is necessary to examine these proverbs from 
a higher standpoint of view, to see if they are anything 
more than a collection of railleries, banters, and jokes, 
now treating in a spirit of pleasantry certain personal 
failings, foibles, and vices, and now deriding and taunting 
in a severe, perhaps cynical, tone the misfortunes and 
weaknesses of our fellow- mortals. As a very com- 
prehensive division these proverbs, for our purpose, may 
be classed under two broad heads : those of a practical 
or worldly nature, and those of a moral and didactic 
nature. The former would lay down rules useful to 
be observed in our worldly dealings ; the latter would 
embody principles of conduct (whether the result of 
experience or deduced from religious belief) which are 


generally accepted as right in our relations to our fellow- 
mortals, and to a future world. Regarded from this 
point of view, the proverbs in most common use among 
the people are decidedly of a very practical nature. 
They relate more to worldly wisdom than to high 
principles of rectitude ; they tell us oftener what is 
expedient and useful than what is right and what ought 
to be our unswerving line of conduct ; their teachings 
would help us rather to meet and combat the acuteness 
and cunning which pass for wisdom in the world than to 
shun them as low artifices unworthy of us ; they are 
more selfish and less self-denying. There is a general 
absence in them of an elevating tone, a want of high 
ideal, such as one would expect to find in the sayings 
of wisdom left by the sages of old. There is no ethical 
principle or choice moral maxim conveyed in them ; 
they rather incline to selfishness and cynicism. Self- 
interest is their key-note and worldliness their one tune. 
Perhaps this is the natural outcome of a religion 
dissevered from morality and ages of grovelling sub- 

7. Ridicule and Derision their chief aim. 

Ridicule is their chief aim, and persiflage their 
usual stj'le. Their tone is sometimes bitterly sarcastic 
and a light vein of satire runs through them all. 
Ridicule, sarcasm, and derision are the chief weapons 
in the armoury of these proverbs, and they are often 
wielded with merciless severity. They are rather the 
cuts of a blunt, heavy sword than the sharp, clean 
thrusts of a rapier ; very often the jokes are coarse to a 
degree, and are levelled almost ruthlessly regardless of 


the feelings of the person aimed at. It is no wonder then 
that these heavy weapons often leave a deep wound 
behind. For we all know, if from nothing else, from the 
fable of the stone-throwing boys and the frogs, that 
a missile hurled in fun may leave an effect the reverse 
of funny. One of the commonest rnethods of ridicule 
in these proverbs is to put the satire into the mouth of 
the person to be ridiculed, and to make it appear as if it 
comes from the person himself. This is no doubt a 
most effective way of caricaturing, as the extravagant 
utterances sound much more ludicrous in the mouth 
of the "subject" (who is thus unconsciously developing 
his oddities) than in that of the "operator." For 
example, in Proverb 391, " The misfortunes of a husband 
who has a shrew at home," the scold is pitilessly 
held up to laughter, when she is represented uttering 
the lampoon in which she is so mercilessly satirized. 
The barber's wife, again, who is represented as lamenting 
the death of her beloved husband (Proverb 107), because 
"Who is there now left to shave the town?" is 
caricaturing in her own person one who is so self- 
opinionated as to think fondly either herself, or some one 
dear to her indispensable. 

In the same way the witch who is represented (in 
Proverb 11) as making a grim boast of her infant- 
devouring powers, is only caricaturing in herself those 
who take a delight in boasting of their evil deeds. 
She says : " Larika khait khait hurhi bhellh ; log kalie bak- 
dain," "I have grown old in the habit of feasting 
on infants ; yet people have the impertinence to say I am 
only a novice in the practice " (literally " only half 
a witch "), which is only meant as a heavy thrust at those 


perverse natures we occasionally meet who are for ever 
making a boast of what they ought really to be ashamed 
of Similarly, the proverb (No. 112) in which the jackal 
pup who, being born only in August, has the impudence 
to speak of a flood that took place in the following month 
as " such a heavy one that he never saw the like of 
it in his life," is pleasant irony with humour, and takes 
ofi' beautifully the presumption of the raw youth who 
talks as one ripe in experience and knowing everything. 
Another very common mode of ridiculing adopted in 
these proverbs is by exaggeration. This puts in the 
most ludicrous form the object to be- ridiculed and 
provokes the laugh of the hearers, which, in most cases, is 
all that is aimed at. It is, besides, a form that commends 
itself most to the taste and calibre of the rustic. 

8. Humour. 

Speaking of humour, it would perhaps be useful 
here to point out that these proverbs are not wholly 
destitute of it, at least, as understood by the Bihari 
rustic. The peasant has his style of humour, as he has 
his style of talk. It may be rough and ready, but it is 
genuine. Like the coarse salt he uses, it lacks refinement, 
but it helps to flavour his language. "We can only afibrd 
space for a few examples chosen at random. There is 
no doubt genuine humour when a despicable eifort 
made to eifect a gigantic purpose is likened to the 
presumption of the seagull in the fable who slept with her 
tiny feet held upwards, lest the sky should fall (Proverb 
108). Again, the man who is foolish enough to confide 
in a notorious swindler, and to trust him with his money, 


is aptly compared to the stupid creature who entrusted 
a jackal with a piece of meat to be kept for him till 
he wanted it! (Proverb 161). The occasional visit of 
an acquaintance is welcome; but if he should take to 
the habit of coming frequently, and " sponging " on 
you for long periods, his visits become anything but 
pleasant. Such a behaviour is satirized in the follow- 
ing humorous simile (perhaps too grotesque in its grim 
humour of treating so lightly such a serious subject as 
death) : Burh he marie na derdin jam ke parikle derain ; 
i.e. "The occasional incursion of the 'angel of death' 
{jam) to seize an old victim is not by any means to be 
feared (for that is to be expected), but his getting 
accustomed to making frequent raids ! " (Proverb 314). 
Few who have had experience of camping life in Bihar 
will fail to recall a village quarrel into which the women 
enter with so much gusto as an indispensable part of 
their daily business. The termagants ranged on opposite 
sides, brawling, gesticulating, and screaming with all 
their might like so many cockatoos, the men going about 
their business as usual and quite unconcernedly as if this 
periodical outburst was a necessary part of the day's 
proceedings, the children and the village pariahs adding 
their chorus. On such an occasion we can imagine a 
wag, who has been watching the fun with the relish 
of a by-stander who is not mixed up in it, turning away 
from it, just when the quarrel is raging at its highest, 
and the warmed combatants are becoming a bit unmindful 
of modesty in their language and gestures, with the 
humorous advice thrown in, more in jest than in earnest, 
" Lar parosin did rakh," " Yes, go at it, you neighbours ! 
but please preserve a little shame in yOur modest eves " 


(Proverb 389). Of course, the word " neighbours " is not 
used without a touch of irony. Those who are 
quarrelling now so vehemently (in such unneighbourly 
fashion) will not long after be the best of friends, as 
neighbours ought to be. It is only a daily " con- 

Akin to humour is drollery and burlesque. In 
essence they are a coarse form of humour, where effect 
is sought by sportive tricks, buffoonery, ludicrous or 
unnatural representation and exaggerated parody. These 
predominate in the proverbs that are descriptive of the 
peculiar traits characteristic of certain castes and classes, 
where the prominent failings' are laid hold of and 
are mercilessly gibbeted and parodied in a fashion which, 
to those unused to this style, would almost seem inhuman. 
The oddities, for example, of the Jolha (the Mussalman 
weaver, the proverbial fool of Indian society) are 
travestied in a melodramatic style in the sarcastic lines 
describing his encounter with the frog, where, after being 
defeated by that mighty creature, he recounts his 
adventure (not without a tone of vaunting) to his 
admiring wife, and winds up with the bathos, "Now, 
whatever happens, whether I live or die, I am off to 
the battle of the frogs !" — intended not only to excite 
bis wife's wonder at his prowess, but her commiseration 
(Proverb 313). The Kanaujia Brahmin, than whom 
there is not a greater stickler in regard to caste rules, is 
similarly ridiculed in the over-drawn picture of " three 
Brahmins and thirteen separate cooking places " (Proverb 
259). And the "poor" liayath is with great art ludicrously 
represented as "picking" up the bits that drop when two 
laddus (sweetmeat balls meant figuratively for " rich 


fools ") fight : Laddu lare jhilli jhare kayath hechdre ha pet 
bhare, " When laddtts fight bits drop out ; the poor kayath 
gets his living" (Proverb 280). But though somewhat 
exaggerated, a better portrait could not be given than 
in the description of him when taking anything on 
" tick " and when paying cash. Nagad kayath bhut udhar 
kayath deota, " A kayath when paying cash is the very 
devil (in exacting a bargain) ; but when taking a loan 
he is as meek as an angel ! " When a perverse nature, 
that cannot under any circumstances behave straight- 
forwardly, is satirized in the saying, " If he is very 
straight, be is like a sickle " (Proverb 230), or when one, 
whose acrid nature is increased in acerbity by outward 
circumstances, is likened to "the hitter, karela creeper 
climbing the still more bitter nim," the images called 
forth are eminently calculated to provoke a laugh by their 
extravagance (Proverb 143). 

9. Nature of some of the Proverbs : simile half expressed. 

In these proverbs as it will be readily noticed the 

simile is usually only half expressed. The incident 

or object to be compared is not mentioned, but only the 

image is quoted to illustrate it. The former is always 

taken for granted as being present; the latter only 

is brought into prominence. The particle or word 

indicating comparison is seldom expressed ; but the things 

are placed side by side and the hearer is left to draw his 

inference. In fact, the primary meaning of the Arabic 

word mashl^ is likeness, and probably the office of proverbs 

i"The title of the 'Book of Proverbs' in Hebrew is Mishle-Mcishal, 
rendered in the Arabic version 'by-word,' 'parable,' 'proverb.' It is 
derived from a root mashal 'to be like,' and the primary idea involved 
in it is that of likeness, comparison. Probably all proverbial sayings 


was originally, as has been conjectured, to furnish 
comparisons only. 

10. Oftener concrete than abstract in their form. 
And this brings us to the consideration of one marked 
feature of these proverbs, being as they are the rude 
primitive utterances of illiterate minds. They are oftener 
concrete than abstract in the forms in which they appear. 
For, as is well known, abstraction and generalization are 
habits acquired after long civilization and training. The 
form of expression which readily commends itself to 
the uncultivated mind is the concrete form. A truth or a 
fact is expressed by the uncivilized in a tangible shape, 
associated with images familiar to him. The same idea 
is made of general application by the trained mind 
in an abstract expression. The notion is the same, 
but the form different. Many instances of this will 
readily occur to all who have had experience of the 
illiterate Bihar peasant. The images, illustrations, and 
expressions they employ are almost always material. 
Tor example, the idea expressed by us in the abstract 
and generalized form, " He laughs best who laughs last," 
is comically illustrated in the story of the potter and the 
greengrocer, who jointly hired a camel to convey their 
respective articles of trade. The potter filled his side of 
the pack with earthen pots and chatties, and the green- 
grocer did likewise with greens and vegetables. As they 
proceeded on their journey, the camel frequently helped 
himself to the greens from the greengrocer's bag. This 

were at first of the nature of similes. From this stage of its application 
it passed to that of sententious maxims generally, many of which, however 
stm involve comparison." — Br. Chambers. 


excited the potter's laugh, who thought he had the 
best of the biirgain, and quizzed his friend on his 
bad luck. To this he retorted by saying, "We shall 
see,, my friend, on what side the camel sits." Presently 
they had occasion to stop on the road, and the camel 
was made to sit. He naturally sat on the heavier 
side of the potter's package, and also, probably, with 
an eye to having occasional mouthfuls from the green- 
grocer's bag. This caused all the pots to smash, and 
then of course the greengrocer had the laugh all on 
his side. Hence the saying : " Kauna hare to iM baithela," 
"Let's see on what side the camel sits" (Proverb 194). 
" Ingratitude " is illustrated by the common story of 
the young cuckoo remaining after all a cuckoo, and 
causing disappointment and shame to its foster-mother, 
the crow, who, under a delusion, was led to hatch the 
eggs of a cuckoo (Proverb 50). "Inattention" is cari- 
catured in the person who, having sat through the whole 
epic of the Ramdyan, inquires innocently at the end, 
"Whose wife is Sita?" (Proverb 65). "Presumption" 
is similarly illustrated in the story of the donkey who 
attempted to ford a stream in which huge animals, like 
the camel, were drowned, and paid with his life for his 
audacity (Proverb 98). Extreme feminine vanity is 
similarly travestied in the " blind woman " keeping three 
coUyrium boxes to beautify her eyelashes (Proverb 84), 
and 80 on. 

11. Some Proverbs convey their meaning hy suggestion rather 
than expression. 

Some proverbs convey their meaning, more by sugges- 
tion than expression ; they refer to some folklore or to 


an analogous case whicli brings out the point to be 
illustrated, or the absurdity of the situation prominently. 
It is vain to endeavour to find, in them a parallel idea' 
corresponding to every word used : the result would be 
nonsense. You have to infer the comparison as a 
whole from the parallel instance put forward. The 
implied metaphor, from its very incompleteness as it 
were, strikes you forcibly. The parallel is not complete, 
but ends half-way, and suggests the corresponding idea 
and simile, more by implication than expression. In- 
stances of this occur in every language, e.g. "Money 
makes the mare to go," " Blood is thicker than water," 
etc. Of this nature are proverbs, 

Odi gdi ka hokhah bdiir, 

Bhusa kutale niksi chdur ? (Proverb 160). 

Said when one is advised not to waste his breath in 
trying to convince a man who will not be convinced. 
The process is similar to extracting rice by pounding 
husk: E, gur khdyen, kdn cliheddyen (Proverb 159). 
Said when one is bound to do a thing nolens volens, how- 
ever much he may object to it at first. This proverb 
refers to the practice of giving a piece of sugar (jaggery) 
to a child whose ears are to be bored ; while she is thus 
engaged her ears, or rather the cartilages of her ears, 
are pierced, etc. 

12. Rhyming Proverbs. 

Often a telling effect is obtained by a casual rhyme 
of words of widely different import, e.g. Chor jaisne 
hlra ke, ivaisne khlra ke, " A thief is a thief whether 


he steals a diamond or a cucumber;" or Jekra hath men 
dot, teJcra hath men sab Jcoi, " He who holds the helping 
spoon commands everybody " (Proverb 175) ; or Kdm pi- 
ydra chain nahi piyara, " Handsome is that handsome 
does" (/(•;;. "Work is loveable, not the skin"). But 
oftener the rhyme is there, but not the reason. 

13. Feminine Proverbs. 

There are some proverbs and expressions especially in 
use among the women ; they are peculiar to females, and 
applicable to them only. They are seldom used by men, 
unless by those despicable creatures called Maugras, or a 
class of effeminate men who affect the ways of women. 
They talk and behave like them, assume a feminine 
gait and tone, clothe themselves like women, and pretend 
in all respects to have feminine tastes. They prefer 
women's company to men's, sing feminine songs in 
feigned voices, and are looked upon as buffoons. It is 
strange to notice the freedom with which they are allowed 
to mix with women — a liberty not usually permitted to 
men in native society. 

The writer can only afford space to direct the atten- 
tion of the reader to a few of the Proverbs (out of a 
great many) that are used in reference to the women 
only : they are for instance Proverbs 82, 87, 103, 104, 
318, 368, 401, etc. 

It will be noticed that the feminine gender is denoted 
by the terminal "o," and that a wife never speaks of 
her husband by his name, but simply by the personal 
pronoun "he," and its cases. Among other curious 
domestic customs, in connection with the wife, may be 


noticed the extreme reserve which she is supposed to 
exercise towards her husband's father and elder brother, 
at all times. Her person is sacred to them, it is there- 
fore considered a pollution to be touched by them. She 
will never speak to them, or if she can help it, be seen 
by them. She will hide herself on their approach, or 
if she is obliged to serve them she will draw her sari 
cloth over her head. The following warning thrown in 
by the wife, who was serving out dinner to her father- 
in-law, in the form of a riddle, is interesting as illustrating 
that direct speech on the part of the daughter-in-law, 
under any circumstances, is considered highly indecent. 
While she was engaged one day in helping her father- 
in-law to his meal, a drop of milk from her breast fell 
in his food. Unable to warn him directly, she repeated 
the following lines which conveyed to him the necessary 
hint and stopped him in time from making himself "the 
son of his daughter-in-law : 

Kdhat mora Idj lage, sunat par gari, 
8ds ke patoh Idgun, sasiir ke mahtdri ? 

" I am ashamed to say so, and those who hear me will 
take it as an abuse : I am the daughter-in-law of my 
mother-in-law and (am I to become) the mother of my 
father-in-law?" These restrictions are not so strictly 
observed among the lower classes in Bihar, who, owing 
to their circumstances, are often thrown together ; but 
there is, notwithstanding, always a reserve between the 
father-in-law, the elder brother-in-law, and the wife. 
While on the other hand she is allowed the utmost 
liberty to joke with her husband's younger brother, who 
is a legitimate object of her practical jokes. 


Speaking of conundrums and riddles, the writer will 
just notice in passing that some very witty ones exist in 
the mouths of the people. They are chiefly characterized 
by a play of fancy and humour, and by the very 
good use made of familiar domestic objects to amplify 
and clothe the metaphors and give a quaint turn to 
common expressions so as to conceal the real meaning- 
They are replete with " quips and cranks " and happy 
twists, which sometimes recoil on the head of the solver 
of these riddles himself. A spirit of hilarity breathes 
through them and a "double entente" is often used with 
telling efiect. 

14. Sources of these Proverbs. 

It is impossible now to trace the history of most of 
the proverbs, to say who were their authors, or how 
they originated and became current among the people. 
A few are no doubt of classical origin, and are traceable 
to well-known Hindi works, such as the great Epics, 
the E,amayan, the Mahabharata, etc. Others are the 
remarkable sayings of local poets, seers, and astrologers. 
For example, a great many of the clever sayings regard- 
ing agriculture, seasons, and pastoral subjects in general, 
are attributed to the two brothers Ghag Rae and Bhag, who, it is said, were natives of Bhojpur. To 
Bhaddar,^ also supposed to be a native of the Shahabad 
district, are ascribed, on the other hand, many of the 
remarkable utterances relating to the science of jotish or 
astrology, by which an undertaking is ascertained to be 
auspicious or inauspicious. These are formulm and dicta 

1 See a note on Bhaddar under, Proverb 437. 


based on astrology, and are quoted to recommend or 
dissuade any one from taking an impending step, such, 
as starting on a journey, building a house, undertaking 
a heavy responsibility, etc., and have the greatest hold 
on the imagination and belief of the people. Others, 
again, are no doubt the sayings of clever villagers, being 
the outcome of experience or of popular superstition. 
The Proverbs relating to agriculture, seasons, and pur- 
chase of cattle, are especially useful as rules of guidance 
for all agriculturists and farmers, v^ho want to keep on 
the right track, and profit by the experience of others. 

15. Classification and Arrangement of the Proverbs; their 
Transliteration and Translation. 

In concluding this rambling and discursive notice of 
the Proverbs the vs^riter would wish to make a few re- 
marks on their classification and arrangement. That 
this is a difiicult task will be readily acknowledged by 
all who have taken the subject into their consideration ; 
but the peculiar difiiculties besetting one who attempts 
to translate proverbs into a foreign language, and then 
to reduce them into certain order, are perhaps greater. 
Perhaps, no attempt to classify the proverbs and group 
them under definite heads can be perfect and give uni- 
versal satisfaction. The same proverbs may be viewed 
from different standpoints by difi'erent individuals, and 
each would naturally class it under the head which 
appeared to him the fittest. It is, therefore, almost a 
trite saying that there are as many ways of looking at 
a proverb as there are dispositions and temperaments. 
The following will show that proverbs may reasonably 


be classed under any out of the several general heads 
adopted in this compilation. For instance (Proverb 496) : 

Kainn gaiya l<e edge bathan, 

"A blind cow requires a separate house" (cattle yard). 

{a) Can be taken as referring to cattle and put under 
class vi. 

(6) Can be considered as aimed at a foible (a crotchet or 
queer whim, which is really the object of the proverb) 
and classed under class i. 

(c) Can be taken as a saying of worldly wisdom and 
put under class ii. 

(d) May be taken as a social proverb and classed under 
class iv. 

Similarly proverb 325. 

Nanado ke nanad hola, 

"A sister-in-law has a sister-in-law too" (to tyrannise 
over her). May be taken either as a piece of consoling 
advice to those who are tyrannised over (class ii.) ; or may 
be classified according to the particular foible aimed 
at, i.e. home oppression (class i.); or may be regarded 
as a scene out of native domestic life in which the 
sisters-in-law figure (class iv.). It will thus be noticed 
that the classification in each case would be right, 
according to the point of view from which the proverb 
was regarded. Another difficulty of reducing the proverbs 
under general heads is the variety of subjects they treat 
of. A generic head does not take in the various shades 
of difierence, and is thus to some extent deceptive. This 
difficulty increases considerably when the attempt is 
made to arrange them under sub-heads. 


In the early history of this compilation, shortly after the 
work was undertaken, the writer in submitting a few 
specimen sheets to Mr. G. A. Grierson, C.S., for bis 
opinion, had applied to him for his suggestions as to 
the lines on which it would be advisable to classify 
and group the proverbs. He was kind enough to give 
them freely. Indeed, without his kind encouragement 
and advice, given from time to time, and given so 
gracefully, the work would never have been persevered 
with. He was then good enough to direct the compiler's 
attention to the following methods. (As these are clearly 
and concisely laid down by him in his letter the compiler 
will give Mr. Grierson's own words) : — 

" There are many principles to choose from. The 
simplest and easiest is that of Fallon in his ' Dictionary 
of Proverbs.' He arranges them alphabetically according 
to the first word of each. But as the same proverb 
varies greatly in different people's mouths it is not a 
good arrangement. It is better to arrange them either 
according to subjects or according to objects. In 
the first method you group all proverbs about, say, 
birds, then all those about plants, and so on. In the 
second method you arrange them according to the 
particular vices or foibles aimed at, e.g. those aimed 
at gluttony, then those at parsimony. Both these 
methods are difiicult to carry out. The best way I 
think is to class them, as far as possible, according to 
subjects and to add a complete index giving every 
important word which occurs. No collection of proverbs 
can be satisfactory without such an index, for such a 
collection is a work of reference, and unless proverbs 
can be found easily, they may just as well remain in 


the brains of the natives as in a printed labyrinth 
without a clue." 

Now, each of these methods has its advantages and its 
disadvantages, its recommendations and its drawbacks. 
The alphabetical system, besides the important reason 
given by Mr. Grierson, could not be adopted, as it was 
unsuited to the original plan of this work, which is not 
a dictionary of proverbs, but a compilation with notes 
on the context, in which it was essential to follow some 
principle of grouping the proverbs under certain " heads." 
Moreover, if a dictionary of proverbs were needed, there 
is Dr. Fallon's excellent work, which perhaps some may 
think renders this compilation unnecessary. To such I 
would say in the words of George Elliot (slightly altered), 
" One could not carry on life comfortably, without a little 
blindness to the fact, that everything has been done better 
than we could do it oursfelves." But, as a matter of fact, 
this compilation is altogether different from Dr, Fallon's 
important work, as will be seen at a glance. 

The next method of grouping them according to the 
subject, i.e. the images employed to illustrate, exemplify, 
or emphasize the idea, would be certainly easier and 
perhaps complete, and less open to questioning. But 
notwithstanding these recommendations, the principle can 
hardly be pronounced to be satisfactory. The simile or 
metaphor employed, is, after all, the mere husk, the 
outward form and accidental. Birds, plants, animals, 
various rustic tools, implements, etc., are put into requi- 
sition simply to act as illustrations to the prominent idea 
involved. Thus the tusk of an elephant is in one proverb 
(Proverb 246) made to symbolise straightforwardness and 
in another (Proverb 3) exactly the opposite quality. 


When the paras tree is spoken of as having but three 
leaves, this incidental natural fact is seized to emphasize 
the main idea of the extent of one's power — "thus 
far thou shalt go and no further." Again : when the 
delicate hulhul is made use of in keen irony to ridicule 
a rough coarse woman, who pretends to be fine, the 
prominent idea of the proverb is not the bird, but 
" aflfectation." Similarly, when a vain man makes a 
boast of his short-lived power and is giddy with his 
slight elevation, he is likened to a "cricket on a bundle 
of clothes;" the harmless insect is the least part of the 
proverb, and is simply a casual metaphor employed to 
laugh at the common human failing, because its chirping, 
when seated on a slight eminence, is not unlike that of the 
upstart. And so on, the images are merely the outward 
integument to enclose and hold the germ of idea involved 
in the proverb. It would be as reasonable in a classifica- 
tion of English proverbs to class the proverb, " Casting 
pearls before swine," under the head of "animals" or 
" precious stones " as to put the last Hindi proverb under 
the generic head of insects. The classification, to say 
the least of it, would be misleading. 

The third method, no doubt, has the least to be said 
against it ; it is classifying the proverbs according to 
their subject-matter. This would include the " object " 
{i.e. the particular vices or foibles aimed at) which would, 
in the case of these proverbs, form, their true subject- 
matter. For example, the proverbs relating to " human 
failings, foibles, and vices" (class i. in this collection) 
would be grouped, according to their " objects," i.e. 
the particular vices aimed at, such as " hypocrisy," 
"parsimony," "gluttony," etc., while proverbs relating 


to " peculiarities, traits," etc. (class iii.), or those relating 
to "agriculture" (class v.), would be grouped according 
to the subject-matter treated of. But this principle 
of classification has its drawback also. In a few 
instances, especially in proverbs coming under classes 
i. ii. and iv., the grouping of the proverbs under the 
general heads has to be somewhat " forced " — perhaps 
a distinction has to be made without much of a difference. 
This is unavoidable from the nature of the cognate 
subjects treated of in the proverbs, which, viewed from 
different standpoints, might come just as easily under one 
head as under another. The proverbs coming under 
class ii. cannot easily be comprised under definite 
sub-heads. The variety of subjects are too numerous 
and diversified to admit of classification. Even cognate 
ideas are often expressed in a variety of shades that 
require separate grouping. Thus the sub-heads have a 
tendency to become as numerous as the proverb heads. 

In classifying the proverbs the compiler has followed 
the last method. He has been principally guided by 
their subject-matter, their application and use ; their 
object rather than their subject or form. This system 
might not be the best, but it seemed to him to be the 
one which had most reason on its side. It is natural, and 
has the advantage of easy reference. Of course some of 
these groupings may appear arbitrary, but this is also 
unavoidable, so long as a proverb can be viewed from 
difi'erent standpoints. In the index the object has been 
to give the subject-matter (substance) of the proverbs in 
their own words, expressed as concisely as possible. This, 
it was thought, would have the advantage of directing 
attention to the proverb when it was heard or a reference 


was made to it, and would also avoid the use of hackneyed 
phrases. In order, therefore, to have a correct idea, we 
must turn to the proverbs themselves, as very often the 
brief index-heads will fail to convey an adequate idea 
of the proverb. They are expressed so quaintly and in a 
form so foreign to our notions and ideas of things, though 
the subject-matter may be familiar enough. The general 
heads will also be a guide where to look for proverbs of 
a certain kind. 

The system of transliteration adopted is the same as 
that of the Bihar Peasant Life by Mr. Grrierson. It may 
be briefly described as the Jonesian system, with every 
possible diacritical mark omitted. In pursuance of this 
the cerebral letters are given no dots, and, as nearly every 
final vowel is long, the long mark has been omitted from 
final vowels. As Mr. Grierson has described this system 
clearly in the Introduction to his Bihar Peasant Life, I 
give his own words : "Every native word is written twice 
over — once with accuracy in the native character for 
those who are able to read it, and once in the English 
character for those who are not acquainted with the 
Indian vernaculars. This transliteration does not pretend 
to be scientifically accurate. Such a transliteration with 
its diacritical dots and dashes would only puzzle those for 
whom it is intended, viz. those who are ignorant of the 
language. All that has been attempted for them is to 
give them a general idea of the correct pronunciation of 
the words, without professing to tell them the exact pro- 
nunciation, which they hardly require, and which would 
be difficult to do. For these persons all that is necessary 
is, that they should pronounce the vowels as in Italian, 
and the consonants as in English, and they will then 


approach sufficiently near to the way in which the natives 
themselves pronounce the words. For those who are ac- 
quainted with the vernacular languages, no instructions 
for pronouncing the words in their vernacular dress are 

Dark passages the writer has not shunned to the best 
of his knowledge and light in translating. But he has 
been careful to avoid holding " a farthing rushlight to 
the sun." To those familiar with the vernacular of the 
peasantry nothing would be dark, and to those not so 
conversant, every expression would need a commentary. 
Thus to adopt a middle course was by no means such 
plain sailing as might be imagined at first sight. Then 
the peculiar difficulty of translating idiomatic, terse, and 
colloquial expressions, which chiefly make up the language 
of the proverbs, from one tongue into another, is known 
to all. To translate these by their literal meanings would, 
in most cases, be to make great nonsense in another 
language. Of course the only safe method in such cases 
is to translate the idiom of one language into the 
corresponding idiom of the other. But this proposi- 
tion, which is so easy to state, is most difficult to carry 
out. Besides requiring a perfect familiarity with the 
idiom of both languages on which the translator is at 
work, there are seldom exactly corresponding idiomatic 
expressions to be found in two languages — expressions 
which convey exactly the same ideas and no more and no 
less, and with equal force and terseness. It is truly said, 
that "metaphor, which is the strength of language, is 
invariably the stumbling-block of the translator," and a 
" pun," according to Addison, " can be no more engraven 
than it can be translated." 


My sincere and grateful acknowledgments are due to 
my friend Mr. H. F. Drummond, of the Opium Depart- 
ment, for his friendly help and kind advice (always 
freely given, whenever I was in doubt or difficulty) 
throughout the compilation of this work. To his nice 
literary judgment and extensive reading I owe many 
valuable suggestions. 

John Christian. 

Hajipur, Tirhut, Behae, 
December, 1890. 


Peoveebs EEiATiNG TO Htjman Fahlngs, Eoibles, and Yices. 



Subject of Proverbs. 


Avarice, Parsi- 
mony, Cove- 
Greed, etc. 


Bullying, _ 
Venting rage, 

1. Cutting off the head and pretending to 

preserve the hair. 

2. Father a drunkard, and the son pretending 

to play the rdle of a religious man. 

3. Like the tusk and teeth of an elephant, 

one set for show and another for use. 

4. Pretending to turn over anew leaf. 

5. Pretending the end of the cucumber is 


6. Sinner turned a saint. 

7. Shamming to shirk. 

8. She knows nine, but not six. 

9. She calls herself a sai/ad, but stoops to steal 

a nose ornament. 

10. She calls herself a lulbul, but swallows a 


11. Old in sin yet a novice. 

12. A life's hoarding lost at a stroke. 

13. Almighty dollar. 

1 4. The miser's loss is sudden. 

15. The miser and his wife. 

16. To take one and give two. 

17. "When gaining he is discontented, when 

losing contented. 

18. Aping — a losing game. 

19. Aping often causes discomfort. 

20. Paying dearly for aping. 

21. The weak bullying the weaker. 

22. The cunning bullying the weak. 

23. The anvil bears the missing stroke. 

24. The fallen are trampled. 

25. Entirely at your mercy. 

26. Tenting one's rage on the innocent. 





Subject of Proverbs. 

Bad ■writing. 

" Counting the 
chickens he- 
fore they are 





Inability to ap- 
preciate worth, 
merit, etc. 

27. Bad hand-writing. 

28. A blabber dying to blab. 

29. The tell-tale causes the downfall of a 


30. The son is bom before the father. 

31. The father is still unborn, but the son 

attends a wedding (safflower). 

32. Proclaiming before the son is born. 

33. Crying before he is hurt. 

34. Anticipating evil. 

35. Conceit about one's wisdom. 

36. Can't afford rice-gruel, but drinks toddy. 

37. Expenditure on a thing more than it is 


38. Cost of the wood is 9 pice, but he spends 

90 on it. 

39. Useless appendage. 

40. Servant to a servant. 

41. Critics say more than the poet. 

42. Making a mountain of a mole-hill. 

43. A lakh is on the lips of a brag. 

44. A greedy daughter-in-law. 

45. Pretended fasting before her husband. 

46. Ambition dying for name : greed for belly. 

47. The greedy advised to eat with eyes closed 

before children. 

48. Hunger to be appeased before devotion (a 

" full bellv, then a devout heart "). 

49. "Enemy to food." 

50. The young of a cuckoo wUl after all be a 


51. A snake bites its charmer. 

52. A viper is never grateful. 

53. Like a horse that grumblingly neighs 

when given ghi. 

54. Poor attainments taunted. 

55. An improvident man overtaken by the flood . 

56. Can a low caste appreciate hard (a kind 

of sweetmeat) ? 

57. Can a monkey appreciate ginger ? 

58. The hubble-bubble in the hands of a 





Subject of Proverbs. 


Love of false dis- 
play, empty 
boast, fop- 
pishness, etc. 

59. Music hath, no charms for a bufEalo. 

60. Useless to adorn before a blind husband. 

61. To the blind day and night are the same. 

62. "Worth unappreciated. 

63. Merit not recognized (iHustrated by an 


64. Making no distinction. 

65. Enquiring who is the hero after the whole 

tale is finished. 

66. Afieoting high-sounding names. 

67. Foppishness in dress. 

68. One who asks for alms should not enquire 

after the rent-roll of a village. 

69. Dying to eaX pan. 

70. A vain woman's love for display. 

71. False outward display. 

72. Fashionable father and son, with frogs for 


73. One who cannot afford it keeping up a 

dance at his gate for display. 

74. Falsely calling himself a " Benares man." 

75. The cock after four days' absence returns 

home a peacock. 

76. Display in borrowed plumes. 

77. A vain woman thinks of adorning herself 


78. Himself a beggar and a beggar at his door. 

79. Love of worthless finery. 

80. "When out he wears long dhotis ; at home 

he eats masur bread. 

81. Tall talk when out and koio rice at home. 

82. Boasting of three-seer anklets. 

83. Demanding a torch at another's house. 

84. A blind woman owning three collyrium 


85. The needy keeping company with the 


86. Rags to wear and carpets to spread. 

87. Proud of her Chundri Sari. 

88. A poor fop. 

89. The poor man at the prow of the boat. 

90. Vain boast of learning. 





Subject of ProTerbs. 

" Pot calling the 
• kettle black," 

Alike faulty or 

Cheek, Arro- 
gance, Over- 



91. An upstart affecting gentility. 

92. Affecting familiarity with the great (a snob). 

93. The sieve blaming the sup. 

94. Equally miserable and poor. 

95. Both alike defective. 

96. Blind to one's own fault. 

97. Where giants have failed, the pigmy has 

come to try his strength. 

98. "Where camels are drowned, the donkey 

ventures to ford. 

99. Falsely claiming kinship. 

100. While the superior spirits are crying from 

hunger, Mua has the cheek to ask for 

101. Breeze of the fan pitted against the hurri- 


102. The goat of a jolhd (weaver) and addicted 

to butting ! 

103. Cheek in a young girl. 

104. Can the dance get on without ga7igo ? 

105. Cricket on a bundle. 

106. Making free with another's property. 

107. The barber's wife lamenting the death of 

her husband. 

108. Can the sea-gull support the falling skies 

with its tiny feet ? 

109. He does not know the charm for scorpions, 

yet ventures to put his hand in a snake's 

110. Self-praise is no praise. 

111. Arrogating superiority over one's teacher. 

112. Presumption of the inexperienced. 

113. The young crow wiser than its mother. 

114. Born but yesterday and to-day a giant. 

115. An old goat quizzing the wolf. 

116. Recklessness of those who have nothing to 


117. One who has nothing to lose can be reck- 

less to any extent. 

118. Eeckless waste of other's property. 

119. What is play to one is death to another. 

120. Dying man asked to sing. 





Subject of Proverbs. 

Obstinacy, Self - 
■willed, having 
one' sown way, 

Yain or impo- 
tent desire, 
Vain expecta- 
tion. Useless 
labour, etc. 



121. A self-willed man. 

122. Eequiring full weight when the hanya 

does not come to terms. 
The goat has paid with its life, yet its 

meat is not tasty. 
The poor dog is dying, but the Eaja thinks 

of his sport only. 

125. The Rani has thoughts of the Raja only. 

126. Vain desire of the handless woman to dance. 

127. Wife vainly waiting for the ooUyrium to 

put in her eyes. 

128. Fruitless labour in spinning. 

129. The earless woman wishing for earrings 

130. An old cow's desire to take part in. the 

Sohrai festival. 


PEDIENCY AND Cunning, and "Warnings and Advice. 

A new broom. 

131. A circuitous route. 

132. Absurd sight or situation. 

133. A new washerwoman applies soap to rags 


The barber's wife with a wooden nail- 

A chip of the old block. 

All that glitters is not gold. 

A good man needs speaking once. 

138. All in the same plight. 

139. An old parrot never gets tame. 
After meals wait awhile. 
A dog is brave at his own door. 
Grinding com on the dead. 
The Karaila climbing on the Nim. 
A bear, and he with a spade on his 


145. Insulting the dead. 

146. A demon and a torch in his hand. 






Sul)- Class. 


Subject of Proverbs. 

147. A bad workman quarrels with his tools. 

148. A barking dog seldom bites. 

149. A black goat has no heart. 
160. A ludicrous attempt to frighten. 

151. A rat's skin is not sufficient to cover a 


152. "A prophet is with honour save in his 

own country." 

153. Among butchers a devout man can never 

be happy. 

1 54. Annoying an old man. 

155. Whatever is in the vessel will come out 

of the spout. 

156. Beneath notice is Bhak Bhaun Puri. 
167. Bamboos make the clump. 

158. Beating is pleasant, but the consequences ! 

159. Bound to do it, nolens volens. 

160. Constant repetition not conducive to con- 


161. Can meat be kept on trust with a jackal ? 

162. Drowning the miller. 

163. " Diamond cut diamond." 

164. Dear at his native place, and cheap at the 


165. " Do as they do in Eome." 

166. Do what he may he is still a beggar. 

167. Dictum for preserN^ing health. 

168. The Paras (tree) has but three leaves. 

169. However strong the grain, it cannot break 

the cooking pot. 

170. Pollows the rich and " spunges " on the 


171. Fate and self-help equally shape our 


172. Can a dead horse eat grass? 

173. Can a frog catch cold ? 

174. Can a goat eat nine maunds of flour? 
176. He who holds the spoon commands every- 

176. He who has suffered can sympathize with 

those in pain. 

177. He thatches his roof whose house leaks. 





Subject of Proverbs. 

178. How money may be got rid of. 

179. " Happy medium." 

180. Indifference to loss. 

181. "Ifs" and "ands." 

182. "Ifs" and "ands." 

183. In the friendship of the ass look out for 
kicks ! 

184. In a treeless country the castor-oil plant 
is a big tree. 

185. If a woman of ill-fame gets angry with 
you, so much the better. 

186. It is a Sarka/ri dog : do not oppose it : let 

it do as it likes. 

187. If benighted go where the dog barks and 

not where the light is seen. 

188. Kill the snake as well as save the stick. 

189. Like to like. As the curry, so the 


190. As the animal, so the grass. 

191. Little things are great to little men. 

192. LaMus in both hands. 

193. Leading an unhappy life. 

194. Let's see on what side the camel sits. 

195. The strong can strike in the most vulner- 

able part. 

196. The strong not only strikes, but prevents 

you from complaining. 

197. The strong, even if he should be in the 

wrong, strikes you! 

198. Eight or wrong the mighty bully. 

199. Necessity has no law. 

200. No good to be got out of him. 

201. Not the sugar that flies will take to. 

202. The wedding of a sickle and the song of 

the hoe ! 

203. Same thing right or wrong according to 


204. Munj stitches on velvet ! 

205. Pestle has nothing to do with curd. 

206. A cummin seed in the mouth of a 


207. Can the bark of one tree fit another ? 





Subject of Proverbs. 












Will the bald head again go under the bel 

" A scalded cat dreads cold water." 
A dog onoe struck with a firebrand dreads 

even the sight of lightning. 
On the horns of a dilemma (the snake and 

the musk rat). 
One man's meat is another man's poison. 
One never reveals his defeat and the 

beating he has received from his wife. 
A full belly gives a heavy head. 
Out of all reckoning. 
One with a wax nose is easily led. 
One good turn deserves another. 
Plain speakers not general favourites. 
Truth at times parts the best of friends. 
Pain preferable to remedy in some cases. 
Purchasing troubles. 
Eight question, wrong answer. 
Eiches often count for virtue. 
Eequiring constant service without 

adequate return. 
Splendour but short-lived. 
Straightforwardness not always expedient. 
Some amenable to kicks only. 
Give him^aw and he won't offer you satiu 

even ; but give him kicks and he will 

offer you sweets. 
Call him " father " and he will not give 

you oil even ; but abuse him and he will 

offer you ghi. 
" Straight as a sickle " (a perverse nature). 
Sing his praise who gives you food. 
Slay your enemy without scruple. 
Too many cooks spoil the broth. 
The blusterer lords it over all. 
The weevil gets crushed with the wheat. 
The grass suffers in the fight of the tiger 

and buffalo. 
The sweet ones he swallows, the bitter he 

Tongue — source of honour and shame. 





Subject of Proverbs. 

239. A needy troupe of dancers use their own oil. 

240. The meanest can injure. 

241. The less the grain to be parched the more 

noise it makes. 

242. Things to be avoided as leading to danger. 

243. Things we ought to pray to be saved from. 

244. Taking a pleasant view of everything. 

245. The staves of ten men make the load of one. 

246. The word of a man is like the tusk of an 

elephant : it cannot be withdrawn. 

247. If the bel fruit is ripe, it matters little to 

the crow. 

248. If she disappoints, the bed will remain 


249. "Without restraint. 

250. "What is in a name ? 

251. The cunning of the dwarf, the squint-eyed, 

and the one-eyed compared. 

252. Beware of grey eyes. 

253. "Warning against men with certain peculi- 


254. "Where there is a will there is a way (mind 

compared to a blacksmith). 

255. "What houses are on the certain road to 

ruin (according to Ghagh the soothsayer). 


Peoveebs eelaiing to Pecuiiaeities and Teaiis Chaeacteeistic 
OP Ceetain Castes and Classes. 

Ahirs or Goalas 


256. An Ahir knows only how to sing his Lorik 


257. Eent receipt given by the cunning Kaeth 

to the burly Ahir. 

258. The young barber practises on the Ahir's 


259. Hair splitting about difference of castes. 

"When three Kanaujiya Brahmans meet, 
adieu to cooking. 





Subject of Proverbs. 





(cobblers and 

Darji (tailor). 



260. Tbe Panre does not practise what be 


261. A Kaeth wants payment, a Brahmin 

feeding, and paddy and betel watering, 
but the low caste only kicks to make 
them do their work. 

262. A barber's wedding. 

263. The owed baniya gives further tick. 

264. A Babhan, a dog, and a bhat are always 

at variance with their own caste. 

265. A Babhan never to be believed. 

266. One Bhuifihar is equal to seven Cbamars. 

267. A pretentious barhai or carpenter. 

268. "When shoemakers quarrel, the king's 

saddle suffers. 

269. A shoemaker's daughter with an aristo- 

cratic name ! 

270. Sticking to his last. 

271. The Dhobi and his ass. 

272. Washermen wash best under competition. 

273. The washerman never tears his father's 


274. The Dhobi, the tailor, and the barber are 

always careless. 

275. A Dhobi is likely to starve in the village 

of the nude. 

276. A Kayath essentially a man of figures. 

277. Sinning in good company is no sin (story 

of the Kayaths who ate donkey's meat). 

278. A Eayath helpless without pen and paper. 

279. Kayaths, crows, and sweepings gather 

their own kinds. 

280. A Kayath when paying cash is the very 


281. A Kayath gains when fools quarrel. 

282. Wherever three Kayaths gather together, 

a thunderbolt will fall. 

283. Comparison of castes. 

284. The three people whodanceinothers'houses. 

285. A Kurmi always untrustworthy. 
286 A Kumhar sleeps secure. 





Subject of Proverbs. 


Miyanji (or 
family tutor). 

Suthra fakirs. 

Teli (oilman). 

Jolha (weaver). 

287. A Musalman, a parrot, and a hare are 

never grateful. 

288. To a Musalman give toddy, to a bullock 


289. "When the Miyaiiji is at the door, it is a 

bad look out for the dog. 

290. The Miyaiiji loses his beard in praise. 

291. A Miyaiiji's run is up to the mosque 


292. A Noniya's daughter is born to labour. 

293. Thick-headed. 

294. Selfishness in Suthra fakirs. 

295. Hundred strokes of the goldsmith will not 

equal one of the blacksmith. 

296. A Teli, though possessed of lakhs, cannot 

equal Raja Bhoj. 

297. The weaver bearing the sins of others. 

298. The weaver as a cultivator. 

299. The weaver penny wise and pound foolish. 

300. A whip does not make an equestrian. 

301. A weaver's daughter aping her betters. 

302. A weaver becomes proud as a king when 

he has a gagra-fuW. of rice. 

303. The avaricious weaver. 

304. The weaver asks to be let off fasting, but 

gets saddled with prayers. 

305. The weaver suffers on leaving his loom. 

306. Id without weavers. 

307. A weaver makes a sad hash when required 

to reap a field. 

308. The weaver going to cut grass at sunset. 

309. The weaver tries to swim in a linseed 


310. The weaver's wife. 

311. Weavers' and shoemakers' promises never 

to be relied on. 

312. A weaver as an impressed labourer. 

313. A fight between a frog and a weaver. 


Peoteebs eelating to Social and Moeal Subjects, Eeligious 
Customs and Popular Supeestiiions. 

Sub -Class. 


Subject of Proverbs. 

Brother and 

Bride and 


Blind and Deaf. 



314. Angel of death to be feared. 

315. As the Debi, so the oifering. 

316. A weak Debi and a strong he-goat for 


317. A saddening reflection. 

318. A fast woman of course blames others 

when she elopes. 

319. A meddlesome woman. 

320. A disgraced cat is as humble as a wife of 

the rat. 

321. A forward woman. 

322. Born to labour. 

323. Bad lineage. 

324. A weak elder brother-in-law is not re- 


325. A sister-in-law has a sister-in-law to annoy 


326. The bride gets rice gruel only, and others 

sweets ! 

327. A foolish bride gets no presents. 

328. The "face-money" to the bride. 

329. Crocodile tears of a bride. 

330. Blind master and deaf pupil. 

331. Backbiter. 

332. Charity (sharing the last crust). 

333. Dying in Benares is going to heaven. 

334. Beware of overpraising your daughter. 

335. A bad daughter riiins a son-in-law. 

336. A daughter has three names in succession 

during her lifetime. 

337. A dependent knows no happiness. 

338. Making absurd conditions for dancing. 

339. False modesty in dancers. 




Subject of Proverbs. 

Especial haunts 
or resorts. 


Guests and 


Habit second 
nature and 
(the leopard 
cannot change 
his spots). 

Heart's dearest 

Husband and 


340. The blind man's lodging is at the turner's. 

341. A loose horse is sure to stand near the 


342. Paith makes god of a stone. 

343. A fool's property the prey of all. 

344. A fool's property the prey of all. 

345. A fool thinks of his belly only. 

346. A fool worries himself with others' concern. 

347. A fool went to fish, but lost his fishing 


348. A fool's wife the jest of all. 

349. A fool unable to distinguish the trunk 

from the tail of an elephant. 

350. A simpleton is " cheeked " by a dog even. 

351. Who are fools according to Ghagh the poet. 

352. The three greatest fools in this world. 

353. Unwelcome guests. 

354. Guests but in name. 

355. Presuming to play the part of the hostess. 

356. Assuming a leading part in a marriage 


357. The host, and he to get broken bits of cake. 

358. Grandfather's funeral ceremony. 

359. Notwithstanding all charms and incanta- 

tions the boy does not change his habit. 

360. The rope bums, but not the twist. 

361. A dog's tail can never be straightened. 

362. Half dead, he still shakes his head. 

'363. Can the crow become white by eating 
camphor ? 

364. "What does a blind man want but his two 

eyes ? 

365. The husband claiming unmerited service 

from the wife. 

366. The diffidence of the husband in making 

presents to his wife in his father's house. 

367. "When the cat is away the mice will play. 

368. Husband unsuited to the wife. 

369. A greedy wife. 

370. A would-be paragon of a wife gives a 

pommelling to her husband. 

371. Hard won prize. 





Subject of ProTerbs. 


Mischief makers 

Mother and 

One blamed for 
another's fault, 
made a scape- 

women, fire- 
brands, etc. 

Quarrels and 


Sympathy and 
want of it. 

372. He only "joins" bread who cannot make 


373. If every one takes to becoming pilgrims, 

who is to do the worldly work ? 

374. Ignorant villagers are easily duped. 

375. Ignorant villager mulcted on going to 


376. Ornaments as well as means of livelihood. 

377. Job's comforter. 

378. Love defies law. 

379. Quarrels between relatives are made up ; 

mischief-makers only return home dis- 

380. He tells the thief to steal and the wealthy 

to keep awake. 

381. The happiness of one who has neither 

mother-in-law nor sister-in-law. 

382. Music is charming at a distance. 

383. Chamru enjoys, while Deyal gets whipped 

for it. 

384. For the sake of one all are disliked. 

385. The man with a moustache is blamed for 

the thieving of the moustacheless. 

386. She in tatters is blamed for her in ornaments. 

387. Priest and musician in one. 

388. Physician prescribing according to the 

patient's wish. 

389. Quarrelsome women recommended to 

quarrel with decency. 

390. A fire-brand, wherever she goes, she sets 

society by the ear. 

391. The misfortune of a husband who has 

a scold of a wife. 

392. A shrew strikes terror into a demon even. 

393. The root of quarrels is practical jokes, as 

the root of disease is cough. 

394. Envious tears of an elder sister. 

395. Pains of a chapped foot. 

396. Does a barren woman know the pain of 

childbirth ? 

397. To cry before a blind man is to waste tears. 

398. Single-handed. 





Subject of Proverbs. 









399. An imworthy son. 

400. Who avoids the beaten track. 

401. Good singers are apt to be bored. 

402. Social aspirant snubbed. 

403. She went to ask for a son, but lost her 


404. He prayed that his troubles may be 

lessened, but they were doubled. 

405. The dead boy had fine eyes. 

406. The man who ofifers you tobacco and lime 

unasked is sure to go to heaven. 

407. Tobacco is necessary for life. 

408. The devil even flees from a thrashing. 

409. The thief on the contrary mulcting the police. 

410. Thick as thieves. 

411. A thief's heart is in the Itahri field. 

412. With a thief he is a thief, to a watchman 

he is a servant only. 

413. A thief is a thief, whether he steals a 

diamond or a cucumber. 

414. A thief will not stick at a borrowed plate. 

415. An impudent thief : he warns when he steals. 

416. A thief with a face bright as the moon. 

417. Taking tick »ine die. 

418. The idler (indolent). 

419. Uncle and nephew at loggerheads (paying 

off old scores). 

420. Vicissitudes of life. 

42 1 . Waiting for the auspicious time may bring 


422. Waverer's repentance. 

423. A spinster weeping with a widow. 

424. Handful of bangles or a widow. 

425. Wedding of a noseless woman and nine 

hundred obstacles. 

426. Wedding headdress made of mango leaves 


427. The song ought to be for her whose 

wedding it is. 

428. Easy worship of the pipal-tree. 

429. Making a virtue of necessity in wor- 




Peovdebs eelating to Ageioulxtjee and Season's. 



Subject of Proverbs. 

430. Distant farming ruinous. 

431. The closer the field, the easier its culture. 

432. Selling bullocks for seed. 

433. A farmer is known when at his field. 

434. Anxieties of agriculture unknown to the 

lazy lubber. 

435. If goats and sheep answer for ploughing, 

why purchase bullocks ? 

436. Impertinent request to lend a buUock for 


437. The meaning of a speckled cloud and a 

widow applying scented oil. 

438. The meaning of its beginning to rain 

on Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, and 
Sunday respectively. 

439. The meaning of the raiubow at the begin- 

ning and end of rain. 

440. The meaning of the halo round the moon 

on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday 

441. The rain in the beginning of Aradra and 

the end of Hathiya. 

442. The asterisms of Maggha, Swati and 


443. The effects of the several rains on the 

different crops. 

444. The effect of rain in Baisakh (April-May) 

on paddy ; the yield is doubled. 

445. If there is rain in Krittika (middle of 

May), there will be no rain for the six 
following asterisms. 

446. When to sow China. 

447. "When rice will be plentiful. 

448. The rain of Aradra (middle of June) does 

away with distress. 





Subject of Proverbs. 

449. If it does not rain at the commencement 

of Aradra and end of Hathiya, the culti- 
vator gets ruined. 

450. If it rains at the commencement of Aradra 

and end of Hathiya, the cultivator can 
stand any increase to his rent. 

451. The rain of Aradra injures jawas only. 

452. "When to prepare the field and when to 

sow paddy. 

453. The effect of paddy being sown in Aradra, 

Punarbas or Pukh. 

454. The meaning of a cloudy sunrise on the 

seventh day of the bright half in Sawan. 

455. The meaning of a clear sunrise on the same 


456. The meaning of a cloudless morning on 

the same day. 

457. The meaning of a dark night on the same 


458. The meaning of thunder at midnight on 

the same date. 

459. The effect of rain in Sawan (July-August) 

and thunder in Bhadon (August-Sept.). 

460. The meaning of west wind in Sawan and 

east in Bhadon. 

461. The effect of east wind in Sawan. 

462. The effect of west wind in Sawan. 

463. The effect of west and east wind in Sawan 

and Bhadon. 

464. Heaviest rain in Asres and Maggha. 

465. Loss to cultivator if he does not finish 

transplanting rice before Purwa. 

466. The effect of east wind in Purwa. 

467. The effect of west wind in Purwa. 

468. The meaning of clouds flitting like the 

wings of a partridge. 

469. The meaning of a cloudy sky on Priday 

and Saturday. 

470. The effect of east wind in Saon and west 

wind in Bhadon. 

471. When to cease planting paddy. 

472. Not to transplant in Utra Phaguni. 




Subject of Proverbs. 



473. The meaning of a crow speaking by night 

and jackal by day. 

474. The meaning of wind blowing from all 

four quarters. 

475. Hatbiya rain produces three things and 

destroys three things. 

476. Rainless Aradra destroys three crops only, 

but a rainless Hathiya destroys every- 

The effect of rain in Hathiya and clouds 
only in Chitra. 

The effect of rain in Chitra. 

"What to sow in Chitra. 

The effect of a shower in Swati. 

Instructions about harvesting rice. 

Clear nights indicate breaking of the rains. 

483. A cloudless night and a cloudy day show 

that the rains are at an end. 

484. The barking of the fox and the flowering 

of the kas grass signs of the end of the 

485. Appearance of the star Canopus indicates 

the end of the rains. 
The meaning of the flowering of the kas 

and kus grass. 
Respective effect of rain in Aghan, Pus, 

Magh and Phagun. 

488. The effect of rain in Aghan. 

489. The effect of rain in Pus. 
Signs of drought. 
The meanings of west wind respectively 

in Chait (March-April) and Bhadon 





Peoveebs eelating to Catile and Animals in Geneeal. 



Subject of Proverbs. 

Aweary bullock. 


A calf takes after its motter and a foal 

after its father. 
Can an ass be lean in tbe month of Sawan ? 
To a weary bullock his girth even is heavy. 
To a weary bullock his empty panniers 

are even heavy. 
A separate house for a blind cow. 
Driving away a grazing cow a sin. 
God takes care of a blind cow. 
In the prancing of the pack-bullock his 

master is visible. 
500. The caU leaps, presuming on the strength 

of the tethering peg. 
Eules for selecting cattle. 
The bullock toils, but the bay horse is 

The camel is blamed in the whole army. 
Tou can endure kicks from a milch cow. 
Tou can endure kicks from a milch cow. 
Points of a mUch cow. 








Introductory Notes 

Names of certain individuals and animals not to be taken . 
Jatra or journey. The superstitions connected with a 

journey. How augured to be auspicious or not . 

Marriages of Tanks and Wells 

Divination, and charms, incantations and amulets to cure 

maladies and keep off or exorcise evil spirits, etc. . 
Superstitious ceremonies and observances connected with 

birth and death 

Plp,nting trees 

Manner of detecting thieves 

Charms, spells, and incantations gone through 







Peoverbs relating to Human Failings, Foibles, and 


Affectation, Dissembling, Hypocrisy, Pretence, Shamming, etc. 

1. Cutting off the head and pretending to preserve the 

Munr katin bdl ke rachchha. 

Ton make a show of preserving the hair, while you are 
really cutting off the head {lit. cutting off the head and 
preserving his hair). 

It would be applied to one who, while he was secretly 
trying to do you a serious injury, was all the time pre- 
tending to be your friend ; one who simulates friendship, 
but who really is your greatest enemy. E.E. " A wolf in 
sheep's clothing." 

2. Father a drunkard and the son pretending to play 
the role of a religious man. 

Bap ke gale labni, put ke gale udrachh. 
The father has a ^^^ labni tied to his neck (his 
constant companion), while the son wears a necklace of 
'^^X;T^ "udrdj" ! (or ^^llf udrachh). 


" Lahni" is a longish earthen pot used for collecting 
palm juice or "toddy." Smaller ones are also used 
for drinking. " Udrachh " is the necklace made out of 
the seeds of the rudrachh (Eleocmyus ganitrus) and worn 
commonly by devotees or Bhagats who eschew worldly 
ways. Hence the father is a debauchee while the son 
proclaims himself a religious man, and affects the ways 
and outward signs of a devotee. Said in sarcasm of a man 
who ostentatiously parades his horror of vice generally, 
when it exists in his own family. (There is no reason 
why one whose father is a confirmed drunkard should not 
be a virtuous man and lead the pious life of a hermit or 
an ascetic ; but the usual style of sarcasm is to ridicule 
one by pointing out the failings of his ancestors. The 
point of sarcasm, it will be noticed, is levelled at the 
parade the son makes of his virtuous and pure life, 
knowing his father's failing.) 

3. One for show and another for use. 

Hathi ke ddnt; khay he dosar, dekliawe ke dosar. 

Like the tusk and teeth of an elephant ; one set for 
show and another for use {lit. to eat with) . 

Said of a hypocrite ; one who plays a double part ; one 
whose outward behaviour is the reverse of his real 
character. A dissembler. (In proverb 246 this simile is 
made use of to illustrate exactly the opposite virtue, 
namely, of keeping to one's word.) 

4. Pretending to turn over a new leaf. 

Nao sai chulia kha ke hilK chali liaj ko. 


After eating nine hundred rats the cat is now going on 
a pilgrimage. 

Said of a wicked man who pretends to turn over a new 
leaf and become virtuous after countless acts of sin. (It 
is an Urdu proverb. The Hindi form of it from 8ur Das 
is (T^ ^fT% ^ ^^ f^%^ ^TtT 11T ^T^ % Tap karibe 
ko chali bilaiya sattar chuha khay ke.) 

5. Pretending the end of the cucumber is bitter. 

Sagre khlra kha ke bheti tit. 

After eating the whole of the cucumber he says the end 
of it is bitter ! 

^Z^ "Bheti" is the end or part of a fruit attached to 
the stalk. E.E. " Swallowing a camel and straining at a 
gnat." It is also called S-tJ^ " i 

6. Sinner turned a saint. 

Kab ki blbi bdnihni. 
Since when has the Blbi turned aBdmhni (i.e. an upright 
woman) ? " Blbi " is the usual title of a Musalman lady, 
here used for a woman with indifferent reputation, in 
opposition to a Bdmhni, who, being the wife of a Hindu 
priest, is supposed to be strictly virtuous. Said when one 
of indifferent reputation suddenly affects a respectable role. 
The following story is told in illustration of the above 
saying. A sarai (or inn) was kept by some Musalman 
Bhattidritis. They found that they were not patronized 
by Hindus, so to attract Hindu customers they set up one 
woman among them as a Brahmani ; and in consequence 
of this subterfuge they soon had a Brahman visitor, and 


the newly-made " Bamhni " was told off to attend him. In 
course of talk the " Bdmhni " asked the newly-arrived guest 
how long ago it was that he had become a Brahman. 
" Since when have you become a Bdmhni ? " asked the 
suspecting Brahman. " Only last week," was the reply. 
The Brahman did not stay long in the sarai after this 

7. Shamming to shirk. 

'o fl'¥>i ^^ ^>^ ^t: f^% ift^ ^ ^wr ^ 
ti 1% t^ ^ ^ff^ ^RT ^^ t 

Sing jhdre aur khur ghise pith na hojha le 
Aise burhe bail Jw hdndhi kaioan bhus de ? 

Who is going to feed such an old (useless) bullock that 
shakes its horns, rubs its hoofs on the ground, and refuses 
any weight on its back ? These are the signs of a lazy 
{korhi) bullock that refuses to work ; there is no use in 
feeding such a useless animal. Said of a worthless man 
who will not work from laziness. 

8. She knows nine but not six. 

Nao jdneli chao na jdnas. 

Knows nine but not six ! 

Said of one who shams ignorance — pretends not to 
know simple things, but really knows a great deal. 
Applied usually to women. 

9. Sinking low indeed ! 

Kahdice le saiyad chorawe le chhuchchhi. 
She styles herself a saiyad, but she can be low enough 


to steal even a nose stud. Said sarcastically when one 
wlio is commonly accepted as a respectable person de- 
scends to do a low act. ^^ " Saiyad" is the most 
respectable sect (the priest-class) among the Mohamedans. 
Another proverb of similar application is ^f T% % ^"^W^ 
■^'AT^ ^ ^TTI Kahdive he hibi cliorawe ke chamralih, i.e. 
calls herself a lady, but can stoop to steal the leather of 
the spinning axle. ^TTTTi " Chamralih " is the leather 
on which the spinning axle rests in passing the upright. 

10. Pretended delicacy. 

Kahaice ke hulhitl, llle ke gular. 
She calls herself a hulbul, but swallows a gular ! 
^^^^ " Bulhul" is a nightingale, and is used to repre- 
sent a delicate creature. A hulbul is too small to be 
able to swallow a gitlar {i.e. a wild fig). Cast at those 
who pretend to be delicate and small, but are really the 

11. Old in sin and yet a novice. 

'=\<=i ^rf%^ ^iTTfT ^iTTfi ^ 5t^T ^T ^f ^^jrgr3[T 

Larika khait khdit hurhi hhelln ; log kahe, hakdain. 
I have grown old in experience {lit. in eating children), 
still people call me a novice {lit. a semi-witch ; not a 
"full" witch). ^^»l Z)awi is " a witch." Her favourite 
occupation would seem to be to kill (metaphorically " to 
eat") children. A ^^rSTi;«I "hakdain" is not a full 
ddin ; something wanting to make one a full ddin. 

One who prides herself on possessing a life-long ex- 
perience in anything (chiefly in evil practices), but finds 
her experience questioned, is supposed to express her 


indignation in this ghastly metaphor. It is of course 
uttered by a third party, as if coming from tbe person to 
be ridiculed. The point of the sarcasm lies in the person 
being represented as boasting of her misdeeds (which she 
really does not). 

Avarice, Parsimony, Covetousness, Qreed, etc. 

12. A life's hoarding lost at a stroke. 

<^^ ^^ ^Z^^ #Tt ^^"^ TTT ^2^T f^^ 

Sdhu batore kauri kauri. Ram hatore kiip^ja. 

The sdhu (or shopkeeper) collects {ghi or oil) little by 
little (a kauri's weight) at a time, but Ram (the god) 
sweeps away a whole kuppa. '^\r€\ or\^ "Kauri kauri" 
means a very small weight at a time : the weight of a 
kauri, or a shell, which is the lowest current coin. efitlTT 
" Kiippa " is a leather vessel used for keeping oil or ghi in 
large quantities ; and contains about a maund. Said in 
derision of the sdhu or laniya who laboriously gathers 
kauri by kauri, while misfortune with one stroke sweeps 
away the whole of his hoard. 

13. " Almighty dollar." 

Guru na gurhhaiya 
Sab ten bara rupaiya. 

Neither the spiritual guide nor the fellow disciple are of 
any account ; greater than they all is the rupee. 

ai'^^^ Gurhhaiya. The son of the religious teacher is 
regarded in native society with the same respect and 
affection as one's own brother. 


14. The miser's loss is sudden. 

Kauri kauri kail hator 
Rupya bhail ta le gail chor. 

He gathered a shell at a time, ajid when he had gathered 
enough to make a rupee a thief stole it. 

Said to laugh at a miser when he loses what he has 
toiled and pinched himself to gather. 

15. The miser and his wife. 

^fi %fT xn: ^t%?n riT'W ^^ *ra\T 

Sumin puchhe sum se, kdhe hadan malln 
Ka ganthi ka gir para, ka kdhu ko din 
Na ganthi ka gir para, na kdhu kachhu din 
Det let par dekhiya, ta ten hadan malln. 

The miser's wife asked her husband, "Why are you 
looking so sad ? Has anything dropt out of your pocket, 
or have you given away anything to anybody ? " " JSTo," 
was the reply, "nothing has dropt out of my pocket, nor 
have I given away anything to anybody. I saw another 
parting with his money, and that has made me sad ! " i.e. 
A miser feels unhappy at seeing others generous. 

^^•I " Badan " face ; some people say " deh," body, 
instead of " badan." 

16. Take one and give two. 

Lena ek, na dena du. 


To take one and give two ; i.e. not to hold any inter- 
course, not to have any transaction. 
" I will not take one and give two." 

The following story is told in illustration of the above 
proverb : — Once upon a time a peacock and a tortoise 
became great friends. The peacock lived on a tree on the 
banks of the stream in which the tortoise had his home ; 
and daily the peacock after he had a drink of water danced 
near the stream and displayed his gay plumage for the 
amusement of his friend. One unfortunate day a bird- 
catcher who was on the prowl caught the peacock and was 
about taking him away to the market. The unhappy bird 
begged of his captor to allow him to bid his friend the 
tortoise good-bye, as it would be the last time he would 
see him. The bird-catcher allowed him his prayer and 
took him to the tortoise, who was greatly moved to see his 
friend a captive. The tortoise asked the bird-catcher to 
let the peacock go ; but he laughed at the request, saying 
that was his means of livelihood. The tortoise then said, 
" If I make you a handsome present, will you let my friend 
go ? " " Certainly," answered the bird-catcher, " that is 
all I want." Whereupon the tortoise dived into the water 
and in a few seconds came up with a handsome pearl, 
which, to the great astonishment of the bird-catcher, he 
handed to him. This was beyond his expectations, and he 
let the peacock go immediately. A short time after the 
avaricious man came back and told the tortoise that he 
thought he had not paid him enough for the release of his 
friend, and threatened that unless a match to that pearl 
was obtained for him, he would again catch the peacock. 
The tortoise, who had already advised his friend to betake 
himself to a distant jungle on being set free, was greatly 


enraged at the greed of this man. " Well," said the tor- 
toise, " if you insist on having another pearl like it, give 
it to me and I will fish you out an exact match for it." 
The cupidity of the bird-catcher prevented his reasoning 
that " one in hand was equal to two in the bed of the 
stream," and he speedily gave the pearl to the wily tor- 
toise, who swam out with it, saying, " I am no fool to take 
one and give two ! " and forthwith disappeared, leaving 
the bird-catcher to be sorry ever after for his covetousness. 

17. When gaining he is discontented, when losing 

Awat hdhijjdt santokh. 
When it is coming in {i.e. he is gaining), he is discon- 
tented; when it is going out [i.e. he is losing), he becomes 
contented — i.e. the more an avaricious man gets, the more 
he is anxious for, and is consequently discontented. But 
he learns to be contented when he begins losing. Then 
he would be content with what is left, if he should only 
lose no more. 


18. Aping a losing game. 

%^C\ ^xi^ ^T^ 'Nt^ 

Kauwa gela hans ke chdl slkhe, 
Aila apan chal ganwdy. 
The crow went to learn the ways (" walk ") of the goose, 
but lost its own ! 

=^T^ " Chdl," lit. " walk," hence " ways," " habit." The 
waddling gait of the goose is much admired. 


One who abandons his natural ways to ape those of 
others is very apt to lose his individuality and make him- 
self ridiculous. 

19. Aping your betters causes discomfort. 

Bina ban tilak lilar charchardy. 
Whoever applies a tilak, being unaccustomed to it, will 
find his forehead skin-chapped. Said to ridicule one who 
apes the habits of his betters and finds that he is not made 
comfortable thereby. (f?[^=R " Tilak " is the sandal-wood 
mark that a Brahman applies to his forehead. When it 
dries, the skin shrinks with it. The sandal paste is made 
by rubbing sandal-wood.) Another proverb of similar 
application is % ^T1 % ^if^^ ^1% ^Tt^T ^^' ^'^'* ^'^ kharika 
ham barobar, " To one not in the habit of using a tooth- 
pick, it is like a bamboo ! " i.e. he feels when using it as 
uncomfortable as if he were forcing a bamboo between his 
teeth. Said to ridicule those who take to a habit in 
imitation of others and find that it makes them very 

20. Paying dearly for aping. 

'^o ^^T tff T t^ ^ ^TTT wrn: wtTf 

Ankar sendur clekh ke dpan kapar pJiorln. 

If I see vermilion on another's forehead, am I to crack 
my own ? [i.e. cause it to bleed so as to appear as if I have 
also applied vermilion ?) . An admonition to those who 
cannot afford it, but strain their utmost to appear like 
others, and really suffer thereby. 

Aimed at those who ape others. 


Bullying, Oppressing, Venting Rage, etc. 

21. The weak bullying the weaker. 

Kadua par situa chokh. 

The situa is sharp enough for the pumpkin. 

■ftnrW " Situa " is a " spoon " or " scraper," generally- 
made out of a shell. A kind of primitive spoon with a 
blunt edge ; here it is meant for a blunt instrument. 

The " situa " with its blunt edge is an instrument sharp 
enough to cut the soft pumpkin, though not sharp enough 
to make any impression on a hard surface. One who takes 
advantage of the weakness of his inferior and bullies him 
may fitly be compared to the situa operating on the 
pumpkin. E.g., when a petty police constable visits a 
village, among the villagers he is the very embodiment 
of authority. 

22. The cunning bully the weak. 

Chatur ke khis abare par uthela. 
The rage of the cunning man is (usually) vented .on the 
weak, i.e. on those unable to resent it. 

23. The anvil bears the missing stroke. 

Hukal chot nehdipar. 
The missing (or empty) stroke falls on the anvil. 
Usually said when a man is angry with one and vents his 
rage on another weaker than himself — on one who is 
usually the butt of his anger. 


24. The fallen are trampled. 

^8 tiT^ xnt ^TT t^ ^^^ 

Parcel pain tmingre mungre thatham. 

The fallen are cudgelled repeatedly. 

One who is found weak and fallen is constantly beaten 
with a mallet. Those who are down are always apt to 
be kicked. (The use of mungre twice denotes repetition 
of the act.) 

25. Entirely at your mercy. 

=14 irn: w^ fwr wtr ^^ 

Mar kat piya tore as. 
Whether you kill or save, I am at your mercy {lit. all 
my hope rests in you). 

TTT ^^ " ^^>' ^^'&i " is ^ii- " to beat " and " to cut up." 

26. Venting one's rage on the innocent. 

Thes lage pahdre, ghar ke phorln silwat. 
I hurt myself against a rock {lit. I receive a knock 
from a rock), but vent my rage on the grinding- stone at 
home by breaking it. Usually said by the wife who has 
to put up with the rage of the husband if he has met with 
any reverse or disappointment in the world. 

Bad Hand-ivrititig. 

27. Bad hand-writing. 

Likhen Musa piarheti Khoda. 
What is written by Musa (Moses) can only be read by 
God {lit. Moses writes and God reads). Said when the 
hand- writing is so bad that nobody can read it. 


A sllgbt variation in the pronunciation of the words 
Musa and Khoda (pronouncing the syllables separately, 
Mu-sa and Khod-a) gives a ludicrous turn to the meaning 
of the passage. " He writes as fine as hair, and, in order 
to read it, has to come himself" (i.e. he writes so badly 
that no one else can read his writing except himself), 
where mu (Persian) is " hair." The same idea is got by 
substituting Isa (Jesus) for Musa (Moses) — t%W %■€! 
'^^ ^^ Likhen aisa parhen khoda, " He writes so (badly) 
that he has to come himself to read it." 


28. A blabber dying to blab. 

^^ ^ f^TT TIT 'n ^(m ^TT 'iirr ^tt wr^ 

Kahe hina raha najay 
Sara hhagiva jara jay. 

When the loin-cloth is burning, it is impossible to re- 
frain from speaking out. 

Puts in a quaint way the failing of one who is affected 
with cacoethes loquendi and cannot keep himself from 
blabbing, just as one whose loin-cloth takes fire, must 
needs jump and cry out; also said when any one suffers 
a wrong from another's hand and finds it impossible to 
refrain from complaining. Also said when one feels 
compelled to speak. 

29. The tell-tale causes the downfall of a kingdom. 

Ghar ka bhediya lanka dah. 
The man who divulges home secrets (the tell-tale) brings 
about the ruin of a house (as Bibhikhan caused the down- 
fall of Lanka). 


The allusion is to tlie Hindu mythology. Bibhikhan, 
the brother of Eaban, by joining Ramchandra and giving 
out the secrets of his brother, caused the downfall of 

Counting the chickens before they are hatched, 
Anticipating, etc. 

30. Tbe son is born before the father. 

Bapjamhe na kaile, put pichhudre thdrh hhaile. 

The father is not yet born, but the son has taken his 
stand behind. 

This is said as a riddle, meaning " smoke." The father 
is the fire and the son the smoke, which usually precedes 
the fire. 

Said when one anticipates an event by a long period. 

A similar Urdu proverb is ^TT^ '"TT ^31^ T^^ ^ ^^ 

Gachh par katahal, honth men tel, " The jack fruit is 
yet on the tree, but the oil has been already applied to 
the lips." (The "jack" being a very glutinous fruit, 
oil is usually applied to the lips to prevent it sticking.) 
E.E. " Counting the chickens before they are hatched." 

31. The father is still unborn, but the son attends a 
wedding (safflower). 

^'=t ^TT Tf ^ "^^ 1<T ^^ ^^TrT 

Bap rahal pete, put gail hariydt. 

While the father was still in the womb [i.e. pod), the 
son went to a wedding party. 

The father is the seed of the safflower in pods ; the son 
is the safflower dye (Grierson). 


32. Proclaiming before the son is born. 

Beta hhaibe na kail, pahile danda dor. 
The son is not yet born, but a beat of the drum pro- 
claims the event beforehand. 

Of similar application to Proverb No. 30. 

33. Crying before he is hurt. 

^^ #t: ^mT wr Wz it ^^^ ^q ^t% 

Laur kapar ka bhent na, bap bap agate. 

Before the cudgel and his forehead have met, he cries 
out, " father, father," the usual cry of a native when 
he is hurt. 

i.e. Crying before one is hurt. 

34. Anticipating evil. 

Bag lagbe na kail mangran dera del. 

The trees in the orchard have not yet been planted, 
but the woodworms have settled down there beforehand. 

itan^ " Mangar " is a longish kind of insect de- 
structive to trees in general. It has a hard beak with 
which it burrows into the wood, and destroys the pith. 
Applied when destructive agents are already present 
before anything is begun. " Canker in the germ." 

Conceit about one's wisdom. 

35. Conceit about one's wisdom. 

"^1 W ^VT 5l3TrT m^^ Wtl 

Bidhi rachal buddhi sdrhe tin 
Teh men ddhajagat apan tin. 


Grod made wisdom of three parts and a half, of which 
the half went to the world, the rest to him ; i.e. according 
to the person aimed at, the whole world has got only the 
half, while he possesses the remaining three parts. 

This is a sarcastic reference to a conceited man. 


36. Can't afford rice-gruel, but drinks toddy. 

Mdnr na jure tdri. 
He cannot afford rice-gruel, yet he (drinks) toddy ! 
Extravagance in a drunkard. 

37. Expenditure on a thing more than its worth. 

Damri he hiilbul taJia chothdi. 

The bird is not worth more than a damri, hut the 
"plucking" costs a taka. 

■^?rf^ Damari = eight kauris, or 3-^ dam. 

ZefiT Taka = two (Gorakhpuri) pice. 

Said when the expenditure in connection with a thing 
is more than it is really worth. 

38. Cost of the wood is nine pice, but he spends 90 on it. 

Nao Ice lakari nahbe kharach. 

The wood is worth nine only, but the expenditure 
thereon is ninety. 

(Variation of No. 1 60, meaning to imply that the expenses 
in connection with an object are more than it is really 


39. Useless appendage. 

Chdkar ka chukar manrdi ka osara. 
Servant to a servant is like a portico to a hut. 
Useless, unnecessary, out of place. 
^^T " Chukar " is a word coined to agree in sound 
with ^^■^ " Chakar," i.e. a servant. 
An unnecessary appendage. 

40. Servant to a servant. 

8 ^^<^ % '^5^-^: ^^ft ^trj: 

Nokaro ke chakar tekaro lamaichar. 

Servant to a servant and on him another dependent. 

"Lamaichar" is probably connected with ^^'^^T " lamera," 
which Mr. Grierson defines as "the seed which falls on 
the ground in the field at harvest time, and which germi- 
nates next year;" a wild uncared-for plant; extra; not 
in the regular order. Hence a servant's servant would 
be one out of the regular order, an extra, unnecessary 


41. Critics say more than the poet. 

(■eiT) ^^ ^ ^^ t*?^ ^^rl ^^ ^i^T^ 

Thor kailan Tulsldas hahut kailan kabita 
(ya) Thora karain Bali Miyan hahut karain dafali. 
Little was said by the poet Tulsldas, but a great deal 
was added by the (other) poets (and commentators). 

Tulsldas was the well-known author of the Eamayan. 
Commonly said when the original story is greatly ex- 



42. Making a mountain of a mole hill. 

Sidr ke guh parhat. 

The dirt of the jackal is made into a mountain {i.e. to 
magnify trifles). 

E.E. To make a mountain of a mole hill. 

43. A lakh is on the lips of a brag. 

8 ^ ^^tk: ^ ^f W ^Ti ^q^ 

Lobar ka muhh men lakh rupaiya. 

A lakh is on the lips (mouth) of a liar ; i.e. a fibber, who 
is all talk, can give you as high a figure as you wish with- 
out the least hesitation ; that is, a liar has no scruple in 
exaggerating. Lobar is a braggart. 


44. A greedy daughter-in-law. 

88 ^TTT ^wt ^erw %^€t ^^fx'm ^f^^ TTri % ^tn€> 

Sat had sat tewdsi, hahuriya kahaicath rat ke updsi. 

The daughter-in-law has fed seven times on the rem- 
nants of yesterday's meal, and seven times on the remnants 
of the day before ; still she makes out she is fasting from 
last night. 

^T^ " Bdsi " is what is left over-night from the pre- 
vious day's meal, and rl^T^ "tewdsi" is what remains 
the third day. 

This ungracious speech is supposed to be uttered by the 
mother-in-law who is always at " daggers drawn " with 
her daughter-in-law. 


45. Pretended fasting before her husband. 

Sdi heri sataun, piya age dataun. 

Seven times has she breakfasted, and yet before her 
husband she is only brushing her teeth (i.e. preparing to 
eat for the first time). 

Natives as a rule never eat before cleaning their teeth. 
Hence ^?T '^'fl' rl^B "^l^^^^ •TT ^T^"" "Sam abhi iak dataun 
na karlin " implies that " I have not yet broken my fast 
even." ^rft"*! "Dataun " is a tooth brush made of a twig 
of JVim. it(r^«T " Sataun " is from ^rT«IWr " satanja," or 
7 ans, or kinds of grain mixed, which is usually eaten as 
an early breakfast. This mixture of 7 kinds of grain is 
also eaten on other occasions, such as during the paddy 
transplanting time in some parts of Bihar. 

Also a sneer cast at the wife by either her mother-in- 
law or sister-in-law. 

46. Ambition dying for name ; greed for belly. 

Nami maralan nam la petu maralan pet la. 
The ambitious man dies for fame : the glutton for his 
belly ! 

47. The greedy advised to eat with eyes closed before 

Ankh mimd ke khdlh ; larika na parikaln. 

Shut your eyes and eat; and do not encourage children. 

This is thrust at a glutton who does not offer what he 
is eating to the children standing by. He is advised (in 
bitter irony) to shut his eyes lest he may, seeing the 


children, feel induced, to share with them what he is 
eating, and thus encourage them. (Shame is supposed to 
dwell in the eyes, by shutting them, therefore, one does 
not feel any shame ; and thus he can play the role of a 
tender-hearted and liberal man and also make the excuse 
that he does not wish to encourage children.) 

48. Hunger to be appeased before devotion. 

Char kawar hhltar, tab deota pltar. 

First eat (lit. put inside you) four mouthfuls, then think 
of deities and ancestral heroes. 

This is hit at those who think of their belly more than 
the Tiousehold gods. 

^^T; " Kaurir" or ^X^ "Imur" is a mouthful or mor- 
sel. ^^fTT iftfTT " I>eota 2ntar " are deities and deceased 
ancestors who are worshipped after their death. The 
household gods. 

49. " Enemy to food." 

Kdm ke na kaj ke, dusman anaj ke. 

Fit for no work, but an enemy to grain {i.e. destroys 

One who lives to eat ; cast at a lazy fellow who fills 
his belly and does no work. 


50. The young of a cuckoo will after all be a cuckoo. 

MO ^f;^ i ws(m ^tT^ frff -^m W^ wr^ 

KoiU ke bachwa koili hoihen kaua muhen clihdy. 
The young of the cuckoo will (after all) be a cuckoo. 


and cause the crow (its foster-mother) grief and dis- 

?T%^ ^T^ " Muhen chhdy " lit. is to put ashes on the face. 
Besmearing one's face with ashes or dust is a token of 
sorrow and penitence. " Covering of the head with ashes 
has been long a common sign of mourning among Eastern 
nations, indicative of the greatest distress and humiliation." 
E.E. "Birds of a feather flock together." "Like will 
produce like." 

51. A snake bites its charmer. 

vita samp sapaheriye hate. 

When a snake turns he bites the snake-charmer (its 
keeper), i.e. " stings the bosom that warmed it." 

Said of "ingratitude" (or ^^^T "tilta" may be ren- 
dered " on the contrary," i.e. contrary to what it ought to 
do, which would give the same idea of "ingratitude"). 

52. A viper is never grateful. 

Samp ke dudh piyam tahahun hlkhe ugali. 

The snake even if fed (all its life) on milk will always 
when it bites give out venom. Ugali is to vomit, " to 
spit out." 

E.E. " The leopard cannot change his spots." 

53. Like a horse which grumblingly neighs when given 

GMu det ghor nariyay. 
"When given ghi the horse grumblingly neighs ! 
Said of one, who, instead of being grateful for favours, 


scorns them like a horse that is not thankful for being fed 
on a dainty like glii (clarified butter). 


54. Poor attainments taunted. 

Kodo de ke parhala hai ? 

Have you paid Iwdo for your education ? 

Wt^ " Kodo " (Paspalum frumentaceum) is one of the 
small millets. It is very cheap, and the usual food of the 
poorest classes ; hence despised by the well-to-do. The 
idea is that if his education has been purchased at so cheap 
a price, it cannot be worth much. Said to quiz one of his 


55. An improvident man overtaken by the flood. 

Siraki ek' delanhi tdni 
Talii her men del pani 
Siraki uthdwe ka rahal na hera 
Agu ndnth na pdchhu pagaha. 
He pitched his hovel, and it began to rain, nor could he 
get an opportunity for striking it ; he was (like an ass) 
without nose-string or tether. 

■f%T;=fi\ " Siraki " is a hut or tent made of reeds of that 
name (Grierson). 

The meaning of this proverb comes out better with the 



following variation : instead of " agu ndhth na pdohhu 
pagaha " read " na dgu ndo na pachhu bera," which is the 
form sometimes used. 

" He pitched his hovel, when down came the flood ; he 
had no time to strike it, nor had he a boat or a raft to 
save himself." Said of course to ridicule those who are 
so improvident as to make no provision for the future and 
suffer in consequence. %?.T " Bera " is a raft usually 
made by joining plantain trees. 

Inability to appreciate worth, merit. (Pearls before swine.) 

56. Can a low caste appreciate bdra ? 

M§ TTT WF% ^-^T ^ ^^T^ 

Rdr jdne bdra ke saicdd. 

"What do the vulgar (low caste) know of the taste of 

the hdra ? "WVK^ " Bdra " are cakes of urid pulse fried in 

ghi or oil, and considered a great delicacy among the 

respectable people. E.E. " Casting pearls before swine." 

57. Can a monkey appreciate ginger ? 

Bdnar jdne ddi ke saicdd ? 
What does the monkey know of the taste of the ginger ? 
(A variation of Proverb 66.) 

58. The hubble-bubble in the hands of a monkey. 

Bdnar ke hdth men nariyar ? 
The hubble-bubble in the hands of a monkey ! 
»jf^iSJ-^ " Nariyar " is cocoanut — hence hubble-bubble 
made of the cocoanut shell. 

A man who does not know the use of a thing, which he 


has probably come by accidentally, is sure to spoil it, just 
as a monkey would a nariyar, which he could not ap- 

59. Music hath no charms for a buffalo. 

Bhains he age ten hajdwe, haithi hhains pdyurdy 
(ya hhaihsi pdguldwe) . 
(He) plays the flute before the buffalo, but the buffalo 
sits (unconcernedly) and ruminates ! 

Perfectly indifferent to the charms of music (expresses 
want of appreciation). Pdgurdy chews the cud. 

%•! "^en "— the correct word is ^TJT " Benu.'l which 
means bamboo ; hence all musical instruments made out 
of it, such as ■^TH'^ bdmuri, etc., derive their names. 

60. Useless to adorn before a blind husband. 

Ka par karon singdr, purukh mor dndhar. 
What is the use of adorning myself, my husband is 
blind ? ^T ^^T "Kapar," lit. " on what." This is a peculiar 
idiom among the common people, meaning " on what 
strength or hope," " relying on what strength." 

61. To the blind day and night are the same. 
%°i (=)) ^if^TT ^T %% ^1 TTH.^'Tt^ 

{■^) % ^^ 511 1^ % ^^T i ^ ^^ 

(1) Andhar ka lekhe din rdt barobar. 

(2) Je diye na dekhi se diya le kd dekhi. 

(1) To a blind man day and night are alike. (2) The 
other proverb is a play on the words ?V% diye, " even the 


light," and ^t^ dekhi, " to see." He who cannot see the 
light itself, what can he see with the light ? 

The well-known Urdu proverb ^?IT TT «ft^T dirja na dlya 
IS a play on the word dlya, and has two meanings : (1) You 
have not given me a light. (2) Your giving is the same 
as not giving, i.e. you have given under such conditions 
(perhaps so late), that it amounts to not giving ; the gift 
has no value. Also said when anything is given nominally, 
with the object of being taken away. 

62. Worth unappreciated. 

Jahdh hujh na bardi tahdn se hJidg chal re bhdi. 
Brother ! let us flee from a place where there is no 
appreciation of worth. ^^ »IT ^tI^ Bujh na bardi, lit. 
neither understanding nor honour or respect (paid to the 

63. Merit not recognized (illustrated by an allegory). 

§^ ^^^5 lift ^I^ ^TWI 

Andherpur nagari kubuddhi rdja 
Take ser bhdji take ser khdja. 

The country is one of unreason ; the ruler is Folly. 
Both »n^ bhdji and ^3IT khdja are sold at the same 
price {lit. at a Z^ taka a seer). 

^^TqT " Andherpur " is an allegorical name (from 
^^^ andher, unjust, unreasonable, senseless, and vi\ pur, 
city) for a country where there is no sense of justice ; 
and ^^^ " kubuddhi " (from ^ ku, bad, and ^^ buddhi, 
sense) for one wanting in sense. 

"m^ Bhdji or sag is a very common herb used for 


pottage and found often growing wild, and of little or no 
value: whereas TgTWT khaja is an expensive sweetmeat 
made of flour, ghi, milk and sugar. 

The meaning is that in such a country as the above no 
distinction is made between the good and the bad, the 
deserving and the undeserving, the worthy and the un- 
worthy. Another proverb of similar import is No. 64. 

64. Making no distinction. 

Sab dhdn haise paseri. 

To him every kind of paddy is the same {lit. worth 22 
paseries per rupee). 

There are of course different classes of tTTf dhan or 
paddy, and like most things the price varies with the 
quality. When this is not recognized and all are treated 
alike, no distinction being made according to merit, this 
saying is used. 


65. Enquiring who is the hero after the whole tale is 

Sara Raindyan kah gaye, 8ita kis kijoy ? 

After the whole Ramayan has been repeated, (he en- 
quires) whose wife is Sita ? 

XJJJ "Ram," the husband of ;a\flT "Sita," is the 
principal character in the '^TOT'^f " Ramayan." " The 
whole plot of this great Epic poem, the ' Ramayan,' rests 
on a rash promise given by Dasaratha, king of Ayodhya, 
to his second wife, Kaikeyi, that he would grant her two 
boons. In order to secure the succession to her own son, 


she asks that Rama, the eldest son of the king's other 
wife, should be banished for fourteen years. Much as the 
king repents his promise, Eama, his eldest son, would on 
no account let his father break his word, and he leaves his 
kingdom to wander in the forest with his wife Sita and 
his brother Lakshmana. After the father's death, the son 
of the second wife declines the throne, and comes to Rama 
to persuade him to accept the kingdom of his father. But 
all in vain. Rama will keep his exile for fourteen years, 
and never disown his father's promise." (Professor Max 

A man who had sat through the play of Hamlet, and at 
the end of it asked, " Who was Hamlet ? " would be a 
parallel instance. Used towards one who discovers a joke 
long after it is made. 

Love of Fake Display, Empty Boast, Foppishness, etc. 

66. Affecting high-sounding names. 

%% saM % ^J! ^TR xnrj ^rf ^ TW Xj-jfrXT "IT 

Bap ke nam sag pat put ke nam parora khan. 

The father's name is " Sag pat" ; the son (assumes) the 
name of " Ghendhari JDds" or "Parora Earn" or "Parora 

^3r 'TTfl " S&g pS-t," lit. leaves and trash, i.e. something 
small and insignificant or trivial. il'^T'O " Ghendhari " 
and XfTtXT " Parora " are superior kinds of vegetables 
much liked by the people. Hence " Ghendhari Bas " and 
" Parora Bam " mean simply high-sounding names. 

If the father is a common low-caste man, and the son 
assumes a high-sounding name of a higher caste, this 
saying is cast at him. 

Usually said of an upstart. It is a common thing to 


find low-caste people when they rise in the world assume 
the title of the higher classes, e.g. a Pasi or a Baniya 
styles himself " Lai," and a " Dom " or " Bosadh " adds 
" Ram " after his name. 

67. Foppishness in dress. 

£dp put bisani terah gaj lie ijdr. 

Father and son (pose) as stylish people ; they wear 
(luxurious) paijamas made up of 13 yards of cloth. 

t^^»f^ Bisani means here people who make an outward 
show of cleanliness. Also a debauchee — a man of the town, 
or man of fashion who overdresses himself from foppishness. 
(The meaning of this proverb is not clear. If bisani be 
taken for an ascetic, the sense is clear. They call them- 
selves ascetics, but they wear clothes usually worn by 
fashionable men of the world.) 

68. One who asks for alms should not enquire after the 
rent-roll of a village. 

Mangin bhlkh puchhln gdon kejamdn. 

He sues for alms, yet asks the rent-roll of the village. 

He is really a " make believe," who, while he has not 
a penny in his pocket, pretends to ascertain the rent 
of a village, in order to give the impression that he 
wishes to purchase it. 

69. Dying to eat pan. 

(^T) '^v\ ^iT TT Wtjti ^fi f^xftT^ ^% int 

Bap ddda na khdil pan ddnt niporale gel pran 
{ya) Bdp janam na khailen pan ddnt niporale gaile prdn. 


His ancestors {lit. father and grandfather) have never 
tasted pan (betel-leaf), yet for want of it he is dying (lit. 
showing his teeth in his eagerness to get it). 

Said in sarcasm of one who apes gentility or hankers 
after anything (e.g. comfort or luxury) which his ancestors 
have never had. XlTT "Pan," betel, is always eaten by the 
fashionable and well-to-do, rarely by the poor, to whom it 
is a luxury. 

70. A vain woman's love for display. 

Saukhln hahuriya chatai ke lahanga. 

The woman is so fond of show, that although she can't 
afford a better dress, she still wears a lahanga made out of 
mat (to gratify her vanity). 

^ITT " Lahanga " is a loose petticoat worn by the 
women of the better class. 

The vain woman, determined to make a show, will wear 
a lahanga at any cost, though it be only one of straw mat ! 
An exaggerated way of ridiculing a woman who cannot 
afford it, but still decks herself, though it be in tatters. 

71. False outward display. 

^■R %Ji t^ ^mw %€i ff?^ ^^ '^'mc %ri 

Nem tem Gopdl aisan, hanri charui chamar aisan. 

The rules he observes outwardly are those of " Gopal," 
while his cooking pots and pans are (dirty and unclean) 
like those of a chamar. 

Said of one who makes an outward show. 

%jl \f{ " Nem tem." ^1T " Nem " is a corruption of 
niyam = rule. ^J{ " tem " is simply a meaningless word 
put in for the sake of rhyme. The expression means 
" outward behaviour," " outward show." 


iftxn^ " Gopal " is a name of the god Krishna. A 
Gopal is a devout hermit who observes cleanliness — who 
keeps his house and everything about him clean and tidy, 
unlike a chanidr or leather-worker, who is the opposite. 

72. Fashionable father and son, with frogs for kettle- 

Bap put hisanln heng ke nagara. 

The father and sou call themselves Bisanin, and they 
have for drums (the croaking of) frogs. 

'f^^^^^ " Bisanin," a debauchee, a fashionable man. 
Said in ridicule of one who affects to make a display with- 
out the means. Every great man is supposed to sport a 
kettle-drum at his gate. A Bisanin, i.e. one who sets him- 
self up for a man of fashion, ought if anything to have a 
better kettle-drum than the ordinary, instead of which he 
has " croaking of frogs." 

73. One who cannot afford it keeping up a dance at his 
gate for display. 

Ghar men kharchina, deiirhi par ndnch. 

He cannot afford to carry on his daily house expenses, 
yet keeps up a dance at his gate (for show). 

Said derisively of one whose expenditure is beyond his 
means ; or one who makes a display when he cannot 
afford it. 

74. Falsely calling himself a Benares man. 

Arsi naj^arsi, bhaiyaji hanarad. 


Acquainted with neither Arabic nor Persian, yet my 
friend calls himself a "Benares man." 

^•TTT^ " Bandrasi," i.e. "one of Benares," is looked 
up to as a highly-polished ma:n with a finish to his educa- 
tion. Said to ridicule one who tries to pass himself off as 
a polished citizen. 

75. The cock after four days' absence returns home a 

'QM '^ t^l ^ ^% ^TIT 'ftT ft ^ ^% 

Chare din ke gaile murga, mor ho Tee aile. 

The cock goes (from home) for four days only, and re- 
turns a peacock ! 

A rustic who goes to town for a short while, and fancies 
on his return that he is a great swell. The following story 
also holds up to ridicule those who on returning to their 
homes after a short absence give themselves airs and pre- 
tend to have forgotten their own patois. 

'^^ 'w^ Jfifi fq^ ^ g^^"" 

A.rah gaye Mogal hoi ay 
Bole Arbi bdni, 
Ab db knhi piya mor muakn 
Khatiya tar rahal pdni. 

My beloved, he went to Arabia and returned quite the 
Mughal; he talked Persian (which nobody understood). 
He died from thirst, calling out t-jl t-jl " Ab, db" 
(water), while all the time the water was under his bed ! 


76. Display in borrowpd plumes. 

Chhawal chhopal ghar pauUh bdndhal pauUn tdti 
Ankar jdmal beta paulin, chuma leun ki chdti. 

Like one who has found a ready furnished house {lit. 
a house thatched and tatti walls secured), he has (without 
trouble) come by another's son ; he is so elated that he 
does not know how to express his affection. 

Aimed at one who makes too much of anything which 
really does not belong to him, or which he has got without 
any trouble or exertion. ^^'Zt " Chdti" is {lit.) " to lick," 
as the lower animals (such as cows) do when showing 
affection for their young ones. 

77. A vain woman thinks of adorning herself only. 

Sagare gdon pardyaljdy ghura bahu kahas je mdng tik dah. 

The whole village is fleeing, but Ghura's wife says 
" Please put the vermilion on my forehead." 

•ZVSfi ^: " Tik dah " or Z^^ ^: " tlka dah " is to put the 
vermilion mark on a woman's forehead over the parting. 
It is considered a necessary part of the toilet of a woman 
whose husband is living (^flf'TT sohdgin or '^f^^ 
ehivdti). A widow (^^T beiva or ^f^i' rdnr) never decks 
herself in that fashion ; indeed, she is never supposed to 
wear ornaments of any kind or adorn her person. Her 
life is one long penance. 

Said of a vain woman who will deck herself at all 


78. A beggar and a beggar at his door. 

^^ wq ?fW fn^ ^x.w(^ ^T^^ 

Ap mli/dn mdngnen, darwaje darwes. 
Himself a beggar, (can he afford to have) one asking for 
alms at his door ? 

^1^%^ "Darwes," a Mahommedan /a/dr. 

79. Love of worthless finery. 

Hath men na gor men takahi lilar men. 

No (ornaments) on her arms or feet ; and yet a two- 
pice trinket [tikulii on her forehead ! 

i.e. She cannot afford ornaments for her arms and feet, 
yet such is her love for finery that she decks herself 
prominently with a worthless fZcJi^ tiJculi worth two 
pice only, fz^i^ " tikiili" is a spangled circular and 
wafer-like ornament gummed on to the forehead. The 
two-pice ones are bigger and more gaudy, about the size 
of a shilling piece. 

Z^l^ " Takahi " is one worth a taka or two Grorakhpuri 

80. When out he wears long dhotis, at home he eats 
masiir bread. 

CO ^71 t: ^j^ ^'^ vtfft ^T Tift % ftrt 

Bahar Iambi Iambi dhoti ghare masuri ke roti. 

When out he wears long dhotis, at home he has nothing 
better to eat than masiir bread. 

^(ft "Dhoti" is a cloth worn round the waist and 
between the legs. Long dhotis are worn only by the 
well-to-do and fashionable. 

?IHXV "Masuri" or Trar " Masur" (Ervum hirsutum. 


or Cicer lens) is one of the common pulses which furnishes 
the \?ell-kuown dall of that name. Bread made out of the 
flour of this pulse is commonly eaten by the poorest, and 
hence despised by the well-to-do. 

Said of one who affects to make a yain display when he 
really cannot afford it. 

81. Tall talk outside and Kodo porridge at home. 
cc| ^TIT ^n^ ^J^ ^rr 'qx ^^t % WrT 

Bahar Iambi Iambi bat ghare kodai he hliat. 

Abroad he is full of big talk : at home his food is 
porridge of kodai ! 

^^t " Kodai," or ift^ " Kodo," *lTfT bhat is porridge 
made of kodo, a millet {Paspalum fnimentaceinn) . It 
makes a coarse kind of porridge which is only used by the 
poor as food. 

82. Boasting of three-seer anklets. 

Bahar pudwai tin ser ke neura, ghare sup na daura. 

Outside she boasts of possessing three-seer anklets : 
at home she has not even the very necessary articles for 
cleaning and keeping rice. 

■q'^^ " Pudwai " is to boast, to talk big (Feminine 
colloquialism in Saran and Shahabad). 

^^■^7 " Neura " are heavy anklets worn as ornaments 
by the lower classes. They are sold by the weight and 
serve as ornaments as well as provision for a rainy day. 
As in the proverb : 

Sukhi ke singdr bhukhe ke adhdr. 

i.e. Ornaments to those in easy circumstances and means 
of food to those who are hungry. 


^^T " Baiira" is a basket for holding grain. 

5Erxj " Sup " is a basket for sifting grain. 

Every house has a sup and a daum ; she must be poor 
indeed who does not possess these necessary domestic 
articles. An exaggerated way of expressing poverty. 

83. Demanding a torch at another's house. 

c^ ■^i^^^ ^x f ?jwri ^T ^i5(iT ^^ ^^?: %^'^ ^T<ft 

Apna ghare sanjhwat na 
Anka ghare musar aisan bdti. 
In his own house he cannot afford the " evening light" ; 
at another's he pretends to want a torch as thick as a pestle. 
^^^fT " Sanjhimt " is " evening light." There is a 
widely prevailing superstition among natives that it is un- 
lucky to commence the evening without a light. Even 
the poorest light a chirag for a few minutes only. 

84. A blind woman owning three collyrium boxes. 

Anlih haiye nan tin tin go hajrauta. 

She is blind, yet she sports three collyrium boxes ! 

^^tYzT "hajrauta" is an iron box or receptacle for 
keeping lamp-black to be applied to the eyes. It is 
warmed in it too. 

It is a grim and exaggerated way of deriding one who 
loves to make a display, but lacks the means. 

85. The needy keeping company with the great. 

Khaye Ice sag pat, haithe lie amir ka sdth. 
He has barely enough to keep himself alive, yet he 
moves in the company of the great. Applied to a " toad- 
eater," a mean sycophant. 


^TT ^Trf " Sfig pat " are pot herbs, common vegetables 
which the poor eat with their rice. 

86. Eags to wear and carpets to spread. 

Orhe ke lugari bichhdwe ke galaicha. 
For covering he has rags, but spreads on the ground an 
expensive carpet. 

False love of display. 

87. Proud of her chundari sari. 

c^ 'f sft ^z %^ ^Ji^^ '^^z %^ 

Chundari jjhdt gail 
Chamakal met gail. 

When the chundari is torn the shine is gone ! 

^^■^ " Chundari " is a variegated sheet with white 
spots, which are caused by tying small knots in the cloth 
to be dyed, so that the spots tied remain white. It is 
very much prized by the village women. 

The meaning is when the sheet gets torn, the pride is 
gone. She has nothing left then to make a display with. 
Said to ridicule those who boast about empty nothings, or 
things which are evanescent. 

88. A poor fop. 

Gdntid men dam ndh, BanklpiXr ka sair. 

He hasn't a damri in his pocket, yet he would go to 
saunter about in Bankipxir ! 

^f^TI?^ " Banklpur," the chief town of Bihar, and the 
Divisional headquarters where the Commissioner resides. 
One of the derivations given of Banklpur is ^t^ "Bdnke" 
and trx; " Fiir" i.e. "the town of the fop or coxcomb," 


on account of its once being the part of the town (Patna) 
where women of ill-fame resided, and gaily-dressed men 
were in the habit of frequenting it. A similar bazaar in 
Gaya is called Terhi bazar, or the " crooked " bazaar. 

89. The poor man at the prow of the boat. 

Jinika kheica nahln, se agila mangi sawdr. 

He who hasn't money to pay his fare is seated on the 
prow of the boat. ^^J " klieiva " is ferry charge. 

Said to ridicule one who takes up a prominent position 
unbefitting his circumstances, while others who can reallj' 
afford it better, remain in the background. The prow of 
a boat is the most conspicuous seat one can take in a 
country boat, and boatmen worship the bow. 

90. Yain boast. 

^0 t%r% ^ ^t ITT ^1?!^ wrf%^ 

Likhe na parlie, nam Mohamad Fdzil. 
He neither knows how to read nor write, but styles 
himself Mohamad Fazil. 

tRlfsi^ "Fazil" (Persian), learned. 
Aimed at those who affect to be clever. 

91. An upstart affecting gentility. 

e=i ^Ttr -^j ^^ wf^T -^ ^¥5iT^T 

Bap na ddda, tlsar pust sahvjdda. 

Neither his father nor his grandfather (was rich), but 
he behaves as if he,were the son of a rich man ! 

i.e. Can one whose ancestors were poor suddenly acquire 
the ways, tastes, and habits of one born amidst wealth ? 

Cast at an upstart who affects to be habituated to wealth 
from his very infancy. 


92. Affecting familiarity with the great. 

q;^ -Wm JJff^^T Pff 'g^tiT^ iffft t^t W T^^TT 

Bap hJmsahiila put chaupdr 

Nanti haisale mdnh darhdr. 

The father's sitting place was in the chaff house ; the 

son used to sit in the open air (yard in front of the house) 

in front of the verandah ; but the grandson has taken to 

sitting in the great darbar, i.e. he will sit nowhere else. 

Said to ridicule an upstart who affects the intimacy of 
the great, and shuns his former friends and resorts. 

Pot callmg the kettle hlack. Alike faulty or defective. 

93. The sieve blaming the siip. 

Chalanm dusalan sup ke,jinka sahasar chhed. 

The sieve with a thousand holes finds fault with the sup. 
^^■^IT " Chalanm," a sieve. 

^^^ " Sup," a basket, usually in the shape of a horse- 
shoe, used for sifting and cleaning grains of various sizes. 
E.E. " Pot calling the kettle black." 

94. Equally miserable and poor. 

Jaisane Digambar Pdnre, waisane Rasulla 
Unka iia chhan chhapar, unka na chulha. 
Both Digambar Piinre and Rasulla are similarly cir- 
cumstanced ; the former has no roof to his hut, the latter 
no cooking place ; i.e. both are equally destitute, so that 
one has nothina: to boast over the other. 



f^iH^?; Titt " Bigamhar Panre " and T^IT " Rasulla " 
are empty high-sounding names, i.e. names of people who 
are really poor. 

" Bigamhar " lit. means " naked," from f^JI " dig," sides, 
the four points of the compass, and ^JSfT; " ambar," 
dress, i.e. one who has nothing else but the four sides- 
North, South, East, and West — for his coyering or dress ; 
i.e. the destitute. 

Another saying of opposite signification is ^T^«T ^ 
^TT^ T^ " ^^^'^^'^ ^^ Bhado dubar." Is the month of 
Sawan weaker than Bhado ? (both being heavy rainy 
months) . 

95. Both alike defective. 

CM t^% ^^"V ^«^ '^-^ x^-^ qy% n 'gf^T ^1 

Jaisane JJddi ivaisane Bhan 
Inka poncJih na unka kdn. 
As Uddi 80 Bhdn ; one is tailless and the other earless. 
^^ " Uddi" and ^TTT "Bhdn" are the names (after 
the sun and the moon) of a pair of oxen that are yoke- 

96. Blind to one's own faults. 

Q§ ^T7T t^T lift t^ ^^^ ^^ T^WIT^ fW^ 

Apan tetar ndnhi dekhe 
Anke pkuli nihdrat phire. 
He does not see the speck in his own eye, but stares at 
the mote in another. 

i.e. Blind to his own defects and faults while ready to 
point out those in others. 


Presumption, Aitdacity, Clwel;, Arrogance, Over-confidence, 
Impudence, etc, 

97. Where the big have failed, the pigmy has come to 
try his strength. 

Bar bar gela gajaur aila. 

The great have failed, the pigmy {lit. one yard long) 
has (now) come (to try his strength). 

Said of a small man, or one of inferior position and 
abilities, who attempts a work in wbich his superiors have 

98. Where camels are drowned, the donkey ventures to 

Bar har unt dahmjal gela, 
Gadaha puchhe kateh pdnlh. 

Huge camels have been washed away by the current ; 
the donkey (has the " cheek ") to inquire what is the 
depth ! 

Where his betters have utterly failed, it is presumptuous 
for the donkey to ask even the depth of the stream with 
an intent to ford it. 

99. Falsely claiming kinship. 

(1) Chlnhon najdnori main dullah hi ehachi. 

(2) Manrwa men koi hat na puchhe kohabar diilaha ki 




(1) Though unknown, she calls herself the (paternal) 
aunt of the bridegroom, i.e. claims kindredship. 

The paternal uncle's wife of a bridegroom is an es- 
pecially privileged individual in the marriage feast among 
the people ; she lords it over all. Thus it comes to be 
applied when one who, being a mere casual acquaintance, 
claims the familiarity of kinship and its rights. 

(2) Nobody even speaks to her in the Manriva (where 
all bave ingress), but she claims the treatment of the bride- 
groom's aunt in the Kohahar (where only the near relatives 
of the bride and bridegroom are allowed). 

100. While the superior spirits are weeping from hunger, 
Mua has the " cheek " to ask for cakes. 

«ioo ^1. w^ JifT ^^T fiT ftt"" TW TrfJT ixm 

Bar bar bhut kadam tar rowen, 
Mm mange piia. 

The superior ghosts are crying (weeping) under the 
kadam (tree), MUa (has the "cheek") to ask iov pica. The 
gil^TI "kadam" tree, and the »?\jl " nlm" tree, etc., are the 
favourite resorts of evil spirits, as the Tftn^ " ifipal" ; 
the %^ " hel" and the ^^ " bar " are of the good. 

JTW "Mua." Among the host of evil spirits and 
deities worshipped by the people some are of very inferior 
rank, and almost incapable of doing any harm. Mua is 
one of them ; low down in the scale, and invoked only to 
frighten children (chiefly in South Bihar). 

•q'^ Pua is wheat and rice flour and molasses mixed 
and cooked in ghi or oil. It is considered a delicacy, and 
is used in pujas or other festive occasions. 

(Used as a satire on presumption in asking for anything 
which his betters would not dare to.) 


101. Breeze of the fan pitted against the hurricane. 

Andhi ke age hena ke hatas. 

Before a gale the breeze from a fan has no effect ! 

i.e. when a weak man presumes to oppose an immensely 
powerful one, the light breeze from the fan may meta- 
phorically be contrasted with the hurricane to mark the 
disproportionateness of the opposing force put forth. 

102. The goat of a,jolaha, and addicted to butting ! 

Jolaha ke chher markhahi. 

The goat of a jolaha, and addicted to viciousness ! 

In the first place a goat is harmless and is not usually 
addicted to butting ; and then the goat of a ^«j)^| jolaha 
(the proverbial fool) ought to be particularly quiet and 

103. Impudence in a young girl. 

Dekhale chhaunri samdhin. 

Yesterday a (mere) girl, and to-day a " samdhin." 

^Wf^'ST " Samdhin " is the mother of the son-in-law or 

The father of the bride and the father of the bridegroom 
call each other ^flV^ " satndhi." Their wives call each 
other ^TTf^l "samdhin" (Grierson). 

Said to snub ''cheek" or "impudence" in a young 
person (also to express surprise at the sudden growth of 
a girl). 

Similarly the saying efiT^ Wf'i'^ W% %'3 Kdlhe haniyan 


aje seth. " Yesterday a petty shopkeeper and to-day a 

104. Can the dance get on without Gango ? 

(1) Be Gango kejhumar [ya) Bina jolahen Id. 

(1) Can the danee {jhumar, see proverb 126) take place 
without Gango ? (2) Can the id take place without 
weavers ? 

^jft "Gango" is a fictitious female name. 

Both these saj'ings are used in a good-humoured way 
when one is playfully said to be indispensable to an occasion. 

105. Cricket on a bundle. 

Uchrung charhlan hakucha 
Kahlan ke sab hamre dhan. 
The cricket mounted on a bundle says, "I am the owner 
of this wealth." 

A small-minded man suddenly raised to power gives him- 
self unjustifiable airs, and considers he has more authority 
than he really possesses. 

106. Making free with another's property. 

Ankar mad ankar mahua 
Nanche clior lojdwe sahua. 
Another's wine and another's mahua ; the wine-seller 
plays to the dancing of the thief. 

Ti:gnn "Mahua" is the flower of the mahua tree {Ba 
latifolia) used for distilling country spirits. 


The idea is that the thief steals the mahiia and makes 
it over to the wine-seller, and both enjoy themselves at 
another's expense (To dance to the playing of the wine- 
seller, who pulls the string, is comically suggestive). 

107. The barber's wife's lament. 

«^0^ ^T5I ft TT^ fftTT f^'ff llfr^ ^ ^T^ fir TT^ 

Raj ho raj, tora bindn nagaria he munri, ho raj ! 

Without you, my lord, how will the town get shaved ? 

The barber's widow, in bewailing her husband, praises 
him inordinately. 

Said to ridicule one who considers some one else indis- 
pensable, as the barber's wife thought when her husband 
was dead that there was no one left to shave the towns- 
people ! 

108. Can the sea-gull support the falling skies with its 
tiny feet ? 

lox: fszfi ^ t^% ^T^T ^T*ft 
Titahi ka tekale bddar thamhi ? 
Would the sea-gull support the sky (with her feet) in 
case it fell ? 

There is a common story about the sea-gull, that it goes 
to sleep at night on its back with its feet held upwards, in 
order to hold the sky in case it comes down. 

Applied when ridiculously feeble efforts are made to 
effect great results. 

109. He does not know the charm for a scorpion, yet 
ventures to put his hand in a snake's hole. 

Blchhi Ice mantar nanjaum, 
Samp he hil men hath dalin ? 


He is unacquainted with the charm for scorpions (i.e. 
for curing scorpion sting), yet is foolhardy enough to put 
his hand into a snake's hole. 

i.e. He has not the ability to do an easy thing, and yet 
has the " cheek " to try his hand at something far more 

It is easier to cure scorpion sting than snake bite. The 
belief is universally prevalent in Bihar that snake bites 
and scorpion stings can be cured by spells and charms, if 
only the patient be subjected to them in proper time. 
Marvellous instances of cure (even after life was extinct) 
are related in every village, and one or two oj'hds (charmers 
or wizards) are always to be found in a village, who are 
supposed to possess the secret charm. The oj'hds are also 
employed in exorcising evil spirits, and are believed in by 
the women of even well-to-do and educated men. Faith 
in the efficacy of charms of every kind is universal among 
the peasantry. Scarcely any malady is too severe to be 
cured by the charmer, and the means adopted are as various 
as the diseases to be cured. 

110. Self-praise is no praise. 

Apanen munh miydh mitthu. 

Perfect in his own estimation. 

fip£(f fjT^ " Miydn mitthu" is one who is self-satisfied, 
thinks himself a hero. A parrot is also familiarly called 

E.E. " Self-praise is no praise." 

111. Arrogating superiority over one's teacher. 

°^'^'^ ?^ 5^ Tf% ^^T ^^ it ^% 

Guru gure rahale, chela chlni ho gaile. 


The teacher has remained the same coarse sugar (as 
before), but his pupil pretends to have become clean sugar. 
This is a play on the words 3J^ " guru " (teacher) and "Jp^ 
" gur" (the coarse brown country sugar). 

Cast at those who affect superiority over their betters. 

112. Presumption of the inexperienced. 

Sdtmn jamle siyar hhado ail bdrh ; 
Bap re hap aisan hark kabahu nan dehhli. 
The jackal pup was born in the month of Sclwan 
(August), there was a flood in Hhado (September), he 
has the impertinence to say, " G-ood gracious ! I never saw 
such, a high flood." 

113. The young crow wiser than its mother. 

Kaua la kabelwe gdr/i. 

The young crow is more cunning than its mother ! 

A crow was advising its young to fly away for safety's 
sake, as soon as it saw any one stoop to pick up a stone, so 
as not to give him a chance of pelting it. " But," said 
the precocious young bird, " supposing the man comes 
provided with a stone in his hand." 

The old bird stopped giving further advice to one 
possessed of so much foresight. 

114. Born but yesterday and to-day a giant. 

Kab jamale kab rdkas bhaile ? 
Born but yesterday and to-day a giant ! 
{Lit. When was he born ? When did be turn a demon ?) 


115. An old goat quizzing the wolf. 

Burh hakari hunrdr se thatha. 

The old goat has the impudence to quiz the wolf ! 

Said when weakness audaciously pits itself against 
strength, and runs the risk of being made to pay the 
penalty. (An old goat is presumably more feeble than 
a young goat, and therefore he ought not to defy a wolf.) 


116. Recklessness of those who have nothing to lose. 

<\'\% f T3T TT% tjrr^ m 

Langta nache, phdte ka ? 

If the naked dance, what can they tear ? 

Applied to those who, having nothing to lose, are very 
ready to venture all. The following sayings are used to 
laugh at the readiness of people who have nothing to carry, 
to start on a journey at a moment's notice. ^^ ^^T, 
xfti? ^Rffl^ ^^ " Sel hanra, ponchh algaule hani," the 
tailless bullock on being told to get ready says, " I have 
already lifted my tail ! " {i.e. preparatory to entering the 
water). ^^[^ ^\^ ^ ^»ft1z^ %% " Naga hhai kunch 
langautiyo naikhe." Similarly, the naked (who has nothing) 
is asked to get ready to start on a journey, says he has 
not even the small rag round his loins, i.e. he has nothino' 
to get ready. 

117. One who has nothing to lose can be reckless to any 

«i<^^ ^»raT lt^ <fV*I Wtl %fTW ^T3T<T ^^ f i7ifT;w 

Langta nanche, tin tin beria 
Angut, sdnjh, dupaharia. 


The shameless can afford to caper three times a day: 
morning, noon, and night. 

i.e. those who have nothing to lose can always afford to 
be reckless. It is only those who have their reputation 
at stake that have to be careful of what they do. - 

" To dance " is here synonymous with " playing pranks," 
"being up to mischief." Dancing among themselves is 
not considered a respectable amusement by the natives. 
Those who take to it as a profession are looked down upon 
by society. " To dance " is therefore synonymous (in its 
opprobrious use) with " To behave vulgarly." 

118. Reckless waste of another's property. 

Karwa ko/idr he, ghlw jajamdn ke ; dharkaide jdh. 

It is the pot of the potter and the ghi of the follower ; 
go on pouring it. 

This speecb is supposed to be made by the Brahman who 
has come to officiate at the jofy'a and is performing the 
oblation ceremony {^\^ "Horn") of pouring ghi into the 
fire. A very small quantity of it is necessary to be poured. 
A Brahman wh.o is reckless will pour and waste a lot. 

Said when one is reckless with another's property. 
gj5i3rr»T " Jajmdn " is a customer, a follower of a Brahman. 
It is the Sanskrit ■?I5lin'T; yajamdnah. 

Selfishness, Heartlessness, Obstinacy, Belf-imlled, hating one's 
own tvay, etc. 

119. What is play to one is death to another. 

Chiraln kefiw jay, larikan ke khelaundn. 
It is play to the children, but death, to the bird. 


120. Dying man asked to sing. 

Maraljain, ras gain. 

Can a dying man sing love songs ? 

Lit. I am dying, and I am to sing love songs ! 

■^^ "Ras." The love stories of the Hindu god Krishna 
are related and acted in " Ras Llla." 

Supposed to be said by one who is unhappy or sick, but 
is expected to be jolly notwithstanding. 

121. A self-willed man. 

Man mana, gharjdna. 

He goes home when he likes {lit. to go home when the 
mind likes or wishes). 

Said in reference to a self-willed man, or one who pays 
no heed to the wishes or advice of others. 

122. Requiring full weight when the shopkeeper does 
not come to terms. 

Baniydn de na : pUra taul. 

The shopkeeper does not agree to sell ; yet he says, give 
full weight. 

i.e. The seller does not agree to give at the terms offered, 
yet he tells him to weigh out correctly. 

Said sarcastically when any one takes for granted, or 
neglects the most essential thing in any transaction which 
requires to be settled first, before any steps can be taken. 
Cast at one who takes an entirely selfish view of 


123. The goat has paid with its life, j'et its meat is not 

Klicisi he jitc cjail khaicaiya ka saivdde na mihtl. 

The (poor) goat has lost its life ; and still the gourmand 
declares that the meat is not to his taste! i.e. the poor 
goat has done its very best, it can do no more. 

Said when one has done his very utmost and still gets 
blamed, or fails to give satisfaction. Cast at one who is 
difficult to please. 

(The final " e " in ^^T^ " scmdde" is to emphasize it.) 

124. The poor dog is dying, but the Raja thinks of his 
sport only. 

=1^8 fiTwt ^ ^^ w^ T^m^ % ■Rr^T 'TT'ra ^^ 

PilU kejhujdy, raja ke sikdre hlidgaljdy. 

The bitch is dying, but the Raja (declares that his) 
game is running away. 

i.e. The sufferings of the poor bitch do not cause any 
concern to the Eaja; all he thinks of is his enjoyments, lest 
the game may escape. 

Aimed at those who are so inconsiderate and selfish as 
to think of their own pleasuie and purpose only. 

125. The Rani has thoughts of the Raja only. 

Ano ke dn chita, rdni ke rnjaice ke chita. 

Others have other thoughts, but the Rani has thoughts 
of the Raja only. 

Applied to one who is intent on his own thoughts only, 
regardless of others. 


Vain or impotent desire, vain expectations, useless labour. 

126. Vain desire of the handless woman to dance. 

Sab mil kejhumar pare, thidhi kahe hamahuu . 

(When) all are dancing the jlmmar the handless woman 
says, "I also (shall join)." 

'^WK. " Jhumar" is an aboriginal dance in which the 
women go round in a circle with, joined hands. A woman 
with a stump is evidently unfit to take part in it. Her 
wish, therefore, to join is on the face of it absurd. 

Said of one who has a wish to do anything, but lacks the 
essential power. ' 

127. Wife vainl}'- waiting for the collyrium to put in 
her eyes. 

Kdjar gel bihar, bahuriya anhh niderale hath. 

The Kdjar has gone to Bihar, while the wife (woman) 
has wide spread her eyelids to (receive it). 

^j5|'^ " Kdjar " is collyrium or lamp-black applied to 
the edges of the lower eyelids. 

It places in a comical and ridiculous light the situation 
of one who has let an opportunity slip, and is still fondly 
waiting for it, by depicting humorously the not very 
comely attitude of the vain wife, who, in the act of apply- 
ing the lamp-black to her eyes, has wide-spread them, 
while the collyrium is nowhere at hand. 

Applied to ridicule one who is waiting for the past or 
any lucky turn of events, instead of exerting. 


128. Fruitless labour in spinning. 

Mar mm' hdtin malhejay. 

With the greatest hardship I spin cotton, but all (my 
earnings) are wasted in mending the spinning machine 
[lit. the driving band of the spinning machine). 

Jn^ "Mai" or ^TTrf " Malh" is the driving band 
" which goes twice round the driving wheel and the 
spinning axle. It is rubbed with resin, and is then 
blackened with charcoal" (Grierson). 

It is a constant source of annoyance to the woman who 
spins, because it frequently breaks. 

A quaint way of expressing that all earnings are lost in 
the cost of production, in repairing the machinery. 

129. The earless woman wishing for earrings. 

Nak na kan 
Bali ke armdn. 

She has neither nose nor ears, yet hankers for ear and 
nose rings. 

130. An old cow's desire to take part in the Sohrai 

Burh gay, solirdi ke sadh. 

An old cow with a longing to take part in the sohrai ! 

^ITtI^ " Sohrai " is a Hindu festival held on the 15th 
of Kartik (October-November) of each year, chiefly by the 
godlas (milkmen). Its object is to make the cow dance, 


hence also called iff^ " Gomrthu," ift^^T " Gokrlra," 
or ^^"^ " Gaidar." Yarious means are adopted to 
induce the cow to dance, really to run. A young 
pig is made to squeal near a calf, at which the mother, 
followed by all the herd, attack the pig and gore it to 
death. Sometimes this cruel sport is humanely varied by 
dragging a large gourd, or a black blanket, at which the 
cows run to butt. Applied to one who is too old or 
incapable to take part in a pleasure, yet has a longing 
for it. 

Compare also the following saying : 

Burhi gay sahijani charali 
Mdnke lagali dhahi ke parali. 

i e. The old cow having grazed on the horse-radish tree, 
began to gambol, but dropped down forthwith. 
Another proverb of similar application is 

(1) Burhiya sardhe ghhv khichri ! 
A variation of it is 

(2) Buriven smvadal ghlu khichri. 

The former (1) means "The old woman is too fond of 
ghi and khichri" {lit. praises it, takes to it kindly). 

The variation of (2) is " The old man has found the ghi 
and khichri to his taste." 

f<sl-^\^ "Khichri" is a very favourite dish with the 
natives of all classes. It is made of a mixture of rice and 


dall (cooked together). The poor people can seldom afford 
to use ghi in it, which adds greatly to its flavour. The 
well-to-do always mix ghi with their khichri. The idea is 
that it becomes the old not to show excessive fondness for 
such delicacies. 

Said sarcastically when any one shows an overfondness 
for a thing which does not become him. To ridicule un- 
beseeming taste. 



Proverbs relating to Worldly "Wisdom and Maxims, 
Expediency and Cunning, and Warnings and 

131. A circuitous route. 

Gaya ke rah Kormathu ? 

The (straight) road to Gaya (is not through) Kormathu. 

^■^?{^ "Kormathu" is a village near Gaya, but not 
on any of the high roads leading to it. Any man who 
adopts a circuitous route or style instead of the straight 
one might be asked sarcastically, " Are you going to Gaya 
through Kormathu ? " 

132. Absurd sight or situation. 

Ek hath ke kakri nao hath ke b'lya. 

The kakri is one cubit long ; its seed nine cubits ! 

The seed contained inside the '^cfi^ "kakri" (a longish 
cucumber) ought in all reasonableness to be much smaller 
than the kakri itself. Said to mark disproportionateness, 
ludicrous eflfect, or absurdity of a sight ; also to ridicule 
the presumption of a small or insignificant man who 
attempts to do anything much beyond his power. 


133. A new washerwoman applies soap to rags even. 

Nai dhohinii/dii aweli 
Chirkutice sdhun Idiceli. 
A new washerwoman applies soap to rags even {lit. when 
a new washerwoman comes she applies soap in washing 
rags even, which are seldom washed with soap). 
E.E. "A new broom sweeps clean." 

134. The barber's wife with a wooden nail cutter. 

Nai ndun, hdns ke narahani. 

A new (female) barber ; she has a bamboo nail cutter ! 

•t^^»n "Narahani," a chisel-like instrument made of 
iron for cutting iinger-nails. It is never made of bamboo. 

Said of a " new broom," who wants to effect im- 

135. A chip of the old block. 

Bdp he put, sipdhi ke ghora ; nan to, thoram thora. 
A chip of the old block ; like the steed of the trooper, 
if he is not up to very much still he is above the average. 

136. All that glitters is not gold. 

TJpar ke chhdm chhUmen mat ihulah, tare lugariye ha. 

Do not be carried away by the outward specious appear- 
ance ; below (the outward finery) are rags (as under- 

WT1 WT " Chhdm cl^hum," specious appearance. 


137. A good man needs speaking once. 

Bhala ghova ke ek chabuk 

Bhala manukh ke ek bat. 
The good {i.e. spirited) horse needs but once to be 
whipped, just as the good man needs but once to be 
spoken to. 

138. All in the same plight. 

S^^ %^T ^^ ^tff TT^ ^JT^r '^^% ^1T IT^ 

Kekar kekar lihln ndon 
Kamra orhle sagare gaon. 

Whom am I to name ? All the villages are similarly 
circumstanced ! [lit. all are alike covered with blankets, 
i.e. poor, in the same boat). 

Said e.g. when all in a place are more or less implicated 
or blameworthy (or almost ail are poor), and are trying 
to sham. The poorer class only use the coimtry made 
blankets as a covering, and consequently it is taken as a 
sign of poverty by the people. The better classes always, 
when they can afford it, use shawls, and people not so 
well off use "^^T^ "Dohars " (thick sheets), ^fTiS "lehafs" 
(light quilts), TiRn " Dhusas" (woollen sheets), etc. 

A story is told of a former Tikari Raja, illustrating that 
blankets are considered as fit covering for the poor only. 

One day the Maharaj was belated in his evening walk, 
and had to take " a short cut " through a village of Ahirs, 
who are proverbially thick-headed. He wore a highly 
valuable black shawl, which, to those who had never seen 
a shawl, seemed like a black blanket. He had scarcely 
passed the village when an old Ahir ran up to him and, 


with tears in his eyes, supplicated the chief to accept all 
he had, namely, the few rupees he had gathered together. 
Still weeping, he added that he could not bear to see the 
old Maharaj in a common blanket ; that he had heard a 
great deal about his being in debt and his income having 
been much reduced of late, but until now he had no idea 
that the Maharaj had come down to such straits as to 
cover a blanket. Saying this, he earnestly besought the 
Maharaj to accept his offering, and suggested that he 
should make immediate use of it, in making for himself 
a few red leliafs and dollars, and not cause pain to his 
loyal subjects by going about in that style. The Maharaj 
very gracefully accepted the gift, and asked the Ahir to 
accompany him to his palace. It is pleasing to know (so 
the story says) that the Maharaj rewarded the Ahir's 
loyalty by granting him the village in which he had his 
home, and his descendants are now said to be well-to-do 
zemindars in those parts. 

139. An old parrot never gets tame. 

Burh suga pos manela ? 
Can an old bird (parrot) ever get tame ? 
Said when one advanced in years is ungrateful. 

140. After meals wait awhile. 

Klia ke pasanfi tndr ke sasarin. 

Stretch yourself after )'our meal, but disappear ("slope") 
after beating (any one). 

i.e. Rest after your food, but do not tarry after you have 
thrashed anybody lest he may return it. It is a piece of 
cunning advice. 


xre"^^ " Fasarab " is to spread, to stretcli out. 
^RTX;^ " Sasarah " is to slope, to disappear, to clear out, 
to remove. 

141. A dog is brave at his own door. 

Apandn duari kukuro bariydr. 
A dog is brave at his own door. 

An equivalent saying in Urdu is ^TT ^ ^'fH ^T " Ghar 
ha kuUa slier," "A dog is brave as a lion at his own door ! " 
E.E. "A cock on his own dunghill." 

Adding insult to injury. 

142. Grinding corn on the dead. 

Muala par kodo dare aile. 
He has come to grind corn (kodo) over the dead. 
i.e. over the corpse. 
i.e. to add insult to injury. 

143. The Karaila climbing on the nlm. 

<1 8 ? H^ ^> ^ W ^^^ ^■^ l^T "^^ ^T 

Ek to karaila apane karui, dusare charhali nlm. 

The karaila is itself bitter enough, but it becomes worse 
when it climbs the nlm. 

^i^^T "Karaila" (Momordica charantia), a very bitter 
kind of vegetable of the gourd family. It is a creeping 

'^t^ " Nlm " {Azaderachta indica), a common tree with 
very acrid fruit and juice. 

The idea is that the karaila, which is itself bitter, adds 
to its bitterness by climbing the nlm. 


Said of anything that aggravates an injury. 

E.E. "Adding insult to injury." 

A similar idea is expressed in the sayings : 
(1) TJcR 7ft ?fNf 1^ ^1-f tI (-^T ^q^ -^t) Tf^ '^T'f ^^ 
Ek to huyan khud baurdhe (or, apne rahe) closure khdin bhang. 

The Jrt^ tJilyan is really mad, and adds to it by drinking 
^TTT bhang. 

(2) tl^ ffr iFRT^T 5T^ *I^ f;w ^^1 ^K 

Ek to nayana mad bhare, duje anjan sdr 
Ai bauri koi det hai matwdre hathiydr. 
Your eyes are full of intoxicating wine. Tou increase 
their power by applying antimony. Stupid ! does any one 
ever place a weapon in the hands of a drunkard ? 

To say that a fair one's eyes are full of wine is a 
figurative way of expressing that they possess the power 
of intoxicating or captivating others. 

144. A bear, and he with a spade on his shoulders. 

<188 11^ *(T^ f^ ^'^ ^^T 

Ek bhdl dusare kdndh kuddr. 
The bear and he to shoulder a spade ! 
i.e. Makes him ten times more dangerous. 
Said when one who is already inclined to be a bully 
gets power. 

145. Insulting the dead. 

Mare par saw diirra. 
On the dead (or after he is dead) he lays a hundred 
stripes with the whip. 


i.e. Heaping injury on the helpless; on one who cannot 

" Durra," it is said, was a lash made of a long narrow 
bag stuffed with pice, rupees, or gold mohars, according 
to the social position of the man who was to be chastised. 

146. A demon and a torch in his hand. 

Eke rdkas dmare hath men lukwdri. 

A demon and with a burning torch in his hand ! 

4^|ch4j "Rdkas" is a demon who is supposed to emit 
fire from his mouth. 

Said when any one viciously inclined is placed in a 
position which enhances his power of doing mischief. 

147. A bad workman quarrels with his tools. 

Ndche (or chale) najdnln anganwen terh. 
One who cannot dance blames the floor. 
A variation of it is, 

One who cannot walk straight says the compound is 

E.E. A bad workman quarrels with his tools. 

148. A barking dog seldom bites. 

Kariawa Iddar garaje ke dher harase ke haiye nan. 
Black clouds thunder a great deal, but rain little. 
E.E. A barking dog seldom bites. 
A thundering cloud gives little rain. 

149. A black goat has no heart. 

"=18^ ^"m ^^ ^ ^RTTW if 

Kariya khasi ka kdreje nan. 


A black goat has no heart. 

Said of one who has no courage : who cannot be trusted 
or is not equal to an occasion. 

A black goat is supposed to possess mysterious virtue. 
It is a favourite offering to the gods (especially ^'•^ 
BJiairo, and to the goddess efif^ KCtU, etc.), and its bile is 
believed to possess healing properties, e.g. those who suffer 
from night blindness are strongly recommended to apply 
its bile to the eyes and to eat its liver. 

This proverb is ascribed to the following tale : 

Once a tiger, who had grown sick and feeble from age, 
and was unable to hunt owing to failing strength, was 
strongly recommended by his physician to try the liver 
of a black goat. Thereupon the monarch of the forest 
ordered his vazir, the jackal, to get him a black goat. 
The wily " Jack " by many false promises managed to 
inveigle a black goat within reach of his infirm master, 
who took no time in killing it. The cunning jackal, who 
was himself eager to eat the liver, having heard of its 
marvellous powers, suggested to his master a preparatory 
bath before taking the remedy. The tiger approving of 
the suggestion went to have a bath. In the meantime 
"Jack" devoured the liver of the black goat. When the 
tiger came back, he was surprised to find that the goat had 
no liver. Turning to the jackal the tiger asked what was 
the meaning of this. "Sire," exclaimed the "Jack," "I 
thought your majesty was aware that black goats had no 
liver : otherwise how could your servant have deceived a 
black goat into your presence ? " 

150. A ludicrous attempt to frighten. 

qMo -^tim ^^\ i^:f % fiiTrtf 

Poa dekhai, garur Ite derwdln. 


By showing a young snake to the adjutant will you 
(ever) frighten him? 

■JI'^T " Garur" is a large species of crane (Leptoptilos 
argala) ; its exceedingly voracious habits render it valuable 
as a scavenger. It swallows up large snakes. iftW Poa 
is a young snake. It is absurd therefore to think of 
frightening it with a young snake. 

Said when an absurd attempt is made to intimidate any 
one. Another saying of the same import is 

t WT ^tf ^ *r^*jTf|-^ *nir 

Jekara pith par agnrdhat he nagdra laje ; 
8e, ha, sup ha hharbharaute bhdge ? 

" Will one on whose back is played a kettledrum, made 
of several metals, be frightened at the noise made with a 
winnowing basket?" As the camel is said to have re- 
marked to the old woman who was trying to frighten him 
away from grazing her field by using her winnowing 

■^iTT^rl " Agardhat " is said by natives to be a cor- 
ruption of ^SVTH " ashtdhaiu," i.e. or eight metals. A 
drum made of an alloy of many metals makes a great noise. 

151. A rat skin is not sufficient to cover a kettledrum. 

Mum ha chdm se dmndma chhawdla. 

Is it possible to cover a kettledrum with the skin of a 
mouse ? 

The following couplet in Theth Hindi makes use of the 
same proverb to illustrate the impossibility of getting men 
of inferior ability (men of low caste) to fill honourable 


tit ^% ^Ty\ % ^t ^^1 ^ ^fiTT 

»Tft ^»n?n ^Trl ^# ^ iff ^ ^TO 

Kaise chhote naran se sarai haran ko kdm 

Marho damdmajdt kahuii sail cliuhon ko chdm ! 

How can the low do the work of the high, can the 

kettledrum ever be covered with the skin of 100 mice even? 

i.e. even 100 low-caste men can't fulfil the duties of one 

high-caste man : just as impossible it is to cover the 

kettledrum if the skins of 100 mice were pieced together. 

152. A prophet is with honour save in his own country. 

°^\\ iff ^ ^rtw ^T ^I ^5^ ^(^ 

Gdoen ke koreya, log kahe indar jao. 

This is the (common) koreya of the village, and people 
style it the " Indar jao !" 

i.e. It is the common produce that grows in every 
village, commonly called " koreya " by the people, but 
medically it is known by the high-sounding name of 
" Indar Jao." 

X'^T^ ^f^ " Indar Jao," literally, "barley fit for Indar," 
King of the Fairies. 

Applied when something common is dignified with a 
sonorous or euphemistic name. 

A short time ago a medicine was advertised as a recent 
discovery and very much lauded (as all new patent 
medicines are) as a specific for asthma. It was called 
"Kalikarpa." A respectable Hindu gentleman who was 
suffering from this chest malady was advised to send for 
a box of it. He did so. It was not bigger than half the 
size of an ordinary tin of sardines. On his opening the 
box and examining this high-priced specific, great was 
his surprise to find that it was the rind of the common 


dhatura plant {Stramonium), which he knew very well 
before. On this occasion he made use of this proverb. 

153. Among butchers a devout man can never be happy. 

«)M^ ^f^l^lf^^^t fill Tl^ TTT ^T^ ^ Wr ^^t 

Jahdn sag are gdon kasdi 
Tah&h eh Ram Das Ice ka hasdi. 
Where the whole village consists of butchers, how can 
one devout man find it pleasant to live ? 

TTT ^^ Ram, Das is the declared servant of Rama, 
the god ; he who leads a devout life and never touches 
animal food. 

154. Annoying an old man. 

Chala larike, ddda ke hira din. 
Come along, children ! let us go and mock at grandpapa ! 
Said wben people join together to annoy another. 

155. Whatever is in the vessel will come out of the spout. 

Je karica men rahe, se tonti se hahe. 
Whatever is in the pot flows out of the spout ! 
^^^T " Karwa " is a pot with a spout. 
E.E. "Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth 

156. Beneath notice is Bhak Bhaun Puri. 

Kaun gane Bhak Bhaun puri ke. 
Who counts (poor) Bhak Bhaun Puri ? 
*!^ ^fl"*! TTT^ "Bhak Bhaun Puri" is the supposed 
name of one of the sects of ^3IT^ 8anydsi. The Sanydsi 


faqirs are divided into several sects. The following are 
the titles of some of these sects or clans : 

jftT "Gir," qft "Piiri," WT^ " Bharthi," ^R!'!?! 
"Arnya," ^T^ " Ban," xj-^^TT " Farbat," etc., etc. 

Applied when any one owing to his insignificance is of 
no consequence. 

Installation of a Moliant : 

The following is a short account of the ceremony of in- 
stalling a Mohant or abbot as head of the t{Z tnath or abbey. 
The ceremony is called =q-^-^ ^TTTl^ " Chaddar Uraeh," 
lit. "to cover with the sheet." The Mohant of a math, who 
is vowed to celibacy, has usually some %^ chelas or 
disciples attached to him. They are adopted in the 
following ways : they are either made over to him when 
young by their parents to become his chelas, or come of 
their own accord and enlist as his disciples, or are some- 
times purchased by him (as in the case of the Boklabar 
Mohant in Champaran). On being received as disciples, 
their heads are shaved. This forms the initiatory step, 
and is commonly called #5 TST'IT " Mimr Murana," which 
therefore is equivalent to becoming a disciple. When 
the Mohant wants to appoint a successor, he chooses from 
among his disciples the one whom he thinks capable of 
conducting the duties appertaining to the mat. The most 
senior disciple (usually the son of a Brahman or any other 
respectable caste), if capable and otherwise qualified, is 
chosen ; but the Mohant is not bound to appoint him 
unless he thinks him fit for the post. He has power to 
choose any one among his disciples. This is done by inviting 
on a fixed day the neighbouring well-to-do men, and the 
principal tenants in the estates attached to the monastery. 
After worshipping the gods in the math or monastery the 


cliosen disciple is made to sit on a 7TO«T^ masnad (carpet) 
with a ^^^ kaki (earthen chatty) of water in front of 
him. At the appointed hour and before the assembled 
guests the Mohant wraps a JWWt pagri or head dress round 
the disciple's head. After this ceremony is over he pro- 
ceeds to apply a fJT^^ tilak or forehead mark, and then 
salutes him as the new Mohant. This being done, as a 
final ceremony he covers him with a shawl and takes his 
seat alongside of him. Then the guests offer presents 
and also cover him with shawls or sheets. This com- 
pletes the ceremony, and the disciple is henceforth the 
Mohant elect and the recognized heir to the old Mohant, 
and succeeds him in due course in the gaddi or manage- 
ment seat of the monastery and the property attached to 
the math. 

157. Bamboos make the clump. 

Bans gune hansaur 
Chamdr gune adhaur. 
The (value of the) bamboo clump depends on the quality 
of the bamboos, just as the quality of the hide depends on 
the (skill of the) tanner. 

158. Beating is pleasant, all but the consequences. 

Hansi hansi mdrlh kukur 
Roi roi phenkin guh. 
All smiles when killing the dog, but all tears when 
having to throw out the dirt ! 

The idea is taken from killing a dog or a cat, which 
usually makes a mess on being chevied, and so the dirt 


has to be cleaned or removed afterwards. It means, so 
long as you are winning or enjoying it is all very pleasant, 
but the time comes when the consequences are far from 
pleasant and make you weep. 

Said as a warning to those who oppress; that a time 
may come when the tables may be turned upon them. 

159. Bound to do it. 

E, gur khdyen, lidn chheddyen. 
You must eat this sugar, and must have your ears bored ! 
Refers to the practice of giving a little sugar to a child 
whose ears are to be bored : while she is eating it the 
operation is performed. Said when one has under any 
circumstance to perform a thing, nolens volens, when there 
is no possibility of escape and he must do it. 

160. Constant repetition not conducive to conviction. 

1^0 5rrTf; ITT ^T ft^I ^^T 

Gdi gdi ka hokhah hdur 
Bhusa kutale niksi chdtir ? 

Why are you making yourself mad by singing (over 
and over the same thing) ? Can rice be got by pounding 
husk ? 

'^T'^T " Sdur,'" mad, that is, why repeat the same thing 
over and over again and behave like a mad man ? You 
can't convince him, no good can be served : no more 
than rice can be got by pounding husk. 

Said to one who cannot bring conviction to another by 
constant repetition, and is therefore advised not to waste 
his breath. 


161. Caa meat be kept on trust with a jackal? 

Gidar ralihe mans he titati. 

Would you keep meat on trust with a jackal ? i.e. Can 
the jackal ever be trusted to keep meat safely in his 
charge ? 

^rnfl' " Thati," or ^rm\ " Thathi," a trust charge. 

Said when any one altogether untrustworthy is expected 
to keep faith. 

162. Drowning the miller. 

De ddl men pani 
Paiga hah chale chulhdni. 
Pour water into the dall (so much so) that the whole 
village of Paiga may be washed into the cooking place. 
Said when the dall (brose) is very watery. • 
The following story is said to account for this saying : 
Once a very large number of people came with a 
marriage procession to the village of Paiga. As the dall 
cooked was not sufficient, water was freely added to make 
up the quantity, upon which it was sarcastically said : 
%=fiX; ^^TT 'm^ %^ ^re^fT Jekar Sahara pdni, sehu 
ghatala, i.e. can a thing fall short which can be increased 
by adding water! (lit. the chief support of which is water). 

163. Diamond cut diamond. 

<^£3 5|rl% ^31 ^U^ fTfr% ^IT1[^ ^^T^T 

Jatne Gangu lam., tatne sohdik chdkar. 
Gdngu is as long as Sohdik is broad ! i.e. One equals 
the other in craftiness. 

aifl " Gangu" and iff'tlTT'li " Sohdik" were two notorious 


knaves in the fable who vied with each other in artful 
dodges and in deceiving people. When any one attempts 
to out-do another in cunning (and both are equal), this 
saying is used : in a case of "diamond cut diamond." 

164. Dear at its native place and cheap at the market. 

Tdl mdhanga, hat sa.tta. 

Costly at the place where it is produced, and cheap at 
the market ! Another version of the proverb is got by 
substituting the word ZT^ for rTnJT- 

■<iT^ tdl means " a stack, a rick " : " dear at the stack, 
but cheap in the market." 

(fPfT " Tdl" is lit. a field in the outskirts of a village ; 
hence the place of production. Another meaning of Tdl 
is a pond, or lake, a deep collection of water also called 
?R " Man." 

Said when a thing corartiands a higher price at the 
place where it ought naturally to be cheap. 

Hajipur, for instance, is famous for its excellent mangoes, 
but if any one goes to buy its best mangoes there, he 
invariably finds that these command a higher price in 
Hajipur itself than in Patna city, where they are im- 
ported by wholesale dealers. The reason is, of course, 
that the crop is alwaj's sold beforehand, and what remains 
is usually kept for private use. Knowing this fact, the 
owners ask exorbitant rates. 

In such a case this proverb may be used when the order 
is reversed. 

165. Do in Rome as Rome does. 

Jaisan des, taisan bhes. 


Suit your behaviour (lit. appearance) to the country. 
*|^ "Bhes" assumed likeness, disguise, mask, hence 

166. Do what he may, he is still a beggar. 

«i§^ ?mft ^^% Tft^ i>T ^^^ 

Matho mn/iraule garth glr naoh. 

Although he has had his head shaved, yet they name 
him Qarlbglr. 

Hefers to the story of the poor man who thought be 
would be well off by joining a convent of faqirs ; but on 
being shaved (the usual preparatory step), and renamed, 
be found to his disappointment that he was still called 
IT^^ ^T " Garlhglr," i.e. the poor Faqir. 

Said when poverty does not forsake one whatever be 
may do. 

167. Prescription for keeping health. 

«j^^ ^T i wH' wt ^3^(^ wii ^ t^ ^^^f if^ 

Kha he muti, suti baon, 
Kahe he haid lasaicah gdon ? 
If after eating you (make it a practice to) pass water 
and always sleep on your left side, there is no use of 
having a physician in your village {lit. getting a physician 
to settle in your village), i.e. you will not fall ill (if you 
take to this habit) and need the service of a physician. 

Extent of one's power. 

168. The Paras (tree) has but three leaves. • 

Paras men tine pat. 
The Paras tree has but three leaves to each branch. 
^X;Tir " Paras " {Btitea frondosa) is trifoliate. 


Said derisively of one the extent of whose powers is 
limited. " He can go to this extent and no further ! " 

169. However strong the grain, it cannot break the 

Ketiion hunt hariydr hoi, hhansdr nan phorV 

However hard the grain may be, it cannot burst the 
parching house. 

i.e. The utmost strength one can exert may fall far 
short of another's ordinary power. 

*R^TT " JBhansdr" is the fireplace in the parching 
house where grain is parched. 

There is usually one general fireplace where all the 
village women bring their grain to be parched. The 
parching is usually done by the " Kdndu " women, who 
receive their wages in grain. It is strange that while 
the Hindu is so scrupulous about the cooking of his food, 
and will not eat what has not been cooked by his own 
or higher castes, he does not object to his grain being 
parched by a Kandu or a Kahar, and in the earthen pot 
in which the grain of all the castes of the village is 
parched. The excuse of course is that water, which 
is the contaminating medium, is absent from parching. 

170. Follows the rich and feeds on the poor. 

Dhani he hat simin, garlb he hhdt hhdln. 

He hears the rich {i.e. he acts according to their wish), 
but feeds on the poor. 

Cast at him who fawns and flatters the wealthy, but 
has to rely on the poor and insignificant (whom he 
despises) for his support. A sycophant, a parasite. 


171. Fate and self-help equally shape our destiny. 

Karam bausao ddhe adh. 
Fate and self-exertion are half-and-half in power. 
i.e. We must not solely depend on fortune for our 
success, because all our actions owe half their success to 
self-help. In other words self-help and confidence in 
our good fortune must go hand in hand. The meaning 
is, that they are both equally powerful in shaping our 

Highly Im^irohable. 

172. Can a dead horse eat grass ? 

Miialo ghora ghdns khala ? 
Does a dead horse ever eat grass ? 
Said when one tries to do an impossibility. 

173. Can a frog catch cold ? 

Menrhak ko hhi zokdm ? 
(Ya) Bengo ke sardi ? 
A frog with a cold or cough [i.e. Is it possible for a 
frog to catch cold or get a cough ?) 

A derisive way of expressing " unlikelihood " or " im- 
probability " : when any one who is used to anything 
pretends that he cannot stand it. 

174. Can a goat eat nine maunds of flour ? 

S^8 ^ ^# "^^ ^IT 1 5IT^ ^^ f^ ^ZT ^^<^ ^^ 

Ka kahun kuchh kaha najay, 
Nao man dnta bakari khdy ? 



What am I to say ? I am dumb, is it possible for a 
goat to eat nine maunds of flour P 

175. He who holds the ladle commands everybody. 

Jekra hath men cloi 
Tekra hath men sab hoi. 
He who holds, the ladle commands everybody. 
^t^ " Doi," a wooden ladle, to stir the cooking, also to 
help out food with. 

176. Hfe who has suffered can sympathize with those 
in pain. 

H'^% m%^ '^^JT f^^T ^T '^i^ ^'nTT 

Janeli chilam jinka par charhela angdra. 

The fire bowl (of the hubble-bubble), which holds the 
burning embers, knows (the pain of burning) ! 

^^J7 "Chilam" is the bowl of a "WWl " huqqa,"' 
which contains the tobacco and fire. i.e. He who has 
never experienced the pain of burning can afford to 
laugh at it, but let him ask the chilam what it feels with 
a live coal inside it. 

177. He thatches his roof whose house leaks. 

Jekra par chuela sehi nun chhdwela. 
He whose house leaks thatches his roof. i.e. He who 
suffers tries to find a remedy. 

178. How money may be got rid of. 

^ ^ % 'tJT MT '^t ^"^' ^^f % TTT 

Bipra tahalua, chih dhan, au betin ke bdrh 
E hit se dhan na ghate, kari bar an se rdr. 



If you cannot get rid of your wealth by having a 
Brahman servant, keeping possession of money received 
from a butcher, or from excess of daughters, you will do 
it by fighting with bigger men (Grierson). 

i.e. A Brahman servant being of superior caste cannot 
be checked in his reckless expenditure as one of an inferior 
caste can ; it is considered very unlucky to receive money 
from butchers, it will even take away what one has ; and 
the extravagant expenditure a Hindu incurs at his 
daughter's wedding is proverbial. It is ruin for a Hindu 
to possess several daughters. 

This proverb is meant as an admonition to those who 
engage in a quarrel with the great. If one is determined 
to get rid of his money the best way he can do it is to 
pick up a quarrel with a great man : he will then be 
more certain to do it than from any of the causes 
enumerated above. 

179. Happy medium. 


Na ati bakta, na ati chup 
Na ati barkha, na ati dhiip. 
Neither too much talk nor too great a silence, neither 
continuous rain nor continuous sun, is desirable. 

180. Indifference to loss. 

Genrudr ke katek gor tuti. 
How many feet can you break of the earth-worm ? 
Sf^WT " Genrimr " or »i\|Tltw^ " Ganrgoar " is a 
worm which has like the centipede many feet. It 


probably takes its name from ^%^ genruri (a round 
twisted pad, usually made of grass, for supporting water- 
pots, etc., on a woman's head) from the fact that this 
worm when touched coils up like a genruri. 

The meaning is that the genrudr has many feet and 
can therefore suffer the loss of a few without much harm 
coming to it. 

Said of a rich man who can afford to lose some of his 
riches without feeling the loss. 

181. "Ifs"and"Ans." 

q^q MT^ TWf <^ 'Ef^ HT ft^ 

Marie nahin to ghar hhar hote. 
If they did not die, they would fill the house. 
Certainly they would, but the " if " comes between . 
Said when one makes everything conditional on im- 

E.E. If " ifs " and " ans " were pots and pans, 
There would be no work for tinker's hands. 

182. "Ifs" and "Ans." 

«i'=R ITTT % %^ 'n »nt fft IT T'OTT ^ 'ITT 'Wtf 

Hamra ke kehu na mare to ham sansar ke mar dm. 
If there was no one to oppose me, I could beat the world. 
Said to deride an excessively ambitious man, who, but 
for the restrictions imposed, would domineer everybody. 

183. In the friendship of asses look out for kicks. 

Gadahan ke ydri, Idtan ke sansandhat. 
In the friendship of the ass expect (nothing else but) a 
shower of kicks (or constant kicks). 


^•T^fllZ " Saiisandhat " is tingling, whizzing : it 
means tlie whizzing sound caused by swiftly flying kicks 
without pause ; also refers to the tingling pain. A 
variation of this (in Shahabad) is ^ftT!^»T ^ ^TTT^ %5R % 
^«TO«nf Z Laundan ke yari dhelan ke sansanahat. " In 
the friendship of boys expect nothing else but a shower 
of clods." 

184. In a treeless country the castor-oil plant is a 
big tree. 

Rukh na hirichchh tahah renr pardhdn. 

Where there are no trees the castor-oil plant is looked 
upon as a big tree. 

i.e. In a place where there is no one of particular dis- 
tinction a man who is a little elevated above his fellows 
is considered a great man, just as a small hillock is raised 
to the dignity of a mountain in a level country. 

185. If a woman of ill fame gets angry with you, so 
much the better. 

Besya rusal, dharmen hanchal. 

If the woman of iU fame gets angry with you, so much 
the better : your virtue is saved, i.e. By her getting 
angry and stopping intercourse with you, you are pre- 
vented from committing further sin which might have 
ruined you morally. 

^^T " Besya " or %^T " beswa " is a prostitute. 

Said derisively when the anger of any one is rather a 
blessing than a loss to us, affects us rather for good than 


1 86. It is a sarkdri dog : do not oppose : let it do as 
it likes. 

z^T ^T mm-r[ Tf f ^151 ^'t^fTrirr fi ^% ^i 

I pilli sarkdri ha, laurjan lah 

TuJnir tukur takat raha, 

Chulh koratiya ta kore dah. 
This bitch belongs to the landlord : do not lift a stick 
(to beat it). If it is digging up the cooking place, put on 
a good face over it {lit. stare only). 

^T^Tt " Barkari" is belonging to tbe Government. 
Here a public servant or a servant of the great or of some 
one in authority is meant. Even if he should encroach 
a little on your rights, it is the best policy to remain 

187. If benighted, go where the dog barks and not 
where the light is seen. 

^^=^ f ^T 1^ wrt" T^^T #^ -^ 

Kukur bhukejaln, dlya lauke nan. 

If benighted, go where the dog is barking and not where 
the light is shining. 

This is a warning to benighted travellers not to be led 
astray by the ignis fatuus, or as popularly called Jack-with- 
the-Lantern, the spontaneous phosphoric exhalation so 
often seen in marshy lands ; a dog's bark is more certain 
to lead to a village. 

188. Kill the snake as well as save the stick. 

qc': ^fr fHTM ^V^ ^1-RI 

Sdmpo mdrah lauro jogdwah. 
Kill the snake as well as save your stick. 



In attempting to kill a snake one is apt to break his 
stick. The aim therefore should be to preserve your stick 
as well as kill the snake. Said metaphorically when one 
has to effect his purpose and see that no harm may come 
by it. 

E.E. " Kill two birds with one stone." 

189. Like to like. 

Jaisan ke taisan siiMM he haigan. 

One to his deserts ; just as brinjal suits a curry of 
dried fish. 

i.e. One deserves to be treated according to his deserts 
or merits, just as brinjal is the proper vegetable to be 
served with dried fish. 

This is a piece of worldly wisdom greatly appreciated 
by natives of all classes, to treat each one according to 
his social position. 

190. Like to like. 

Jaisan pas waisan ghas. 
As the animal, so the grass, i.e. Suited to it : according 
to his deserts; 

cT^ xjgiT ^^ ^RT ^fTT Tas puja chdhi, jas deota. 

As the deity, so the worship, i.e. according to his merit. 

191. Little things are great to little men. 

Chiunti 7ca munte pairdo ? 
A little water (urine) is sufi&cient for the ant to swim 
in. Said when a little is sufficient for any purpose. 


192. Laddus (sweetmeat) in both hands. 

<iQ.=«- f:^^ 11^ w ^ 

Duno hath men laddu. 

Sweets in both his hands. 

Said when one is so circumstanced that he profits either 
way he turns : any course he takes he gains, like a saw 
that cuts both ways. 

193. Leading an unhappy life. 

Naktajiye buri haical. 

The noseless man lives, but such a life ! i.e. His life is 
a misery, being always laughed at. 

Said of one who exists, but under very unhappy 

194. Let's see on what side the camel sits. 

Kauna kare to unt haithela. 

Let's see on what side the camel sits. 

The story is that once a kunjra (a greengrocer) and a 
kumfidr (a potter) jointly hired a camel; and each filled 
one side of the pannier with his goods. The camel as 
he went along the road every now and again, when he 
had a chance, took a mouthful from the greengrocer's 
bag of vegetables. This provoked a laugh from the 
potter, who thought he had the best of the bargain. 
But the time came for the camel to sit, and he naturally 
sat on the heavier side, bearing down on the pots, and 
also to have his mouth free to operate on the bag of 
greens. This caused the pots to break in the bag, and 
then the greengrocer bad all the laugh to himself. 


Hence the saying, " Let's see on wliat side the camel 
sits," means 

E.E. " He laughs best who laughs last." 

Might is Right. 

195. The strong can strike in the most vulnerable part. 

<i^4 wfT'^nT % ^^ 'iff ^xjTx: 

Bariyar he lathi manh kapdr. 

The cudgel of the strong (always falls) on the middle 
of the forehead. 

i.e. The powerful man can always deal a blow at the 
most vulnerable part and with effect. He has you in 
his power. 

196. The strong not only strike, but prevent you from 

Bariyar ha mare rohun nan de. 

The powerful man strikes and does not even let you 
cry out. 

i.e. The powerful man not only strikes but prevents your 

197. The strong, even if he should be in the wrong, 
strikes you. 

<ia^ ^t'Nt ITT ^f W TnT 

Hakim hare miinh men mare. 
If the powerful man loses even, he still strikes you in 
the face. 

Similar proverb to above. 

198. Right or wrong the mighty bully. 

HaroOi to huron jlton to thuron. 




If I lose I shall strike ; if I win I shall crush ! 

^T;^ " Hurab" is to thrust. "^^^ " Tkurab " is to 

i.e. Under any circumstances the powerful man punishes 
you, whether he wins or loses. 

199. Necessity has no law. 

IQQ %f 1 ^T% "^W^ ^Tfl »1W 1 51T% ^n »TTfI 

TzjT^ ^ 5n% ^^T ^TZ ff^ f 5rr% f^^iT wis 

Nell najdne ochhijdt ; hhukh na jane jutha bhdt ; 
Pyds najdne murda ghat ; nind na jane jhilanga khdt. 
Love knows no lowly caste; Hunger minds not stale 
repast; Thirst knows not the " ghat" where the dead are 
burned ; Sleep objects not to a broken cot. 

f^^^ "Jhilanga" means "loose," broken, with the 
ropes hanging loose and broken "baggy." 

200. No good to be got out of him. 

Eh tmn tel nan. 

This linseed has no oil ! 

i.e. Will not yield what is wanted, will not answer the 
purpose. Usually applied to a miser out of whom nothing 
can be got. 

201. Not the sugar that flies will take to. 

U gur nah hi makkhi khdy. 

It is not that sugar that flies will take to ! 

He is not such a one as you can get anything out of. 

Said when no encouragement is met with ; where one 
expects encouragement, but is disajfpointed : where one 
has tried and failed. 


Out of Place, Incongruous, nial apropos, etc. 

202. The wedding of the sickle and song of the hoe ! 

Hamua ke hiyah khurpa ke git. 

It is the wedding of the sickle and all the song is for 
the hoe ! 

^H'^ " Sansiia," sickle. 

^^■qj " JDiurpa," a kind of hoe for weeding. 

In the wedding of the hamua, the song (praise) should 
be for the hamua and not for the khurpa. Said to mark 
the inappropriateness of an act or speech (mal-apropos). 
This proverb appears somewhat quaint to us, but in the 
mouths of people, whose chief pursuits are agricultural, 
the allusion to implements of agriculture is but natural. 

203. Same thing right or wrong according to situation. 

Thaon gune kdjar kuthaon gune kdrikh. 

In the rigbt place they count it coUyrium, in the wrong 
place soot. 

i.e. The same thing may be right or wrong according to 
situation or differing conditions. 

E.E. "A place for everything and everything in its 
proper place." 

204. Munj stitches on velvet. 

Makhmal par munj ke bakhiya. 

Stitch of munj on velvet (ground). 

^^ Mwij is a kind of long grass used for making string 
and mats. Its stitches on velvet would be coarse work 
to say the least of it and out of place. 

Evidently said to mark incongruity or want of harmony. 


205. Pestle lias nothing to do with curd. 

(^) ^^ *ITrI ?T ^3ra ^ 3¥^ 

DaM men mmar 

(Ta) ddl bhat men unt ke thehun. 
The pestle in the tyre ! 

or The knee of a camel in pease-porridge and rice. 
These proverbs put in a striking though quaint way the 
incongruity of things. 

The f\T^ niusar or pestle for pounding rice has nothing 
on earth to do with tyre, nor the knee of a camel with 
pease-porridge and rice. 

206. A cummin seed in the mouth of a camel. 

Unt ka niunh menfira. 
A cummin seed in the mouth of a camel ! 
E.E. " A drop in the ocean." 

207. Can the bark of one tree fit another ? 

An kath ke bokla, an kdth men kahuh satela. 

Can the bark of one wood ever be made to fit another ? 

i.e. Can anything that does not naturally come to one 
ever be fitly adopted by him ? It will always appear out 
of place and far from natural. 

Once Bit Ticice Shy. 

208. Will the bald head again go under the M tree ? 

Pliir munrlo bel tar. 
Will the bald head {lit. the woman with a shaved head) 
again go under the bel tree (never !) ? 


The %^ " hel" fruit, or wood apple, is said to have an 
especial attraction for the shaven head. She who has 
once had a hel drop on her shaven head will, you may be 
certain, never again venture under a hel tree. " " in 
munrlo marks the feminine gender. 

E.E. " Once bit twice shy." 

Burnt Child Breads the Fire. 

209. " A scalded cat dreads cold water." 

Budh ke dahal matha phuk plhlii. 

One scalded by (hot) milk drinks (cold) buttermilk 
even after blowing into it. 

TJi^ is blowing in order to cool anything. 

Those who have suffered severely in any way are apt to 
have unreasonable apprehensions of suffering the like 

" He that has been stung by a serpent is afraid of a 

E.E. " A burnt child dreads the fire." 

210. A dog once struck with a firebrand dreads even 
the sight of lightning. 

Luath ke maral kukur lauha dekh par ay. 
A dog which has been once beaten with a firebrand 
will flee even at the sight of lightning. 
Luath or ludthi, a stake burnt at one end, 

211. On the horns of a dilemma (the snake and the 
musk rat). 

Bhai yati sdnp chhuchhundar keri. 
Circumstanced as the snake and the musk rat. 


i.e. His situation is similar to that of the snake and 
the musk rat in the fable. The popular idea is that a 
snake places himself in a fix when he lays hold of a musk 
rat. If he should swallow it he is sure to suffer from 
blood poisoning (become a leper), if he should let it go 
he is certain to become blind. 

Said of one who is in a quandary or on the horns of a 

Note. "This is a line from the Tulsi Krit Raraayan. 
It is in the Ayodhya Kand. Chaupai 64, in Ram Jasan's 
Edition." — Grierson. 

212. One man's meat is another man's poison. 

KeJn-o hhanta hairi kekro hhanta panth. 

To some the brinjal is a poison (enemy) : to others it is 
a regimen. 

i.e. What is one man's meat is another man's poison. 

Brinjal, or egg-plant, is considered especially hurtful 
in certain ailments, while in others it is prescribed as a 
special diet. Panth is regimen prescribed for the sick. 
Also the first light meal a patient is allowed to make 
when he is convalescent. It is usual for patients to fast 
for days. The idea is that by starving the patient the 
disease is starved out. 

213. One never reveals his defeats and the beating he 
has received from his wife. 

'^q^ ^qi ITT^ ^ift % TTT^ ^^ ^f^T 

Apan liaral mehri ke mdral kehu kahala. 
Who ever speaks of his own defeat, or the beating he 
has received from his wife ? i.e. one's defeat, like the 
beating one receives from his wife, is kept a dead secret. 


214. A full belly makes a heavy head. 

Pet bhdri se tndnth bhdri. 

When the belly is full, the head is heavy ! 

Also said figuratively, when one has no wants, he 
usually becomes proud. It is also literally true. Too 
full a stomach gives a heavy head. 

1{f^ Vfl^ " Mdnth Ihdri," a heavy head, is used to- 
wards one who carries his head high : opposed to " light- 

215. Out of all reckoning. 

Tin men na terah men sutri ke girah men. 

iN'either in the three, nor in the thirteen, but in the 
knot of the string. 

i.e. Out of all reckoning. The " three " are the three 
highest ^ft"^ gotras, or clans, of Brahmans. They are — 
1 Gdrg, 2 Gautam, and 3 Shdndilya. 

And the " thirteen " are the next in order of merit, 
namely, 1 Paydsi, 2 Samadari, 3 Chaiiri, 4 Brihadgrdm, 
5 Dharina, 6 Kanchani, 1 Mala, 8 Supdla, 9 Triphata, 10 
Pindi, 11 Itiya, 12 Itdri, and 13 Rdrhi. 

He is neither among the three nor among the thirteen 
Brahmans that are recognized ; the account of the rest 
(being so numerous) is kept by tying knots to a 

Said contemptuously of one who arrogates to himself a 
high position, but is so insignificant as not to be reckoned 
in the regular order. Out of reckoning. 

"Out of the running." 


216. One with a wax nose is easily led. 

Mom lie nank jene naicditi tene naioe. 
A wax nose : whichever side you bend it, it bends. 
i.e. One easily led, one who has no will of his own, but 
is a tool in the hands of others. 
I^f^^ naivaeb, " to bend." 

217. One good turn deserves another. 

Nanch parosin mora ta main nachbun tora. 

Neighbour, if you dance at my house, I shall dance at 

E.E. One good turn deserves another. 

" If you scratch my back I shall scratch yours." 

«ff^ Nanch refers to the custom of dancing the j'humar 
-dance at wedding feasts. It is gone through by the 
lower classes only. 

218. Plain speakers not favourites. 

R=iC ^T=^ ^Tr( ^f ^f cbI ^^ % t^rl ^ ^rJX;^ Xt 

Sdnch hat mdullali kahe, sai ke chit se utral rahe. 
Because Sadullah speaks the truth he is disliked by 
all {lit. is "out of favour" with all). 

219. Truth at times parts the best of friends. 

R«)e ^f^ ^1% ^ t^^^T'^r 

Sdnch kahle sang bidhiidy. 

If you speak the truth, even your friend gets angry 
with you. 

i.e. Plain speaking causes a breach between the best 
of friends. 


220. Pain preferable to remedy in some cases. 

5^10 r^^ ^^^ -^SH ^ ^f T^ 
Phutal sahala, anjan na sahaye. 
Rather bear the pain than the remedy! (He can bear 
the pain but not the remedy.) 

XRZ^ "Phutal," lit. cracked, refers to the eye being 

■^fNl«I "Anjan " is coUyrium or an application to the 
eyelids when inflamed or to improve them. Antimony is 
also used. Another proverb of similar import is 

Ankhiye phuti ta anjan ka lagdih. 
If the eye is bKnd, what is the use of applying 
coUyrium ? 

221. Purchasing troubles. 

Bhehua de he dukh hesdhih. 

To giv'e money and purchase pain ! 

i.e. To be out of pocket and at the same time not to get 
any return ; to pay as well as suffer. Lit. to " buy 

est -411 " Dhehua" is one pice in the language of the 
common people. 

222. Right question, wrong answer. 

'^R'^ "^^X % W^ ^ 'ff WW i?tTt 

Chdiir he hhdo pUchhe gehun clihao paseri. 
He is asked the price of rice, but he answers " wheat is 
sold at 10 paseri ! " 

Said to laugh at a funny mistake, as for example when 


a wrong answer is given that has nothing whatever to do 
with the question. 

223. Riches count for virtue. 

Jekar cliun iel<ar pun. 

He who possesses grain (to give away in alms) is 
reckoned the virtuous man. 

i.e. He who can afford to give alms is considered a 
virtuous man. 

^»l ''Chun" is the corrupted form for ^lu cliurna, 
"hroken grain." Alms are usually given in grain or kind, 
hence chun stands for the means of giving alms. It is 
a sarcastic reference to the fact that riches covereth a 
multitude of sins. 

224. Requiring constant service with adequate return. 

R=^5j ^TIT «T ^T¥ f;'ff ¥1^ f Tl^iWr 

Dana na ghds dunon sdnjh dumliaja. 

JSTo grain or grass and the bearing-reins on morning 
and evening ! 

■^jj^SiT Biimhaja (from dum, tail, and qdiza, corruption 
of the Persian U^ ijiXi *5 or simply U^ ajiXi as in the 
expression iJ^i aji^i ^^jyf, means to tighten the bearing- 
reins). Bearing-reins tightened, i.e. the state in which 
we often see the horses of native gentlemen led out. A 
string is tied to the reins and passed round under the tail 
and tightened in order to cause the horse to arch his neck 
and appear showy. Said when one is required to keep up 
to the mark, or do his utmost, and suffer a constant strain 
without being adequately remunerated. 


225. Splendour but short-lived. 

^RH '^TK t^ ^ '^Ti^'^ ftii: -^vnft TT?I 

C/idr din hi chdndni phir andhari rat. 

Four days of moonshiae, and thea cornea again dark 
night ! 

One who makes too great a boast of or is too much 
elated by his short-lived success, may appropriately be 
reminded of the darkness that will follow apace. 

226. Straightforwardness not always expedient. 

Sojhe angurln ghiu nilda hai. 

Can you take ghi out with a straight finger ? 

In order to get anything good in this world, the proverb 
implies one must be a little crooked. 

The meaning is, if you are quite straight and good, you 
cannot get on very well in this world, just as you cannot 
get much clarified butter out of a bottle by dipping your 
straight finger : you must bend it slightly. 

Some amenable to kicks only. 

227. Some amenable to kicks only. 

R5^^ ^fT i ^^^ ^Ttl % IT TT% 

Ldt ke adtni hat se na mane. 

One who is used to kicks will never listen to reason 

i.e. The man who is used to receiving kicks in order to 
make him do his work will never be influenced by mere 

228. Give him betel and he won't ofier you meal even, 
but give him kicks and he will give you sweets. 


Pan dele sdtu ndti, panhi dele pua. 

If you give him betel leaves, you will not even get 
meal out of him ; but if you give him a shoe beating, he 
will be ready to supply you with cakes ! 

tJT»I "Pan" is betel leaves, and xr^ "pua " a kind of 
cake made of flour, ghi, and sugar. To give jodn is to 
treat one with civility and kindness. 

5EfT<T " Sdtu" is parched grain reduced to meal. It is a 
common food of the poor. 

Said of the low caste people who will not give you any- 
thing good unless they are beaten. It points to the 
prevalent idea among the people of the treatment the 
lower class ought to be subjected to in order to get any- 
thing good out of them. 

229. Call him "father," and he will not give you oil 
even ; but abuse him and he will offer you clarified butter. 

^RQ. ■^T^ ^?t t^ if ^^T ^1% "^ 

Bdha kahle tel nan, sasur kahle gJiiu. 

Call him " father," he will not give you oil (even) ; but 
call him "father-in-law" (i.e. abuse him), and he will offer 
you ghi (clarified butter). To call one "father-in-law" 
is a serious abuse. 

Same remark applies to this Proverb as to No. 228. 

230. Straight as a sickle ! 

Bar sqjh ta hamua nlar. 
If he is very straight, he is still like the sickle ! 
i.e. Even when he is in his best behaviour he is still 
" crooked." Said in sarcasm of a man who is by nature 



" crooked " in his dealings ; one who cannot possibly be 
straightforward ; evillj' disposed. 

The shape of a f^'^T hansua is a curve. The metaphors, 
it will be noted, are invariably drawn from agricultural 
implements by a people whose chief avocation is tending 
the soil. 

231. Sing his praise who gives you food. 

^^'\ it^T ^"^ ^^RT ITt" 

Jekar khalrt tekar gain. 

Sing his praise who gives you to eat ! 
i.e. It ought to be your policy to side him or speak in 
his favour who gives you to eat. 

232. Slay your enemy without scruple. 

Heine ko haniye, dokli pap na ganiye. 
Spare him not [lit. kill or slay him) who tries to harm 
you, and do not feel any scruple that you are committing a 
sinful act. Lex talionis is regarded as perfectly justifiable. 

233. Too many cooks spoil the broth. 

^^^ ^TTf "iw ^Tf mtI; i ^-m^ -Rf^r ^i iit 

Barah dom terah nai ; se bajdye sing sahndi. 

Even twelve doms and thirteen barbers : can these play 
on the sing or sahndi ? 

i.e. Twelve doms and thirteen barbers may attempt it, but 
can they possibly play on the sing or sahndi ? 

f^ "Sing" and ^f«nt^ "sahndi" are musical pipes; 
a kind of flute. 

The domn and barbers are never employed to play on 
instruments in marriage processions, but ehamdrs and 
sweepers; therefore the meaning seems to be that although 


SO many as twelve doms and thirteen barbers may be as- 
sembled to play on these musical instruments, yet they, 
whose occupation it is not, will only produce discord. 
When men attempt to do anything that is not their busi- 
ness, the result is always a failure, be they ever so many 
who engage in it. 

234. The blusterer lords it over all. 

^^'i ff% ^^ ^ fTTi %qp: if^^ TT% Tn'T 

Ndnche, hude, ture tan, teliar duniydn rdkhe wan. 

The blustering man is always thought a great deal of 
in this world. 

Lit. The man who dances, jumps, and makes a noise is 
respected much. 

rl^ rTR " Ture tan," lit. is to bring the note to a close 
or fall in right time. (It is a musical term.) 

235. The weevil gets crushed with the wheat. 

Jau he sdthe gJnmo 2nsdle. 

Along with the wheat the weevil is also ground down. 

i.e. Along with the great (people from whom they derive 
their support, the patrons) their hangers on are crushed 
although they may be innocent. 

236. The grass suffers in the fight of the tiger and 

Bdgh bhaisa ke lardi men ; nal khagra ke maut. 

In the fight between the tiger and the buffalo the long 
grass and weeds perish (by being crushed). 

i.e. When two great men quarrel and fight, the " small 
fry " about them suffer. 


237. The sweet ones he swallows, the hitter he rejects. 
^^^ ^3T jftTT 'I^ ^n^ ^irg^ ^ 

Mltha mltha gab, hania karua thu. 

All the sweet ones he swallows ; the bitter ones he 
spits out. 

Said when one selfishly picks out the good things and 
rejects all the bad ones, i.e. does not take his share of bad 

238. Tongue — source of honour and shame. 

R^c %'^ ^%^ qTi ^ft 5bT t?5ift 

Jehi tnuhen pan, tehi muhen panhi. 

The very same tongue brings us honour {pan) or shame 
{lit. gets us a " shoe beating"). 

A variation is hhdt " rice," and Idt " kicks," instead of 
"pan " and " shoe beating." 

TTT1 " Pan " is betel leaf ; to give pan is to honour one. 
It is offered only to equals and superiors. It is therefore 
a special mark of regard shown to guests and friends. 

T^1?t " Panhi," shoes ; " to give one a shoe beating " is 
to disgrace him. 

The meaning is that if one is guarded and careful in 
his speech and says the right thing in the right place, he 
will meet with success and favour ; if, on the other hand, 
he does not control his tongue, " that restless thing of 
shame and mischief fatal spring," he is sure to meet with 

Another saying, illustrating that one may either get an 
elephant as a reward, or meet with his death, owing to 
his tongue, is the following play on the word ^Zjf paiydh, 
"you will get," or ^J^^paon, "feet." 


Bdten hathi pakjan, hdten hathi paon. 

i.e. Words will secure you an elephant, and words will 
also bring you to the feet of an elephant. 

The meaning is that you will be trampled to death by 
an elephant. One of the many cruel ways of torturing a 
guilty man to death under the Mahomedan Government 
was to tie him to the leg of an elephant and thus get him 

There are many proverbs in English recommending due 
control of the tongue. 

1. " Confine your tongue, lest it confine you." 

2. " Keep your purse string and tongue close." 

3. "Better to slip with the foot than the tongue." 

239. A needy troupe of dancers. 

Garju Idrtaniydn apne tele ndnche. 

The needy dancing people use their own oil. 

f^T;rff'l'Tf " Kivtaniym" are a troupe of dancers who 
usually perform by torchlight, the oil for which is sup- 
plied by those who engage them to dance ; therefore the 
meaning is, that one who is in need will go out of his way 
to get his object. 

240. The meanest can harm. 

Thikrio se ghara phidela. 

The ghara can be cracked by a small piece of potsherd 
even ; i.e. the meanest thing can sometimes do you harm. 

^T^T " Ghara," is an earthen vessel used for holding 


241. The less the grain to be parched the more noise 
it makes. 

Thor hhunjiya, bahiit hharhharhat. 

The less the quantity of grain to be parched the more 
noise it makes in parching. 

^f^l'^n' " Bhunjiya" is parched grain. It is usually 
parched with an admixture of sand to equalise the heat 
and roasting. The sand is tben separated by winnowing 
or in a sifting basket. When grain is parched without 
sand it is called ^3^H^ " Ulaeb." *l^*l^fZ " Bhar- 
bharhat " is the crackling noise the grain makes in being 

E.E. Empty vessels make the most sound. 

242. Things to be always guarded against. 

Goenra he kheti, sirwdn he sanp 
Maibha hdran bddi bap. 

The field nearest the village, the snake at the head of 
the bed, and the father who is against you on account 
of a step-mother (are all to be feared or guarded against 
as leading to danger). 

'r1%¥T ^ %<ft' "Goenra he kheti" is the belt of land 
near the homestead, which is better manured, more care- 
fully cultivated and adapted for a superior kind of crop. 
— (Grrierson). 

It is the most frequent source of contention among 
villagers. Being nearest the village any stray cattle or 
goat easily finds its way into it, and sows the seed of a 
quarrel, which often ends in litigation and riot. 



ftl'^^f % ^fq "Siru-dn ke sdnp." By "the snake where 
your head rests," is meant, figurativelj', your close relative 
or one on whom you repose confidence, but who is really 
your enemy ; a secret foe, a pretended friend, a wolf in 
sheep's clothing. 

^HT " Maibha" is a step-mother. A father, who 
marries a second time, usually takes the part of his new 
wife, and ill uses the children by his former marriage. 

243. Things we ought to pray to be saved from. 

Chait ke jar ; rdr ke holi. 

Bikham kahdr ; chhotke doli. 

Rdmeshicar dsin ke ghdm 

I mati kahhun, sahdwah ram. 
Ram ! Never make me suffer (says Rameshwar) from 
the heat of the month of Asin (September-October), from 
the cold of the month of Chait (March- April), from the 
hard words (reviling) of the low caste, from an uneven 
set of palki bearers {i.e. of unequal height), and from 
a small doli (litter) {i.e. in which I can't fit). 

244. Taking a pleasant view of everything. 

Sdon ke dndhar ka, hariyare sujhela. 

The man who becomes blind in the month of Sawan 
(July- August), fancies that he sees everything fresh and 

Said of one who always takes a pleasant and one-sided 


view of things ; who is so hiassed that it is a foregone 
conclusion he will take a particular view of a question. 
Also said of one who has a tendency to take a rosy view 
of everything. The allusion is to the popular idea that 
one who hecomes blind when nature is green always 
fancies that he sees everything fresh and green. 

245. The staves of ten men make the load of one. 

Das ka lathi ek ka bojh. 
The staves of ten are equal to the weight of one man ! 
i.e. Equal distribution of work or labour is not felt as 
a burden. 

246. The word of a, like the tusk of an elephant, 
can never be withdrawn. 

Mard ke lot hdthi ke dant ; je niklal, se niklal. 

The word of a man, like the tusk of an elephant, when 
once out, it is always so, i.e. he does not " eat it." 

The tusk of an elephant in Proverb No. 3 has been made 
use of to illustrate the opposite character, namely, of dis- 
sembling or hypocrisy. 

Unconcern or Indifference. 

247. If the hel fruit is ripe, it matters little to the crow. 

Bel pakal kaua ke hap la ka. 
What is it to the crow {lit. to the crow's father) if the 
hel (fruit) is ripe ? 

The crow, which usually pecks at all (ripe) fruits, finds 


the bel (wood-apple), with its hard shell, too tough for its 
beak ; therefore it is of very little concern, interest, or 
profit to the crow whether the bel is ripe or not. 

■^xf " Bap " is the " intensive " form with the common 
people, as you are naturally supposed to look after the 
interest of your father, who is taken for granted to be 
greater than the son — the inference being that if anything 
does not concern the father, it ought not the more to con- 
cern the son. Said when one can afford to regard anything 
with perfect indifference. 

2-18. If she disappoints, the bed only will remain empty. 

^8^ ^Tt; rfr -^t Iff tft ^T^ ^TT^iTT 

Ai to di, nahin to khdli chdrpdi. 

If she comes (well and good), otherwise the bed will 
remain unoccupied. 

Expressing indifference or unconcern at one's coming 
or not coming. (Said usually in reference to a female.) 

249. Without restraint. 

Aga ndth na pdchha paglia 
Jaise dhur men lote gadha. 

Neither has he the nose string nor the heel rope (tether- 
ing rope) : like an ass that rolls about in the dust {i.e. 
without any check or restraint, un cared for like an ass). 

■TIIT " Pagha " is the rope generally used for tether- 
ing cattle. The "HJ^ ndth and paglia are used for the 
better class of cattle : never for the ass, who is usually 


250. "What is in a name ? 

\H0 Jfj-S( f^ofifz^T miff ^^T 

Gdon sikatii/a, mahton jlyan 
Jyonjyon uktin, tyon tyon tlan. 

The village is called sikatiya and its mahton jiyan, but 
the more you rake up the more you come by pleasant 
things [lit. savoury curry), i.e. which repays search. 

ftr=Rfe^T " Sikatiya," lit. means a bit of potsherd, stands 
for a mean name (there is a village of this name in 

^^»T " Jlyan " is a very common name among natives 
of the lower class : it is used here to denote an insignifi- 
cant name. 

Said when any one discovers good things where he 
least expected them. (Both the village and its Mahton, 
or headman, have unpretending names, still the village 
has some good things in it.) Compare also the following 
saying : 

^T'fl ^^T % itw 11% '5^^ -^"'^ ^'^^'^ ^^ gdon, ndon 
phuchti, i.e. the village has twenty hamlets, but its name 
is " Phuchti \" (a common meaningless name of a village 
in the Hajipur subdivision). Ridiculing an unpretend- 
ing name, especially when it belongs to one who is of 

Warnings against Naturally Defective and Certain other 
Classes of Men. 

251. The cunning of the dwarf, the squint-eyed, and 
the one-eyed compared. 


RM<i ws wr^ wizj % ^^ ^wt- ^^ ^wm^ 

Sdth kos ndta he daiir, assi kos hahukdn 
Wa ke ant na paiye, jo ek ankh ke kdn. 

Sixty kos is the depth ( lit. run = tether) of the dwarf 
and eighty of the squint-eyed ; but one who is blind of 
one eye can never be fathomed. "Ant," end, bottom. 
The kos or distance is simply used by way of comparison. 
It is the common measure of distance in India — usually 
taken to be two miles, but it varies immensely in different 
parts of India. For example in Chutia Nagpur it is the 
distance a branch could be carried green. A traveller, 
when starting on a foot journey, broke a branch from the 
nearest tree and reckoned the number of koses he went 
by renewing the branch when it withered. A " Gdu kos " 
(so called in the north of Bihar) is the distance at which the 
lowing of a cow can be heard. It means " a small kos." 

Iq the above proverb the palm for deep cunning is 
given to one blind of one eye, who would seem to be 
especially obnoxious. Another proverb says of him : 

f^T^ '^•T *?'5 *r^ TTni Bii'le kdn hhae hhal mdnukh, i.e. 
Rarely do you meet with a one-eyed man who is a gentle- 
man (a good man). 

Compare also the following Urdu saying on the same 
subject, where a forced pun is made on the Arabic word 
JS = "i&." 

C)-^- cT?'* J'^ '■^J-!^ 1^ C>^ry'^ j-^^ ^ ci.^ 

Kane ki hadzdtiydh hain mere dil men yaqln, 
Aya liai Quran men, kan min alkdfrln. 


"Of the wickedness of the one-eyed I am thoroughly 
convinced, because even in the Koran it is said that ' the 
one-eyed is among the unbelievers ! ' " 

Also compare the following warning against a bastard : 

Sat hath ghora se dariye, chaudah hath matirdl 
Hath anganit wa se dariye, jekar jat pheticdl. 

i.e. Keep seven cubits away from a horse and fourteen 
from a drunkard, but ever so far (literally, " innumerable 
hands ") from a bastard (literally, " a mixture ") ! 

The following story is related of the acuteness of a one- 
eyed man : He laid a wager with a man who had both 
his eyes, that he, with his one eye, could see more 
than his friend with two eyes, and proved it thus : he, 
with his one eye, saw his friend's tico eyes, whereas his 
friend with his two eyes could only see his one ! This 
specious reasoning is a good illustration of what the 
logicians call the fallacy of division. The fallacy turns 
on the word " more." 

252. Beware of grey eyes. 

Sau men phUli, sahasr men kdndh 
Sawa Idkh men aincha tdndn, 
Aineha tdndh kahe pukdr, 
Kaiima se rahiyo hoshiar. 

The man with a cataract in his eye is one in a hundred 


(for rascality), the one-eyed is one in a thousand, the 
squint-eyed is one in a lakh and twenty-five thousand ; 
but the squint-eyed man proclaims to all the world, 
"beware of the grey-eyed man." 

(Meaning that there is one even more wicked than 

253. Warnings against men with certain peculiarities. 

Kotah gardan, kalla daraj, naklmnan nain kahutar-hdj, 
Kariya Brahman gor chamdr, hdnar hdn unt bhidnhar, 
Inka sang na utrm par, bhore hisre gota mar. 

J^ever go on a journey with any of the following {lit. 
never cross a river, meant figuratively for never associate 
or travel in company of the following) : — One with a 
short neck, one with a wide mouth (or one who has a long 
tongue), one who has a cataract in his eye, a pigeon 
fancier, a black Brahman, a fair Chamdr, a monkey, a 
one-eyed man, a camel, and B.Bhiimhdr Bdhhan : otherwise 
you will be duped before you are aware and come to 
grief {lit. any slip, mistake, or forgetfulness on your part 
will be taken advantage of bj' them and you will find 
yourself floundering (diving) in water). 

A black Brdhman and a fair Chamdr are proverbially 

There is a story about a camel and a monkey crossing 
in a boat. The monkey frightened the camel by attempt- 
ing to get on to his neck and in moving about in his fright 
he sank the boat. 



254. When there is a will there is a way (mind com- 
pared to a blacksmith). 

^TTT ^ITT ^"V ^T -W^ WK 

Manican lohdr jo man ke dhare, 
Dhedhar pit he chokha kare, 
Mamcdn lohdr jo man man kare, 
Chokho men kuchh dhokha kare. 

If the blacksmith called "Mind" makes up his mind, 
he can hammer very inferior iron and improve it ; but the 
same blacksmith, if unwilling, will spoil the best of iron. 

E.E. Where there is a will there is a way. 

This is a play on the word TfT "Man," mind or will. 
%ST; and '^t^rr "Dhedhar and Chokha" are inferior and 
superior iron respectively. The former is unmalleable : 
the latter malleable. 

TTI ^1 elf^ "Man man kare" is to hesitate, to be un- 
willing, to falter, to be lukewarm and half-hearted over 
a matter. The metaphor is taken from the oil lamp, 
which, when the oil is nearly burnt, flickers with a 
murmuring sound before going out, " uncertain whether 
it should burn on' or go out." 

255. What houses are on the certain road to ruin (ac- 
cording to Ghdgh the poet). 

t^^ ^fT ^ntl iff ^'f 


Baniijak data thahurak km, 
Baidaka put li/ddh nahih chlnh, 
Bhatak chup chiip besicak mail 
Kaheh Ghagh p)dncho ghar gail. 
A generous banlya, a mean landlord, a son of a phy- 
sician ignorant of the diagnosis of disease, a silent bhdt, 
and an unclean courtezan, are all five, according to 
Ghagh, on the road to ruin (i.e. not up to their calling) ! 
^ " K" marks the possessive case, e.g. (lit.) the generosity 
of a haniya, the meanness of a landlord, etc. ^rj ^t^ 
"Chup chip" means speaking in a hesitating manner, 
not outspoken, f^ " Hln" is here little, the opposite 
of generous as all landlords ought to be. 

i.e. It does not do for the niggardly haniya, whose sole 
object in life is to hoard money by disgraceful self-denials, 
to be generous. If a landlord, who, on the contrary, 
ought to be generous and noble-minded, takes to petty 
ways, he undoubtedly disgraces his position, or in other 
words a haniya cannot save money and at the same time be 
generous, nor can a landlord be niggardly and keep up 
his reputation of being generous. A son of a physician, 
if .anything, ought to be able to recognize diseases. A 
hliat or extempore bard lives by his wit and ready tongue; 
if he is therefore hesitating and not ready of speech, he is 
sure to fail in obtaining a livelihood. The courtezan, if 
unclean, will not be sought after. 



Proverbs Relating to Peculiarities and Traits, 
Characteristic of Certain Castes and Classes. 

Ahlrs or Goalds {milkmen). 
256. An AMr knows only how to sing his Lorik ballad. 

^tfr^ ^Tf% ^ ^n^tf WIT 

Ketnon ahira liohin seydna, 
Lorik chhdri na gdivahindna. 

An Ahlr (milkman), however clever, will sing nothing 
else but his Lorik. 

^"^ Lori is a deified Ahir hero, in whose praise the 
Ahlrs always sing. It is their one tribal song. When an 
Ahlr is asked to sing, he invariably sings nothing else but 
the Lorik ballad. 

Lorik, according to a legend told by Mr. J. C. Nesfield 
in a recent number of the Calcutta Review (quoted in 
the Pioneer of the 13th March, 1888), was an Ahlr hero 
or prince, who held the fort of Gaura, his native city. It 
was the stronghold of the Ahlrs. His adventures and his 
fight with the Cheru warrior King Makara, who had his 
fort in Pipri, are related at length by Mr. Nesfield. Lorik 
was subsequently killed by Beosi, one of the surviving 
sons of Makara, and the founder of the Musahar tribe, 
also called after him, Deosiya or children of Deosi. There 


is, therefore, a traditional enmity between the Ahirs and 
the Deosiyas or Musahars, as shown by the following 
proverb still current among both tribes : 
" Jab tali j'nce Deosii/a 
Ahlr na chhdje gdi." 
i.e. " As long as a Deosiya is alive the Ahlr will get no 
good out of his cows." 

The story of Lor Hi is also given at length in vol. viii. 
of the Reports of the Archaeological Survey of India. 

257. Receipt given by the cunning Kdeth to the burly 

Kachahri he hdJci ban ke asul, 
Lathi ha hdthe rdut hehdk. 

What was due to the office (of the Zemindar) was 
recovered in the wood. The Rdui, who is armed with 
a club, is granted this receipt in full. 

This was the ambiguous receipt given by the clever 
Kdeth (or man of the caste of scribes), who was waylaid 
by a burly 7n"^rr Rdiit or Godla in the jungle, and 
threatened with a thrashing if he did not grant him a 
receipt in full at once on the spot for any rent due from 
him, under the impression that he was thus over-reaching 
the wily Pativdri (accountant). But the Kdeth proved 
more cunning than the Rdut, and gave him the above 
receipt, which could be read between the lines. The 
Rdut, satisfied that he had got what he wanted, let 
the Kdeth go. The next day, to his great surprise, he 
found he had to pay in court more than all his due. 

Raid is the social title of a milkman. 


-S7i'rZi(7r;'=court. It is the office of the landlord of a 
"village where rent is paid in by the tenants and receipt 
granted by the Paticari. 

Said when one has to give up under compulsion. 

258. The young barber practises on the AJilr's head. 

Kate ahtr ka sikhe beta naila Jca. 

The barber's son learns to shave on the Ahir's head, 
whicb he cuts freely {lit. the Ahir's head is, but the 
barber's son learns !). 

When the barber wants to teach his son his art he 
usually chooses the foolish milkman to practise on. 

Said to exemplify the stupidity of the Ahtr, who is 
usually credited with little sense, also when one profits at 
the expense of another. 


259. Hair splitting about difference of castes. 

Tin Kanaujiya terah chulha. 

Three Kanaiijiyas (a tribe of Brahmans) and thirteen 
cooking places {i.e. for separate cooking) ! 

The ^»ftf5l^T Kanaujiya Brahmans are the proverbial 
sticklers about caste differences : with them a hundred 
obstacles have to be overcome and shades of restricting 
gotra rules have to be examined before two Kanaujiyas 
can eat from the same pot. It is therefore an exaggerated 
way of putting the differences which very often split up 
a small community. Another way of saying the same 
proverb in an accentuated form is Tin Kanaujiya tenmh 
chulha, i.e. when three Kanaujiyas come together, adieu 


to all eating {Ht. "thou cooking place shalt be set aside, 
because there will be so much altercation about caste 
differences that there will be no cooking "). 

260. The Pdnre does not practise what he preaches. 

An ke panre sikhivan des, dp dhimiliya khds. 

The Pdnre (teacher) would teach others ; but he him- 
self stumbles {lit. staggers and falls, trips). 

tjf^ "Pdnre" is a sect of Brahmans : here for one who 
sets himself up as a teacher. 

f%tirf^rm BhimUiya or dhammunyan khds is staggers 
and falls, reels, stumbles. 

The meaning is that he pretends to instruct and show 
the road, while he himself is stumbling. Oast at one who 
does not practise what he preaches. 

261. A Kdeth wants payment, a Brahman feeding, and 
paddy and betel watering, but low castes only kicks to 
make them do their work. 

^^<1 ^fT^ f^f %W" t%" ^TTfflf f^^W 

^JT'T TJTT iTf^^^l%°' ^T TT? WTfrl ^srfTT^W 
Kdeth kichhn lelen delen, Bardhman khiaulen, 
Blidn pdn paniaulm, aur rdr jdti latiaulen. 
A Kdeth does what you want on payment, a Brahman 
on being fed, paddy and betel on being watered, but a low 
caste man on being kicked. 

T!T^ ^tlT " Rdr jdti" are the low caste. — (Grierson.) 
A variation of this is (in Shahabad) : 

^•R^ % ^^ i^ ^% ^Ff »r ^ fi^^% 
x:^^ % ^>^ ^\^ 5iPf ^ffT^^^ 

Kdyath ke kuchh Me dele, bdrnhan ke khilaole, 
Bajput ke hodh bddh, ndnh latiaole. 



262. A barber's weddin?. 

Naua he hariyat, sab thkure thakur. 

In the marriage processioa of a barber every one is a 
thakur ; i.e. the marriage procession of a barber consists 
of people who style themselves " lords and masters " only. 

<j \<*T. " Thakur," — in common parlance a barber is styled 
thakur, which literally means " a lord," " a master." 

Said in joke when each one in a company thinks him- 
self the leading spirit or master. Barbers and boat- 
men are credited with being more helpful to their fellow 
caste men than the high caste people, who are only good 
for empty talk ; they never help one another. 

'ft-^ "W^z "^^^ mr( ^wr ^>t ^ f^i mr\ 

Nauwa kenwat chlnhejdt, barka log ke chikkan bat. 

The barber and boatmen are the only people who 
recognize their caste fellows [i.e. who help them). The 
high caste are only good at fine talk ! 

In the polite language of the people each profession 
has its civil style of address, e.g. a barber and also a 
blacksmith are styled thakur, a washerman is baretha ; 
a carpenter is mistri (perhaps a corruption of ' magister,' 
through the Portuguese) ; a tailor is khalifa ; a sweeper is 
mihtar and also jamaddr, etc. 

(The word thakur in the proverb is used with a certain 
amount of sneer.) 

Baniya (shopman). 

263. The owed baniya gives further tick. 

Antka baniydn sauda kare. 


The owed haniya deals willingly [i.e. gives further tick) ! 

The meaning is, that the '^fsf^T haniija, whom you 
owe money, will be very willing that you should not 
break with him, but continue dealing ; and hence he will 
be ready to give you further loans or things on credit. 

Bdbhan ("bastard" Brahmans). 

264. A Bahhan, a dog, and a hhdt are always at variance 
with their own castes. 

^%^ ^TTf ^ ^T VCiZ ^TrH- ^T<ft ^fz 

Bdmhan kukur hhdnt,jaHjdti Ididnt. 
Bdbhans, dogs, and bards are always at variance with 
their own caste (kind). 
A variation is 

^TTfl^fTIT^ ^Tfft ^T^'^ ^T^ 

Bdmhan kulmr hdthi, jdtijdti khdthi. 

Bdhhans, dogs, and elephants can never agree with their 
own kind. 

" Khdnt " in the first proverb means crooked, not 
coinciding or agreeing ; hence quarrelsome. 

265. A Bdbhan never to be believed. 

Sil sut haribans lai, blch gang ke dhdr, 
Etek lai bahhna tauna karah itibdr. 
If a Bdbhan swears by the ammonite, his son, the 
Haribans, and in the midst of the Ganges, don't believe 
him . — (Grierson .) 

The reader is referred to an excellent note on the 
various forms of oaths prevailing in the Province of Bihar 



in Mr. Grierson's "Bihar Peasant Life" {vide para. 1451, 
page 401 of the " Bihar Peasant Life "). 

266. One Bhuinhdr Bdbhan is equal to seven Chamdrs. 

8dt chamdr, ek bhuinhdr. 
One Bhuinhdr Bdbhan is equal (in meanness) to seven 
Chamdrs (leather-workers). 
A variation is 

Sdt chamdr na ek bhuinhdr, sdt bhuinhdr na ek nonidr. 
i.e. Seven Chamdrs are not equal to one Bhuinhdr Bdbhan, 
and seven Bhuinhdr Bdbhans are not equal to one Nonidr 
Banii/a (a tribe of shopkeepers), who is said to heat them 
all in meanness, parsimony, and the disgraceful self- 
denials by which they save money. 

Barhai {Carpenter). 

267. A pretentious barhai or carpenter. 

R^^ If ^t^^^ ^€T fsr^T^T ^fl^ TT ^^^f 

Ihe barhaiyu gdon kamainhen jinka hasula na rukhdn. 
This carpenter would serve the village when he has 
neither chisel nor adze. 

Said of one who undertakes to do a thing without pos- 
sessing the means. — (Grierson.) 

Chamdrs {Shoemakers and Cobblers). 

268. When shoemakers quarrel, the king's saddle suffers. 
:^^c iflfft JtV^ ^TTt t^ ^^ "<;T5IT ^ ^1 

Monchi monchi lardi hoe, phate raja kejln. 
In the fight of the saddlers (shoemakers) the saddle of 



the Raja gets torn, i.e. in contending who should have 
the work. 

E.E. " Too many cooks spoil the broth." 

The sad result to the object of dispute when two of the 
same trade fight over it, was once actually illustrated, 
though somewhat tragically, in Benares, the sacred place 
of pilgrimage, where previous to the ceremony each 
pilgrim has to be shaved. Two barbers fought hard for 
the possession of a poor pilgrim's head. At last one got 
hold of it, and, not to lose time, at once commenced opera- 
tions, when his foiled brother also began shaving from the 
opposite side. In the scuffle which ensued, the unfortu- 
nate pilgrim received a deep gash, and had to be carried 
away to the hospital. 

269. A shoemaker's daughter with an aristocratic name ! 

Chamar ke beti ndoh Rajraniydn. 

The daughter of a shoemaker, and her name is Raja- 
rani (i.e. the Queen of a King) ! 

Said in ridicule of low-caste people, who have afiected 
names, after the manner of their superiors. A low-caste 
man [e.g. a Chamar) will behave, it is said, after his low- 
bred fashion, no matter with whom he has to deal, because 
it is not in his nature to appreciate respectability. See, 
for instance, the treatment which the Chamar accords to 
the revered sandal wood and the use to which he puts it. 

'g?^ tj^T '^'ITT ^■^ f^a ^f^ ^ '^T^T 

Chandan para chamar ghar, nit uthi kute cham, 
Chandan bechdra ka kare ? para rdr se kdm. 
It fell to the lot of the sandal wood to be in a Chamar' s 


house. He used it daily for pounding leather. What 
could the helpless sandal wood do, having to deal with 
a low-caste man (this treatment was inevitable) ? 

Darji [Tailor). 

270. Sticking to his last. 

'I'OO ^^ ^ ^ U^ JT^ ^cH ff^ cl^ €trlT 
Barji ke put jab takjlta tab tak sUa. 
The son of a tailor ; he will sew as long as he lives. 
Said to express attachment to one's profession or to 
express in a sneering way that one will never rise above 
his low (class) habits. 

Dhobi (Washerman). 

271. The Dhobi and his ass. 

IT T^f T ^ -^WK 'fl-WT 

Na dhobia ke dusarjanawar, 
Na gadha ke dusar mauar. 

There is no other animal suited to a Dhobi's use (besides 
the donkey), nor is there another master who needs the 
use of the donkey (besides the Dhobi). 

i.e. Each suits the other. No caste will keep an ass. 
In the social scale the Dhobi or washerman ranks the 
lowest, in one respect, because he washes the soiled 
clothes of women in childbed, who are ceremonially 
unclean. A Dom even (who is really of the lowest 
caste) will not eat food from a Dhobi's hand. One 
of his {Dam's) common oaths is to swear that if he 
does so and so, may he eat out of a Dhobi's hand. 
^T efiT ■51'lB >ift^ "TV^ Dom ka jante dhobi nlch, "To a 


Dom a D/whi is low," i.e. in the estimation of a Dom a Dhohi 
is lower than himself. But the Agliori fakir (who eats 
out of everybody's hand, and is the filthiest living man) 
even heats the Dom. Compare, e.g. the saying ^fr ^T^ 
■^^■^ % Dom hare aghori se. A Dom is defeated by an 
Aghori only. A story is told of an over- credulous Dhabi 
(or washerman), who was childless, and was constantly 
upbraided for this misfortune by his scolding wife. This 
preyed upon his mind very much, and was a permanent 
cause of unhappiness to the couple. One day, in the course 
of his work, he went to the house of the town Kdzi (or 
magistrate). He heard the Kazi reproaching one of his 
pupils in this wise : " Not long ago you were a jackass ; I 
made a man of you," etc. The Dhohi did not wait to hear the 
rest. He hastened home with all speed and told his wife 
that he had made a discovery which they were to lose no 
time in utilizing. " The Kdzi, my dear," said the Dhohi, 
" can make a man of a donkey. Why should we fret any 
longer for a child ? let us take our donkey to him and 
beg of him to transform him." The Dhohi and his 
wife, with their donkey, were shortly after this con- 
versation on their way to the Kdzi. Their mission 
being explained, with many supplications, the Kdzi, 
quick- sighted, and with an eye to business, accepted 
the charge, and promised to efi^ect the metamorphosis in 
a year. The Dhohi on his part promised to give his 
services free for that period. A year passed in waiting 
and in happy hopes. On the appointed day the Dhohi and 
his companion presented themselves before the Kdzi. The 
Kdzi took them aside and pointed out a strong young man 
among his pupils. "There," he whispered to the Dhohi, 
" is your donkey. You see the change : now persuade 


him and take Mm home." The DhoU and his wife flew 
to their newly-created son, and with many endearing 
terms prepared to embrace him and made other aflection- 
ate advances. Amazed at this unaccountable conduct of 
these low people, the lad resisted, at first, but as they 
persisted he grew furious. After receiving many a cuff 
from the lad, a happy idea struck the Dhohi's wife : turn- 
ing to her husband she said, " Go you and fetch his peg, 
rope, and grain bag ; perhaps they may remind him 
of what he was once." The Dhohi in hot haste went 
home and fetched them. But it seemed to make 
matters worse. The Dhohi held up each of these 
articles to the young man's view, and said, in the 
most persuasive tone he could command, " Come 
home, my son, do you forget the day you were my 
donkey ; this was the peg to which I would tether 
you, this your tether rope, and this your food bag, come 
to your home ! " By this time a jeering crowd had 
gathered round the young man, and this so infuriated 
him, that he turned to and gave the Bhobi the soundest 
thrashing he had ever received in his life. The poor 
dupe of a Dhohi (the story says) went home thoroughly 
convinced that it was far better to have a childless home, 
than one with such a child ; and also convinced that 
what fate had ordained it was useless to fight against, 
looking upon his punishment as a just return for his 

272. Washermen wash best under competition. 

Dhohi par dhohi hase, tah kapra par sdbun pare. 
No soap ever touches clothes unless many washermen 


live together (■when, owing to competition, they wash 
well) . — Grrierson. 

273. The washerman never tears his father's clothes. 
R^^ ^ifN^^ ^PT %^ "N^ Tff WZ 

Dliohik hap her kichhu nalim phat. 

Nothing belonging to a washerman's father is ever torn 
by him. 

i.e. Those are the only clothes about which he is careful. 
A washerman's donkey is a bye- word, as in the proverb : 

^^n ^ 'T ^>^ itt^' v^^ ^ T ^t^ T^fTf 1 

Gadha he na dosar gosaiydn, dhohiya ke na dosar parolwn. 

An ass has only one master (a washerman), and the 
washerman has only one steed (a donkey). This is a 
variation of Proverb No. 271. No other caste, except the 
Dhobi, will own the ass, as it is considered derogatory. 

274. The dhohi, the tailor, and the barber are always 

Dhobi nau darji, i tlnu algarji. 

There are three careless people, the washerman, the 
tailor, and the barber. — (Grierson.) 

■^^^T^ " -Algarji " means without care or concern ; 
here it means that they are inclined to be independent. 
(It is a fact that these three workmen take everything as 
it comes in the most cool manner. They do not seem to 
trouble themselves much about pleasing their customers ; 
it would seem to be all the same to them whether they 
get work or not. They never try to raise themselves 
above immediate want or provide for the future. Of im- 


provident workers these three are no doubt the most 
improvident. It cannot be said that they do not work 
hard, but this they do fitfully, as necessity pinches them.) 

275. A dhoU is likely to starve in the village of the 

J a kejahdn na gun lahe ta ke tahan na thdon, 
Dhobi has ke ka kare digambar ke gaon. 
Where one cannot find a market for his talents, it is 
useless for him to stay {lit. his place is not there) : for 
example, what occupation will a dhohi find in a village 
of people who possess no clothes ? 

t^<|4c(<; " Digambar," see note to Proverb I^o. 94. 
Said sarcastically when an artisan or labourer does not 
find work, or his skill is not appreciated. 


276. A Kayath, essentially a man of figures. 

LekJie jokhe thahe, larika bur Ian kahe. 

The depth was calculated and an average struck : why 
then was the child drowned ? i.e. if the stream was found 
to be fordable, after sounding and calculating, how came 
the child to be drowned ? 

^4^1 Wf^ " Lekha jokha," arithme.tic (lit. lekha is 
account and. jokha is weighing). 

There is a story connected with this saying illustrating 
that the Kayath is essentially a man of figures. 

Once a Kayath, with his son, was going on a journey. 


He came to a stream. As he was uncertain of its depth, 
he proceeded to sound it ; and having discovered the 
depth to be variable, he struck an average. The average 
depth being what his son could ford, he ordered him, 
unhesitatingly, to walk through the stream, with the sad 
consequence that the boy was drowned. 

Said sarcastically when great and elaborate efforts are 
put forth or great show is made with a barren or sad 

277. Sinning in good company. 

I^IT ^% ITffl ^^ 

Sat pdnch kdyath eh santohh, 
Gadha Maine ndhin dokh. 

Among several (sinning) Kdyaths, if there happens to 
be one devout (contented) man, even if they should eat 
donkey's meat, it is no sacrilege. 

There is a story told that once on a time the landlord 
of a village, chiefly inhabited by Kdyaths, had a tame 
deer, which his neighbours regarded with greedy eyes. 
The village took fire and every house in it was burnt 
to ashes. Among the ashes was found a roasted carcass, 
which all concluded to be that of the deer, as it was 
always, for safety's sake, kept tethered. Those who had 
so long had their eyes on the poor deer set to and had 
a good feast on it. But not long after, to their great 
surprise, the deer (which had broken loose) turned up. 
On subsequent inquiry it was found that what they had 
feasted on was not the deer, but an unfortunate jackass. 
Among the people who had so indulged there happened 
to be a Bhagat (a very religious man), so one of the 


Kayaths, quite equal to the occasion, explained that even 
eating donkey's meat was no sin, provided it was done 
in good company : hence the above saying. 

It is a chaff against the Kdijaths ; also said sarcastically 
when any one argues that sinning in good company is 
no sin. 

278. A. Kdyath is helpless without pen and paper. 

Kdyath ka kdgaje men mjhela. 

The Kdyath can only see in his paper. 

The ^T^T^ Kdyath, who is a born quill-driver, utterly 
fails in action. Said in chaff of a Kdyath or of any one 
who is nothing without his papers ; useless in action. 

279. Kayaths, crows, and sweepings gather their own 

^'0<i WT^TSr f T^ '^I^T ^'ff ^fT TTt^^^T 

Kdyath kurkut kauwa tlnon jdt posauwa. 
Kdyaths, sweepings, and crows are the three who stick 
(keep) to one another (ift'^IWr "Posauwa," i.e. who help 
and support one another). A variation is 

Kdyath kauwa rorjdtijdt bator. 
Kdyaths, crows, and jackals collect their own kind ; i.e. 
wherever they are, they collect and support their own 
kind, are always to be found in numbers. 

280. A Kdyath, when paying cash, is the very devil. 

^>^o ^m^ ^-sr^ wr ^3\nT ^^m ^^cit 

Nagad kdyath bhut udhdr kdyath deota. 
A Kdyath, when paying cash, is the very devil (in ex- 


acting a bargain) ; but when indebted he is as meek 
as an angel. This is an especial characteristic of the 

281. A Kdyath gains when fools quarrel. 

^'=«) ^f '^rt f^gfwt ?5t '^Tn^ %^ ^ ^z ^T 

Laddu lare jhilli jhare kayath bechare ka pet Ihare. 
When Laddus come in contact (fight), bits drop out; 
the poor Kdyath thus gets his living. 

^^ "Laddu " is a sweetmeat made of sugar and cream 

in the shape of a ball, which is a conglomeration of the 
t^J^ jhilK, or drops of cream and sugar; which united 
together form the laddu. Figuratively said of a "fool" 
or " simpleton." 

The Kdyath, like a lawyer, finds his living when two 
rich men fight. Their loss is his gain. A Kdyath's 
pickings are proverbial. 

E.E. "When rogues fall out, honest men come by 
their own." 

282. Wherever three Kayaths gather together, a 
thunderbolt will fall. 

B ajar pare kahwdn tin kdyath jahwdn. 
Wherever three Kayaths gather together, a thunderbolt 
is sure to fall, i.e. some mischief is sure to result. The 
Kdyaths are notoriously people who instigate quarrels, 
especially lawsuits. 

283. Comparison of castes. 

^^tm % f TtT H^ xrfi^fi t fim f€^nT 

Kdyath se dhoU bhala, thag se bhala sondr, 
Deota se kutta bhala, pandit se bhala siydr. 



A Bhohi is better than a Kdyath, a goldsmith better 
than a cheat, a dog better than a deity, and a jackal 
better than a Pandit. 

Because a Bhohi can keep a reckoning of the clothes 
he has brought to wash in his head, and from memory 
can recognize the clothes of each when returning them ; 
whereas a Kdyath cannot do anything without writing, 
i.e. without his pen, ink, and paper (see Proverb No. 278). 
A goldsmith is better than a cheat, because he cheats you 
more cleverly under the cover of his art, and is not 
known as a cheat at all. A dog is contented with what- 
ever you give him and is always faithful ; whereas a god 
always expects you to offer him of the best you have, and 
any remissness in your devotion brings down on you his 
wrath. A Pandit cannot foretell, unless he has his books 
and holy writs by him to consult, but a jackal (if you 
know how to interpret the omens) always foretells with 
certainty whether an undertaking will be successful or not. 

Another proverb speaks of his [Kdyath's) sharp prac- 
tices, and ranks him, for shrewdness, just below an 
"adulterer," who must be sharp to elude detection. 

^i^ t 'itTT ^Tt!f ft^ ^^I^ ^ '^T ^T^'lV 

Khatri se gora pdndu rogi, Kdyath se chatur parhhogi. 

An Albino only is fairer than a Khatri ; and an 
adulterer only is sharper than a Kdyath. 

i§^ " Khatris" are usually very fair. (It is com- 
monly said that this caste originated in a liaison between 
a Brdhman woman and a Kdyath.) Parhhogi is lit. one 
who eats or enjoys another's property. 

284. The three people who dance in other's houses. 
Par ghar ndchen tin jane Kdyath, haid, daldl. 


The three people who dance in other's houses are the 
Kdyath, the Physician, and the Broker. 

i.e. The three classes of men who profit by the. mis- 
fortune of others (in other words who "loot" them) are 
the Kdyath, the Physician, and the Broker. 

" To dance in another's house " is, figuratively, " to live 
on their earnings," " to enjoy at their expense." 

285. A Kurmi always untrustworthy. 

Paihal par jo jdme ghurmi, 
Tahahun nan dpan hokhe kurmi. 

It is sooner possible for the tender creeper ghurmi to 
take root on a rock than for the Kurmi to be your own, 
i.e. to be one whom you can trust. 

The cfi^jft " Kurmis " (a caste supposed to be allied to 
the Kahdrs, but ethnologically, perhaps, quite different. 
Some say the Kurmis are an aboriginal race) are pro- 
verbially untrustworthy and selfish. It is commonly sup- 
posed that no amount of favour shown to a Kurmi will 
ever make him a reliable friend or grateful to you. Re- 
garding their deep-rooted litigiousness and obstinacy, an 
experienced Indigo Planter in Tirhut told the writer 
that he would rather have any other caste than the 
Kurmi to fight against in a lawsuit ; for a Kurmi was so 
obstinate that he would fight to the last pice he possessed. 
He had, in his varied experience of the different Bihar 
districts, known instances where Kurmis had maintained 
an unequal lawsuit until reduced to beggary ; and even 
then they would not rest quiet, but instigated others to 



figlit. They are very spiteful. They are spread all over 
Bihar, but are found in great numbers in Patna, where 
they follow all manner of professions. They are great 
sticklers about caste, and pretend to be very strict 
Hindus. But they are looked down on by the higher 
castes and treated by them as a menial class. 

Kumhar {Potter). 

286. A Kumhar sleeps secure. 

Niehint sute himhra matiya na lejdye chor. 

The potter sleeps secure, for no one will steal clay. 

He who has nothing to lose does not fear thieves. — 

A variation of this proverb is, 

Gog (name of a man who had no one in this world) 
sleeps secure, as he has no children or family to cause 
him anxiety. 


287. A Musalman, a parrot, and a hare are never 

R^^ 5^^ tTtfTT ^ ^TTft^ 

Turuk tota au khargos, 
I tinon nan mane pos. 
A Musalman, a parrot, and a hare, these three are 
never grateful. 

A Mohamedan is still called a Turuk by the Hindus, 
no doubt from the fact of the early Mohamedans being 
Turks, just as the Europeans are still called Ferangis by 
the Indians from the early French (Franks). 


288. To a Musalman give toddy, to a bullock khemdri. 

RT=^ 5^^ fTPft t^ ^^TTV 

Ticruk tari, hail khensari. 

To a Musalman (give) toddy, and to an ox Khensari, 
i.e. each, to his taste. 

The following is quoted from Mr. Grierson's book on 
" Bihar Peasant Life." 

^fl^nr^ "Khensari" {Lathyrus sativa), a kind of pea. 
It is unwholesome for human beings, but bullocks eat it 
greedily, e.g. in the saying : 

Turiik tari hail khensari Baman am Kayath kam. 

Toddy is necessary for a Musalman's happiness, khen- 
sari for a bullock's, mangoes for a Brahman's, and employ- 
ment for a Kayaih's. 

The Mlyanji {or Family Tutor). 

289. When the Mlyanji is at the door, it is a bad look 
out for the dog. 

Jekra duar par miyan ji, 

Tekra ghare kukur kejuthphenkaljay. 

Is there ever any food thrown to the dogs in the house 
of one at whose door sits the family tutor? i.e. the family 
tutor eats up all the leavings, and there is nothing left for 
the poor dog. 

lf\^f ^ " Miydn ji" is a typical character in the Bihar 
family circle. He is usually a poor Musalman struggling 
for existence. Having acquired a smattering of Persian, he 
considers himself above manual labour ; while on the other 


hand he is not sufficiently educated for any respectable 
intellectual employment. He therefore finds work as a 
teacher of children with some well-to-do family on a mere 
pittance and board. His place is at the door, where he 
instructs the children of the family in the rudiments. He 
is but tolerated and treated with scant courtesy. His 
share of food (for which he has often to wait very long) 
is doled out daily from the Zanana ; and he is not above 
accepting any remnants of food that may be added to his 
scanty meals. He is usually blessed with a good appetite, 
and no edibles need be thrown away when a Mlyartji is at 
the door. It is therefore a bad look out for the dogs of 
the house if they happen to have such a voracious rival 
as a Miydnji. 

This proverb is used sarcastically when anything need 
not be wasted owing to there being some one, who would, 
probably from poverty, be glad to accept it. 

290. The Miydnji loses his beard in praise. 

Mlyan ke darhi uah wdhe men gail. 

The beard of the Miydnji disappears in praising it ! 
i.e. each student who wanted to pay him off laid hold 
of his beard and said, " What a fine beard, sir ! " and gave 
it a tug, and thus every hair in the beard of the poor 
Miydnji was plucked ! Said when anything disappears in 
simply tasting samples of it and praising it, or when 
anything is wasted. 

The following story is told of a Miydnji, who was simi- 
larly served by one of his pupils whom he had left in charge 
of his dinner. A fowl had been cooked, but the pupil, in- 
stead of guarding the dish, went out to play, when a cat 


walked off with a leg of the fowl. The Mlydnji, on missing 
the piece, was greatly enraged, but the pupil maintained 
that the fowl had only one leg. Notwithstanding this, he 
got a severe whipping for stealing. Next day, while the 
Mlydnji was comfortably taking his midday siesta, he was 
rudely awakened by his aggrieved pupil, who came rush- 
ing to inform him that he could prove that some fowls 
had one leg only as he had said. The already enraged 
tutor soon proved to his pupil, by throwing a stone at 
the cock, which was resting on one of its legs (as fowls 
are wont to do), that it had both. Upon which the poor 
pupil got another sound beating. He remembered the 
circumstance. Another day the same kind of accident hap- 
pened, and the pupil discovered, before his master sat to his 
meal, that a leg of the fowl cooked had again disappeared. 
But this time he had got the secret of producing the lost 
leg of a fowl. When his master turned angrily that 
evening to him to demand what had become of the leg 
again, the pupil, who had provided himself with a brick- 
bat, threw it violently at the dish, saying, " There is the 
other leg," expecting that the lost leg would be at once 
forthcoming in the same way as the cock had produced 
his under the stone of the Mlydnji. But the stone broke 
the dishes and stunned the Mlydnji, and taught him to 
respect the opinions of his pupils. 

291. A Mlydnji's run is up to the mosque only. 

Mlydn ke daur malijid le. 

The Mlydnji' & run is as far as the mosque only, that 
is the length he can go and no further ; the extent of 
one's reach ; a Mlydnji is a tutor, who, when not engaged 


in his work, is usually to be found in the ^^rfsf^ Masjid. 
He has no other place to go to. A Miyanji is always at 
the door : if he goes out at all, it is to the mosque. 

Said to mock one's effort: as much as saying, "That is 
all he can do ! " 


292. A Noniya' s daughter is born to labour. 

Noniyan ke beti ka na nayihare sukh na sasure sukh. 

The daughter of a Noniya has neither ease in her 
father's house nor in her father-in-law's house. 

•rVf'TTr "Noniya." The Noniyas are a labouring class 
who find employment chiefly by extracting saltpetre, 
hence their name. 

" They are a poor and hardy race, and are the best 
labourers, and especially sought after for digging " 
(Hunter). The daughter of a Noniya would thus be 
" born to labour." Their name is connected with non 
salt. One usually enjoys more comfort in a father-in- 
law's house than at home, so the expression "to be at 
one's father-in-law's " means to be idle, to take things 
easy and do no work. Hence if one is lazily inclined, 
he is asked, "Do you fancy you are at your father- 


293. Thick-headed. 

Sute Rajput uthe ajgut. 
When asleep, he is a RajpOt ; when awake, he is a fool 
(literally, as if in wonderland), i.e. his senses are wool- 



gathering, even when awake. Said of Rajputs, who are 
proverbially thick-headed. 

Sutlira fakirs. 
294. Selfishness in Suthrd fakirs. 

Kehu mue kehujle Suthra ghor batasa pie. 

Any one may live or die, the Suthra sdhi fakir must 
have his drink of batasa and water. 

The ^T^XJ ^^ Suthra sdhis are a sect of fakirs, the 
followers of ^^'^T Suthra, who, it is said, was a disciple 
of »TT»1=B '5n^ Ndnak Shdh. They sing and play on 
wooden batons and are very persistent in begging. 
Whatever may happen, they insist on their drink of 
If^fT sharbat before allowing the dead to be taken out of 
the house. 

Said when any one selfishly insists on his object being 
served, regardless of circumstances. 

The following story is told of Suthra. He was a favourite 
disciple of Nanak Shah, and very popular with his fellow- 
disciples. He was always witty and spirited, and often 
indulged in practical jokes. On one occasion he paid 
dearly for his pranks by being ordered out of the 
monastery by his spiritual guide. After roaming about 
for some time, he appeared one evening before the 
monastery gate in the guise of a pedlar, with a pack- 
bullock, feigning he had come from a great distance with 
articles for sale, as well as ofierings to the great Nanak. 
The gate-keeper was somewhat reluctant to announce him 
at that late hour, but was prevailed on by being promised 
half of what he would receive. On entering the presence 
of his patron, instead of saluting him, he thrice went 



round his bullock and made a low obeisance to it, and 
opened the panniers, when out fell a lot of bricks and 
debris with which he had filled them. Then, turning 
round to Nanak Shah, he saluted him, and said it was to 
these bricks that he owed the honour of coming again 
into the presence of his revered patron ; therefore his 
first salutation was due to them. Enraged at this fresh 
insult, Nanak ordered him a hundred stripes. Upon 
which the cunning disciple said, " Half of it goes to the 
gate-keeper according to my promise." His clever trick 
so amused Nanak, that he pardoned Suthra and reinstated 
him in his former favour. 

Sonar (Goldsmith) . 

295. Hundred (strokes) of the goldsmith will not equal 
one of the blacksmith. 

Sau sonar he na ek lohar ke. 

A hundred (strokes) of the goldsmith are not equal to 
one of the blacksmith's. 

The goldsmith uses a tiny hammer : a hundred strokes 
from which would hardly equal one stroke from the 
ponderous sledge hammer that the blacksmith wields. 

i.e. One bold strong effort is better than a hundred 
feeble ones ! 

Said to laugh at a feeble effort ; or when one gains 
success at the first trial where another's repeated efforts 
have failed. 

Teli (Oilman). 

296. A Teli, though possessed of lakhs, cannot equal 
Raja Bhoj (in magnanimity or ^nobleness) . 


Kahdn Raja Bhoj kalian Lakhua teli. 

An oilman, however rich, can never be compared to 
Raja Bhoj. 

TTWT *fl5l "Raja Bhoj" was a king of Bhojpur, from 
whom it has taken its name. 

^^■^ ^^ " Lakhua Teli " was a rich oilman, who 
amassed a large fortune, said to be several lakhs. 

i.e. There can be no comparison between Eaja Bhoj 
and a Teli (who is a low-caste man and proverbially mean), 
though he may be possessed of lakhs. One is after all a 
nobleman, and the other a shopkeeper. 

Jolha (Weaver). 

297. The weaver bearing the sins of others. 

'^e^ %I ?iT^ ar^lT ^TW ^-RT WT^IT 

Khet khay gadha maral jay jolha. 
The ass eats the crop, but the weaver is beaten for it. 
The '^'^%^ jolha " weaver" is the proverbial scapegoat 
of Indian society. A veritable "lodging-house cat"! 

298. The weaver as a cultivator. 

Pdica har ka humna kheti karha ah. 

I have found the rear peg of a plough, now I will at 
once take to farming. 

:^^»!T " Humna " "is the peg which passes through the 
shaft at the end of the plough" (Grrierson). Meant for 
the smallest part of a plough. This saying is ascribed 
to a Mohamedan weaver (^^^T jolha) who by accident 
found a " humna." He is the proverbial fool of Indian 


299. The weayer penny wise and pound foolish. 

Sarbas fidron gaj hhar na phdron. 

I will lose all, but still I shall not tear out a yard of 
cloth (or rather lose all than tear a yard of cloth). He is 
supposed here to be haggling for a yard of cloth which 
the customer wants, but which he under no circumstances 
will give. 

This is another of the many proverbs aimed at the 
obstinacy of the Mohamedan weaver. 

E.E. " Penny wise and pound foolish." 

300. A whip does not make an equestrian. 

^00 tl^ XIT^ ^fr^T ^TWt TIT ^^ ^T ^^n?? ^>fT 

Para pay a kora, bald raha thora, jin lagdm ghora. 

I have come by a whip accidentally : the rest is easy (to 
find), namely, a saddle, bridle, and a horse ! 

Similar proverb to No. 298. 

Applied to those who having just made a beginning, or 
having got the least bit of anything, are so confident 
as to make light of the trouble required in attaining 
the rest. 

301. A weaver's daughter aping her betters. 

Jolahin ke beti ka bubu ke sadh. 

The daughter of a weaver has a longing to call her 
sister " bubu " (in imitation of her betters). 

^W " Bubu" is the familiar term by which elder sisters 
are called in respectable Mohamedan families. 

Said when one tries to ape the ways of higher people. 


302. A weaver proud as a king with a gagra full of 
rice only. 

Oagrln andj bhail jolhan raj hhail. 

As soon as a weaver gathers a vessel full of grain, he 
becomes as proud as a king, i.e. a weaver has only to get 
a vessel full of grain, when he feels as proud as a king. 

Also cast at those who show pride on possessing very 

303. The avaricious weaver. 

Jolha batore nari nari khoda miyan les eke beri. 

The Jolha (weaver) gathers laboriously very small quan- 
tities at a time, but God sweeps away all (his gatherings) 
at once. (Compare Proverb No. 12.) 

•nc^ " Nari" is the small tube inside the shuttle with 
the thread wound round it. Aimed at those who take 
great pains to collect money, but lose it all at once. 
Mohamedan weavers are proverbially misers as well as 
everything nasty. 

By " God " is meant Fate rather than God. Said 
sarcastically, but with an air of earnestness. 

A variation of this proverb is : 

Wt^fT ^TT^^ IT^ "IT^ " Jolha chordwas nari nari." 
^^ ^Tl^^ ^"iWr " l^hocla chordioas pola." 

i.e. the Jolha steals little cotton at a time, but God takes 
away bales. 

304. The weaver asks to be let oflf fasting, but gets 
saddled with prayers. 


Jolha gaile roja baJcsdwe nimaj paral gare. 

The weaver went to have his fasting pardoned, but 
became burdened with prayers {lit. prayers fell on his 

The jolha went to his spiritual guide to beg that he 
may be let off keeping fast, but, on the contrary, he was 
saddled with prayers, i.e. he was directed, in addition to 
fasting, to pray five times a day according to the 
Mohamedan religion. 

Said wben one prays to be let off, but in answer gets 
burdened with additional penalty or trouble. 

305. The weaver suffers on leaving his loom. 

Karigah chhor tamashajay, ndnhak chotjoldha khdy. 

The weaver leaves his loom to see the fun, and for no 
reason gets hurt. Alludes to the story of & jolha who got a 
thrashing on his going to see a ram fight, i.e. he is such 
a stupid that he never can step out of his house without 
getting into trouble. The '^ jolha " feels nowhere at home 
except at bis loom. 

306. Id without weavers ! 

Binan jolahe Id. 

Id without weavers ! i.e. can there be ^^ Id without 
^([^^jolhas (weavers)? 

The jol/ias and other low Mohamedans take the occasion 
of the Id to indulge in uproarious merriment by drinking 
toddy. The Id is a solemn festival in which good 


Mohamedans never drink. Said when any one is indis- 
pensable on a festive occasion. Same application as 
Proverb 104. 

^ TnTt ^ UTT -S^ Gdngo he jJmmar. 

307. A weaver makes a sad hash when required to reap 
a field. 

Jolha jdnathi jao kate. 

Does a weaver know how to cut barley ? 

" Refers to a story that a weaver unable to pay his debt 
was set to cut barley by his creditor, who thought to repay 
himself in this way. But instead of reaping, the stupid 
fellow kept trying to untwist the tangled barley stems " 

Another story told of the weaver as an agriculturist is 
that he, jointly with another man, sowed sugar-cane. 
When the crop was ripe, on being asked whether he 
would have the top or the stem, said, " Of course the 
top." When reproached by his wife for his stupidity, 
he said he would never again make such a mistake. The 
next crop they sowed was Indian corn. When the time 
for gathering came round, he told his friend that he was 
not to be made a fool of this time, and would have the 
lower part. His friend gave him what he wanted. 

308. The weaver going to cut grass at sunset, 
^oc ci^ '^^^ ^T^ li ^^IT ^'5r^ ^^ % 

Kauwa chalal bds ke jolha ohalal ghds ke. 

The weaver went to cut grass (at sunset), when even the 
crows were going home (Grierson). 


309. The weaver tries to swim in a linseed field. 

^OQ. ^^f T ^fw'^t ^^ %fr 

Jolha bhutiaile tlsi khet. 

The weaver lost his way in a linseed field. 

The allusion is to the following comical exploit of certain 
jolhas (weavers). Once seven of them started on a moon- 
light journey. They had not gone very far from their 
home when they lost the road. After trying to find their 
way, they came to a linseed field, which they took to he a 
river as the field was in flower, and they fancied the blue 
colour of the flower to be that of water. They stripped 
themselves and began swimming. After hard labour they 
got across. To make certain that no one was drowned, 
they took the precaution of counting themselves before 
resuming their journey, but they discovered that one of 
them was missing as each counter forgot to count himself. 
Grieved at the loss of one of their company, they had not 
the heart to pursue their journey, but returned home ! 
The following quotation from 0. Kingsley's " The Eoman 
and the Teuton" (1864), p. 184, shows how these stories 
travel over the world : " A madness from God came over 
the Herules (the Heruli were a tribe of Huns), and 
when they came to a field of fiax, they took the blue 
flowers for water and spread out their arms to swim 
through, and were all slaughtered defencelessly." 

310. The weaver's wife. 

Bahsali jolhini bdpak darhi noche. 
The wilful weaver's wife will pull her own father's 


To pull the beard is to offer the greatest insult to a 
Mohamedan (Grierson). 

311. Weavers' and shoemakers' promises never to be 
relied on. 

Jolha he di 2Mi chamrd ke bihdn. 

When a weaver says the cloth will be soon ready, as he 
is now brushing it, don't believe him, any more than you 
believe a shoemaker who says the boots will be ready 

■^t; TTI^ " Ai pdi" means the brushing and the other 
preparations to which the weaver subjects the thread with 
which he is going to weave the cloth (Grierson). 

312. A weaver as an impressed labourer. 

Tangbah ta tdngah nahih ta nau narik harkati hoet. 

If you m.ust load me, load me quickly, otherwise the 
time of nine shuttles will be wasted. 

" A weaver estimates his work by the number of navi 
shuttle-spools which he uses up, as in this proverb, in 
which he is supposed to address a man who has seized 
him to carry a load" (Grierson). 

313. A fight between a frog and a weaver. 

tiff^ f^ix ^5^ ^^m "^n fix: *ni wfsii ^qx; ^m^in 
cT^ ^^l^'^T^TT g^TTT % m%^ ^fi ^^ii »nTT 
rlT^n ^ ift % WTT ^^2 *ftff \^^^ ^TJn 


^^ WT ^^ «iH>5iT ^ifr ^tt frm 

Jolhajat noon ke dhlra, raste chalat beng se bhlra. 
Pahil mar beiig thengak thenga, tar bhae jolah upar bhae beng a 
Tabjolhen darbdr pukara, ai, saheb mohi bengan mara. 
Tana tur nari le blidga, utte mohi dabdban laga 
Roi roi puchhe jolah kijoe, kaisa manus behgaicha hoe 
Lambi tangri bakula thor, tar ke mare upar kejor 
Suno bhdi suno bhatija, suno meri may 
Ab to challln beng laraiya,jlu rahe bhajdy. 

Now I am going to the battle of the frogs : it is to be 
seen whether I am alive or dead ! 

This saying is ascribed to the following melodramatic 
lines, where the jolha (weaver), the usual butt, is repre- 
sented as waging an unsuccessful combat with a frog, 
and then recounting his sad experience to his wondering 
wife. The serio-comic description is of course intended 
to ridicule the weavers, in the style so common in native 
literature. " The jolha class are brave (steady) only in 
nanie. Once being on a journey, he met a frog on the 
road. The first to strike was the frog with repeated 
blows. The jolha fell below and the frog was on top 
of him (j.e. the frog won the fight). Thus defeated, he 
appeared in court and cried, ' 0, Sir ! the frog has beaten 
me. He broke my weaving frame and ran away with my 
shuttle, and in addition gave me a thrashing.' The wife of 
the weaver, with tears in her eyes, began to inquire, ' What 


kind of a being is a froggy ? ' ' He has long legs, my 
dear, and a beak like that of a crane : he hits from above 
as well as below' {lit. he hits from above and presses 
from below), said the weaver, and added : ' Now hear 
brother, hear my nephew, and hear my mother dear, I 
am now oflf to do battle with the frogs, whether I live 
or die ! ' " 



Proverbs relating to Social and Moral Subjects, 
Religious Customs and Popular Superstitions. 

314. Angel of death to be feared. 

Burh ke marie na derain, jam he parikle derdln. 

The death of the old is not to be feared, but lest the 
Angel of Death should get used (i.e. habituated to making 
constant attacks). 

gpFf " Jam " is the Angel of Death. 

The idea is that the old are fit victims of the Angel of 
Death ; but when he gets once used to making incursions 
and seizing the old, he may also begin to prey on the 
young ; therefore his getting habituated to dealing out 
death is more to be dreaded than the occasional death of 
an old person. (Applied to deprecate the growth of a 
pernicious habit.) 

315. As the Debi, so the offering, 

^<^M %€1 ^Tft t^ ^'f ^^ ^ '^^'^ 

Jaisan hdri debi icaisan kodo ke achchhat. 
As the Goddess, so the offering of Kodo ! 
■^"^fT "Achchhat " is an offering made of rice to the deity. 
^?t Kodo, which is a very inferior millet, is never used 


for this purpose. Said disparagingly when one has to 
be treated according to his deserts ; i.e. who, though in a 
superior position, is not deserving of the consideration 
befitting his position. But it is also a fact that each 
deity has its peculiar manner of being worshipped, e.g. a 
she-demon ( Uchchhist Chandalni) is worshipped with offer- 
ings of refuse and leavings of food. 

316. A weak Behi and a strong he-goat for sacrifice. 

Abbar dehi, Jabbar bakra. 

A weak goddess and a strong he-goat (as victim or 

^^ " Debi " is a goddess to whom he-goats are sacri- 
ficed as offerings. Said when one who ought to be 
weaker in the regular order of things is really stronger 
than another, e.g. when a strong subordinate really rules 
his weak superior. 

317. A saddening reflection. 

Nanch kaclih aile moriva, gorwa dehJiijhanway. 

The peacock having danced (in all its pride) becomes 
crest-fallen on seeing its ugly legs ! 

The popular idea ascribes to the peacock great conceit, 
but it is said that in its ostentatious dance it comes to 
a dead stop, and becomes crest-fallen on seeing its ugly 
legs. Applied to one who, though outwardly jolly, has 
some secret cause of unhappiness that acts on him as 
a drag. 

"A skeleton in the cupboard." 


318. A fast woman blames otters when she elopes. 
^«<c WHW( ^iT^ ^STT ^^^ ^T 1 ^ 

Apna karte urhdr, lagaili log ke dos. 

She was eloped with on account of her own viciousness, 
but the people are blamed. 

^^Tt;^ " Urharah " (lit.) is to cause one to fly or elope 
(transitive form). ^ST"^^ " Urharah" is to fly or elope 
(intransitive form) ; from this is derived '^^''C^ " JJrhri," 
a kept woman, a concubine, lit. one who has been made 
to fly or elope. 

Thrown sarcastically at a woman who has made a false 
step, but blames others for it. As if one would say in 
irony, " Of course &he is not to blame, but some one else." 

319. A meddlesome woman. 

Teli ke hail la, kumhaini satti. 

For the sake of the oilman's ox, the potter's wife has 
become suttee, i.e. she interests herself in other people's 
affairs (Grierson). 

The meaning of this proverb is not quite clear. Perhaps 
it means " To the oilman's ox the potter's wife is as good 
as a suttee {i.e. perfection)," because she does not harass 
him, as the oilman's wife does. 

320. A disgraced cat is as humble as a wife of the rat. 

Kanauri hilli chuhon kijoy. 
The disgraced cat is (as humble) as a wife of the rat. 
cj}?^^ "Kanauri." This word seems to have two 
meanings. In Shahabad it means " disgraced, ashamed," 


and applied to one who has made a false step. In 
Maggah. it seems to have the meaning of " obligated," 
and is applied to one who has received a favour from 
another, and is therefore under an obligation to him. 
The same idea is expressed in the proverb 
"^^^ f^^jf^ ?T% ^T^ " Pecliah hildri muse Idur," 

i.e. the trampled cat {lit. one in a fix or "pressed") is 
maddened by rats even, i.e. she is so weak and heartless 
that even the rats drive her mad, or is considered stupid 
by rats even. The meaning is that a disgraced superior 
is not respected. 

321. A forward woman. 

^^■^ ^Twr ^T% f\T^ ftrr ^i^ % ^ lt% 

Ldjo Idje mar as, dhltho l<ahasje dare deraile. 

The modest woman is dying from shame, but the 
impudent says she is frightened ! 

The forward or over-confident laughed at. Said when 
any one puts a wrong construction on an act. (The final 
" o" in "ldjo" and "dhltho" marks the feminine gender.) 

322. Born to labour. 

Naihar ja, bha mmr jd, jangra chala ke kathun khd. 

Whether you go to your father's or your father-in-law's 
house, j'ou must labour in order to get your living. 

^ITI " Jangra" means thighs. 

^IXT "^^ ^ "Jangra chala ke" is lit. to use one's 
thighs, i.e. to go about and labour. Cast at one who can- 
not afford to sit at ease, but is born to work for her living 
wherever she is. 


323. Bad lineage. 

^^^ 'ftlf sfiT ^ W ¥^7! 511T% flTlT 

CMnan ka bans men scvput jamle mdrha. 

In the house of Chlnah if an excellent son is born, it is 
only Mdrha. 

^•TT Chlnah (Panicum frumentosum) is one of the 
smaller millets ; when boiled and parched, it is called 
M\%^\ mdrha. 

The meaning is that the best of a bad family will after 
all turn out only a very second-rate fellow. Just as the 
best thing that can be got from chinah is mdrha, which 
after all makes a very indifferent kind of food. Chindh 
is despised as a poor man's food. 

E.E. Little things are great to little men. 

Brother and Sister-in-law. 

324. A weak elder brother-in-law is not respected. 

Latal bhaihsur dewar hardhar. 

A weak elder brother-in-law is like a younger brother- 
in-law (with whom you may take liberties). 

Cast at a weak man who cannot command respect or 
assert his dignity. 

^Ihi;; "Bhaihsur" (in relation to the wife) is the elder 
brother of the husband; ^^^ "dewar" is the younger 

A wife is always supposed to pay great respect to her 
husband's elder brother, whom she must never look full in 
the face or speak to if possible. If such a necessity should 
arise, she must speak to him with downcast eyes and in the 
most abject tone. On the other hand, the elder brother- 



in-law is enjoined by custom never " to cast eyes " on the 
■wife of his younger brother. The younger brother, on the 
contrary, is allowed by social etiquette to joke with the 
wife of his elder brother to any extent. 

325. A sister-in-law has a sister-in-law to annoy her. 

Nanado he nanad hola. 
A sister-in-law has a sister-in-law too ! (to tyrannize 
over her). This speech is supposed to be made by the 
wife, between whom and her sister-in-law (husband's 
sister) a constant jealousy exists. They can never agree, 
and are always having " hits at each other," hence the 
phrase •H'^ ^W " nanad ddh," which means the spite 
or envy peculiar to the sister-in-law. Here the wife is 
saying in a sort of self-consoling way, "If she is ill-treating 
me now, she will also in her turn be ill-treated by her 
sister-in-law; for she too must have one." 

Said by one who is ill-treated, with some satisfaction 
that his oppressor has also some one to annoy him. 

E.E. "Little fleas have lesser fleas upon their backs to 
bite 'em. 
And these again have smaller ones, and so ad 

Bride and Bridegroom, 

326. The bride cannot get rice gruel even, and others 

get sweets. 

Kaneyan he manr nan, lokdin ke huhdiya. 
The bride cannot get rice gruel even, while her servant- 
maid gets lundiya. 


Mf^^ " Bundiya is a small round sweetmeat made of 
gram (%^»| hesan) fried in ghi or oil and covered with 
sugar" (Grierson). It is dropt into the oil; hence its 
name, which literally means "drops," or "small drops." 
Said when favour is shown to the undeserving, while the 
deserving are left out in the cold. 

327. A foolish bride gets no presents. 

Burbak kaneyan ke nao dndn khoihchha. 

It is a foolish bride, that only gets nine annas in her 
pocket (for wedding presents) (Grierson). 

^^^T " Khoitichha " is the pocket formed in front by 
loosening the part of the cloth tied round the waist 
(Grierson). Sometimes villages are given away as wedding 
presents by T^T^IT rajas and rich landed proprietors ; and 
then these villages are known as ^^s|T ^ TT'W khoimhha 
ke gdon. The way that this is usually done is, the title- 
deeds transferring the property are put into the front 
pocket of the bride [khoinchha) . 

328. The face money to the bride. 

Muiih nlyar munli na, rupaia munh dekhauni. 

She is nothing to look at, yet " face money " has to be 
given on seeing her ! [lit. she has not a face worth 
looking at). 

^^ ^^^ " Mtiflh dekhauni" is the money usually 
given on seeing for the first time the face of the daughter- 
in-law or of a child. " A bridal present." 

Said when one undeserving wants you to do him a favour. 


329. Crocodile tears of a bride. 

^'^Q. ^^ ^§T ^^ ^ ^^ ^^ 'n^i^ 

Dlilya sdsur jali, ki mane mane gdjeli. 

Is the daughter going to her father-in-law's, or is she 
rejoicing ? [lit. laughing inwardly). 

A daughter-in-law is expected to weep when going to 
her father-in-law's house, at least in appearance, if not in 
reality. That is the native etiquette. That she does not 
always do it in earnest is shown by the proverb. If one 
outwardly shows a reluctance or pretends to be sorry, 
while in reality he or she inwardly rejoices, this saying 
is used. (Also cast at one whose behaviour is unsuited to 
the occasion.) 

Blind and Deaf. 

330. Blind master, deaf pupil. 

Andhar guru bahir chela, mange harre dela bhela {hahera). 

A blind master and a deaf pupil : he asks for harre and 
is handed bahera. 

^"^ " Harre " is black myrobalans. 

^^TJ " Bahera " is belleric myrobalans. 

This describes in a comic way the laugh caused by the 
mistakes made by the deaf and the blind. Said when two 
persons misunderstand each other with a ludicrous result. 
The following story told of a deaf man illustrates this 
proverb : A deaf Brahman was once engaged in his 
homestead garden in breaking brinjals. Some passers-by 
asked him, "How are you, ?I^'^5J Mahdrdj?" "I am 
breaking brinjals " answered the Brahman. " How are 
your children ? " "I am going to make bharta of them 


all ! " (that is, make a mash of them, meaning the brinjals 
of course). 

331. Backbiter. 

?^<1 ^f UT ^1 TR^ Tft3 ^w ^ ^n^ 

Munh par toke gaji, pith plchhe ke paji. 

He who blames one to his face is a hero, but be who 
backbites is a coward. Paji is a low, mean fellow ; a 

*n^ Gaji, brave, bold. 

332. Charity (sharing the last crust). 

^^'i 3ft^ *r ift^ ^ fft^t ^^ ^^ % 

BMk men hhlk de tinon lokjit le. 

He who gives away in abns what he has himself received 
in charity conquers the three worlds. 

<n»rt Wt^ Tinon lok, " The three worlds : " they are 
(1) *3f_<i or 151^111 8warg or Akdsh, the Heaven ; (2) tftl'ra 
Faidl, or the lower regions ; and (3) ?TrT *I^«T Mritu 
Bhuan, or the earth of mortals. 

i.e. The man who being himself in want is unselfish 
enough to give away what he has himself received in 
charity, may be said to have overcome all the three 
worlds : to have risen above the desires of the three 
worlds ; or, in other words, to have achieved a success 
which may be envied by the inhabitants of all the three 

333. Dying in Benares is going to Heaven. 

Jaun kablr Kashi hoy mare, Rdmen kaun nihora. 
If the faqlr has to go to Edshi (Benares) to die, what 


is the use of supplicating Ram then ? because dying in 
Benares is in itself sufficient to take one to Heaven. The 
intercession of Ram, then, is only necessary if one does 
not die there. The meaning is, if one has to get anything 
by self-exertion, what is the use of a favour ? the obtaining 
of it then cannot be called a favour. 


334. Beware of overpraising your daughter. 

Sardhal hahuriya dom ghar jay. 

The daughter-in-law, so much praised (for her chastity), 
goes at last to the dom's house {i.e. sinks so low as to elope 
with a dom, who is the lowest of the low). 

A caution enjoined on those who boast of and praise too 
much a daughter-in-law or any other relative, — a hint that 
what is too much valued and lauded might after all turn 
out bad. Too lavish a praise of even one's nearest and 
dearest is apt to recoil on one's self in the shape of shame. 
This proverb shows the common idea that a daughter-in- 
law is always to be watched and never to be altogether 

335. A bad daughter ruins a son-in-law. 

I dhlya mor damdo nadan. 

The daughter is (so bad) that she has even disgraced 
the son-in-law. The son-in-law is the one usually found 
fault with by the mother-in-law, and not the daughter ; 
therefore, if the daughter is such a one as would disgrace 
a son-in-law, she must be very bad indeed. 


Said in joke (as if from the mother), for example, by the 
husband when playfully blaming his wife. 

336. A daughter has three names in succession during 
her lifetime. 

Eke bitiyawa awe, bahui bahuriya dewanji kahdwe. 

The same daughter is successively known by three 
different names : babui, bahuriya, and dewanji. 

In her father's house, and while still unmarried, she is 
called ^wl^ habui (an affectionate name given to young 
girls) ; in her father-in-law's house she is W^fT^ bahuriya 
{i.e. daughter-in-law) ; and when she has a son, and he 
married, she is addressed by the people of her son's 
father-in-law as ^«JI»1^ dewanji {i.e. a general manager). 

The meaning is, that the same thing has different names 
under different conditions. 


337. A dependent knows no happiness. 

Parbas banda siikh kajane. 

He is dependent on another, what does he know of 
comfort ? 

^g " Bas " is power, authority. 

i.e. He who is in the power of another (not independent) 
can never know what true comfort or joy is. 


338. Making absurd conditions for dancing. 

Na nao man kajar hoihen, na Bddha nachihen. 



Neither will there be nine maunds of collyrium, nor will 
E-adha (ever dance). 

WT^T J^&jar (see note to Proverb 127), a very little of 
this is necessary. Therefore, when a person makes the 
doing of a certain act conditional on an impossibility, this 
saying is aptly applied. 

E.E. " I will pay you on the Greek Kalends." 

339. False modesty in dancers. 

Nachlln ta ghughut ka. 

She who dances has no need to veil her face ! 

The dancing women have no character ; therefore she 
who dances publicly has no need to draw a veil over her 
face from modesty, as ij^T parcla women do. 

Said of those who affect to be modest when they have 
no need to be so, or are really the opposite. 

The following is from Mr. Grrierson's " Behar Peasant 
Life " : " In Mmibodh's Harihans, where the wife of 
Akrur, although very modest, still wanted to look at 
Krishna when he came into the house. 

Bar ghunghut punu iaklo chdhia. 
" Though always modestly accustomed to hide her face, 
%e still tried to peep at him." 

E.E. " Swallowing a camel and straining at a gnat." 

Especial haunts or resorts. 

340. The blind man's lodging (or resting-place) is at 
the turner's. 

And/ira ke dera kharadi ghar. 


The blind man's quarters are at the turner's, i.e. where 
he can find just the employment suited to him in turning 
the turner's lathe. 

Said sarcastically of the favourite haunt of any one. 

341. A loose horse is sure to stand near the chaff-house. 

Chhutal ghori hhusahuk tharh. 
A horse when loose is sure to stand near the chaff-house. 
Also said in reference to one's haunt, where he is certain to 
go when he gets an opportunity. 

342. Faith makes god of a stone. 

Man to deo na to patthar. 
If you believe, it is a deity; otherwise a stone, i.e. if you 
have faith, you can believe a common piece of stone to be 
a god, otherwise it is nothing but a stone. 


343. A fool's property the prey of all. 

?B? ^^^ ^ ^^ '^fl^ ^ft% lf^ ^fTT % ^ ^^ 

Burbak ke hhains lagal, saunse gdon tahra le ke daural. 

When a fool's buffalo is in milk, every one in the village 
runs (to him) with milk pails. 

A fool's property is always enjoyed by others. This is 
explained by the next proverb. 

344. A fool's property the prey of all. 

Burbak ke dhan hoy, phahlmdn mar khdy. 
A fool's property is enjoyed by the cunning. 



345. A fool thinks of his belly only. 

Bhondu hhdo na jane, pet hhare se Imm. 
The silly (man) knows nothing of etiquette (civility) : 
his chief business is to fill his belly. 

vrm " Bhao" is "rate," "rule," here, rule of society. 

346. A fool worries himself with the concern of others. 

?8$ ^^^^ ^t;^t t^^iW fqif^T 

Burbak marla liranen phikire. 
A fool worries himself (kills himself) with other's 

347. A fool went to fish, but lost his fishing basket. 

Burbak gela manchhar mare, tap ailan gamcdy. 

A fool went to fish, but lost his bamboo basket for 
catching fish. 

•;gjq " Tap " is a conical bamboo basket for catching 
fish in shallow water. 

i.e. Lost the essential or most material thing. 

348. A fool's wife the jest of all. 

^^■a ^■^■^■^ (^ -^^tt) % ^>^^^ % ^ftsnt 

Burbak {ya abra) kejoru sab ke bhaujdi. 

A fool's wife is like an (elder) sister-in-law to everybody, 
that is, the butt of all. 

^^^^tI^ " Bhaujai" is the elder brother's wife, with whom 
all the younger brothers can joke, while on the other 
hand the wife of a younger brother is always to be 
respected by the elder brother (see note to Proverb 324). 



349. A fool unable to distinguisli tlie trunk from the 
tail of an elephant. 

?Be ir^ % ^'n tnwT ■^t^ «it ^t 

Hathi he dga pachha, hujhaibe na kare. 

A fool : unable to make out the front from the hind part 
of an elephant ! 

Said of a fool who cannot make " head or tail " of any- 
thing ; like the villager who, it is said, on seeing an 
elephant for the first time, exclaimed, " It has tails on 
both ends." 

350. A simpleton is " cheeked " by a dog even. 

Sojh he mimh hukur chate. 

The mouth (face) of the simpleton is licked by a dog, 
i.e. even dogs take a liberty with one who is simple 
{lit. straight). 

351. Who are fools according to Ghagh the poet. 

HI <n ft^ % >t Tft"w ^^ ^^ if ^^ '^m 

Bin mehri sasurarijay, sanjh pardte sattu May, 
Jeth mas je penhe paua, hahe ghag i tino kauiva, 
Kaj pare sasurarijay, bhukh maratte sattu khdy, 
Bhagta hoy se penhe paua, kahen hahuhan Ghdghe kauira. 

He who goes to his father-in-law's house without his 
wife ; he who eats sattu morning and evening {i.e. at both 



his meals) ; and he who wears sandals in the month of Jeth 
— are all pronounced fools {lit. crows) by Ghdgh. 

'^"^ " Paiia," sandals ; o^^ " kaua," the crow, 
meaning a stupid fool. 

The meaning is, that he who ventures to pay a visit to 
his father-in-law's house without his wife, is sure not to 
be welcome ; he who eats ^tJ satUi (or gram meal) at all 
his meals is certain to fall ill ; and he who wears sandals 
(which are meant for wet weather) in the hot month of 
Jeth (May-June) is sure to be looked upon as wanting in 

The above saying is ascribed to the local poet or bard 
of Shahabad called ^^ Ghdgh, who, it appears, had an 
equally clever daughter-in-law, sharp at repartees, and 
who used often to engage with her father-in-law in 
wordy wars. The following, for instance, is her reply to 
the above dictum : " If there is necessity, a man may go 
to his father-in-law's (without his wife) : if a man is 
dying of hunger, it is better he should eat sattu : and if 
a man is a devotee, he can wear sandals always. On 
these occasions the daughter-in-law says that Ghagh him- 
self is a fool (crow) ! " 

^T^ " Ghagh " lit. means sly, shrewd, wily, old, aged. 

352. Who are the three greatest fools in this world ? 

^rnft 'ti^ ^wT^ ^T ^T W ^^^ <fl^ 

Ghar ghora paidal chale, achhat kdrhe rm, 
Thdti dhare damdd ghar, jag men burbak tin. 

He who keeps a horse at home and yet goes about on 
foot ; he who is wealthy and yet borrows ; and he who 


keeps anything on trust with a son-in-law — are the three 
greatest fools in the whole world. 

The above are not uncommon practices. The horse is 
often kept for show, and men well off do take loans, either 
to make people believe that they are poor or from a false 
idea that their hoarded wealth if once touched will fly 
away. The son-in-law according to native etiquette always 
thinks he has a perfect right to get as much as he possibly 
can out of his father-in-law's property, and never loses an 
opportunity to appropriate anything he can get hold of. 
For this reason a father-in-law (when his son-in-law is 
on a visit to him) often secretes his valuable belongings; 
for if the son-in-law gets hold of them, he can't very well 
ask him to give them up. 

Gfuests and hosts. 
353. Unwelcome guests. 

^^^ wtT ^Wr^ ^Tf '^^ t'^ '^ ^ ft<T 
^IT^% ^T 1^ ^T % 'n%"' 'rttT 

Tin holdye terah dye dekho gliar hi rit, 
Baharwale kha gaye ghar ke gaweh git. 

Three are invited, thirteen intrude : see their manners 
{lit. the rule of their house). The outsiders (guests) eat 
up everything, while the home people (the hosts) have 
"to whistle" [lit. to sing, to content themselves with 

Said when (as usually happens) a host of uninvited 
guests pounce down (with the invited) upon the host, 
being generally the friends and relatives of the invited 
guests. In marriage ceremonies the larger the number 
of people the bridegroom can bring with him, the more 


it counts to his credit ; though this intrusion can hardly 
be said to be appreciated by the bride's people, who have 
to provide for all, on the pain of being thought mean. 
This rivalry of bringing the largest number of followers 
the bridegroom can muster, and of entertaining them 
sumptuously by the bride's father, is the cause of the 
ruin of many rich houses in Bihar. 

The same idea is in the following saying : f^sf ^^^ 
^^^ ^T% ^X^ '^^ Sin holaye larke hale satli aye (" Un- 
invited the whole family have turned up "). 

TT^^'iftrT " Gawen git." To sing is irony for remaining 
hungry, as in the expression 'Jtq'x; TTIT " tappar gana " 
is to starve. 

354. Guests but in name. 

Mans hhat gharaita khdy, 
Eatya lele pdhimjdy. 

The hosts (people of the house) eat meat and rice, while the 
guests have to return home with the sin on their shoulders, 
i.e. the sin of having had the goat killed for their sake, 
in name only, while others have really enjoyed the feast. 
Said when any one has to bear the blame without profiting 
in the least. 

355. Assuming the hostess. 

^MM Wff ^T^ ^5fiTt i?"0% t^^T ^IT^ 

BItat dal keh'O, parose haithlan Mangro. 
The feast {lit. dall and rice) is given by another ; but 
Mangaro (unasked) does the hostess ! 



mO^^ " Parosab " is to serve up dinner, to place food 
before guests. 

^^■^ " Mangaro " is an assumed name. 

Said of one who officiously puts herself forward. 

356. Assuming a leading part in a marriage ceremony. 

^4^ tZT %Tt %3Rfr ^Tl^ tz'511 ^ift 

Beta beti kekro, gurhathe baithlan Mangro. 

The son and daughter of others (are being married), but 
Mangro, a stranger, (officiously) comes forward to perform 
the ceremony of Gurhathe. 

^TTt " Mangro " is the feminine of Mangar ; also 
" Mangri." The terminal " o," besides denoting the 
feminine gender, implies a familiarity or regard for the 

The ceremony of T^f^ Grurhathi is thus described by 
Mr. Grrierson in his book of "Bihar Peasant Life": — "In 
this ceremony the elder brother of the bridegroom (or in 
default of him some elder of the bridegroom's family) 
offers sweetmeats, molasses (^T^ gtir) and ornaments to 
the bride. He then takes some betel-leaves and tyre in 
his right hand, and presses it against the bride's forehead, 
at the same time pressing his left hand against the back 
of her head. These two ceremonies are together called 
^•^•f bandan, ^TTWc^ gurhatthi or 7(T;^(«l»! gurhatthan, and 
signify that he has touched her once for all, and that if 
he touches her again, he will be guilty of a sin." 

357. The host and he to get broken bits of cake. 

^q^ t^^ »ft5J ^^^ 'iTf T ^KT 

Jekre hhoj tekre khdnra bdra. 
It is his feast, and he gets broken bits of cake ! 



»ft5J "Bhoj" is food, feast. 'g?;T " Bara" or ^TTT "bdra" 
cakes of " Urid " pulse fried in ghi or oil. 

X^TST " Khanra " is broken, a corruption of ^T!^ 
" khcmchi,'" a piece. 

Said when a man wlio has a right to receive or who 
ought to receive the best (of things) gets inferior things 

358. Grandfather's funeral ceremony. 

Haluai he diikdn, dadaji ke phateha. 

A confectioner's shop : it is easy to say, " I give the 
whole of it away in my grandfather's funeral feast ! " 

■tJIrTIT " Phateha " or xjfT^^ phateha is a feast in 
honour of the dead at which sweetmeats, etc., are first 
offered to the saints, and then given away for nothing. 
It is a Persian word. 

Said when one makes free with another's things to which 
he has no right, just as the man who has not paid for the 
sweets (but wants to make a show of observing his 
ancestors' death ceremonies) can easily say, "Here is a 
whole shop : I give it away in honour of my dead 
ancestors' funeral feast." Also said when one wastes 
recklessly another man's things or makes a vain boast. 

Sahit, Second Nature and Unchangeable. The Leopard 
cannot change his spots. 

359. Notwithstanding all charms and incantations, the 
boy will not change his habit. 

Ketno karahjoga tondri, habua haithihen uhe konan. 



You may practise as many spells and cliarms as you 
like, the dear boy will still sit in the same corner ! i.e. will 
never leave his way. 

A man who, in spite of all persuasions and urgings, still 
adopts the same course as a force of habit, may be said to 
go to his usual corner " charm they never so wisely." 

A satirical way of condemning a reprehensible force of 

360. The rope burns, but not the twist. 

^^0 %i%^ 51^ 1^ IT 5lt 

Jenwar jarela ainthan najare. 

The rope will burn, but not the twist. 

This is a fact : the rope will burn into loose ashes where 
it has not a twist; but where there is one, the im.pression of 
it will remain even in the ashes. 

Said in reference to an inveterate habit which always 
sticks to one. 

361. A dog's tail can never be straightened. 

aCq -sn^Rx % iftl? ^Tf ^ft^ v;rif ri^ w tf ^ zs 

Kukur ke ponchh harah haris gdrln, tab hii terh ke terh. 

The dog's tail, even if buried for twelve years, wiU remain 
as crooked as ever. 

Same application as the last proverb (360). 

362. Half dead, but still he shakes his head. 

^^ ^ ^fz^ ^fl # 'IT ^^r 

Sagre dhar siyaran kliail, 
Munri kejhdntal kat hufi na gail. 



His whole body has been devoured by jackals, still he 
will not leave off shaking his head. 

An exaggerated way of saying that one will not give 
up his vicious habits though reduced to the last extremities. 

363. Can the crow become white by eating camphor ? 

Kaua kapur hhaile ujar hola ? 
Can the crow become white by eating camphor ? 
E.E. "Can the leopard change its spots?" 

364. Heart's dearest wish — what does a blind man want 
but his two eyes ? 

Andhra clidhe du ankh. 
What does a blind man want but his two eyes ? 
Used to express the greatest wish of one's heart. 

Husland and Wife. 

365. The husband claiming unmerited service from 
the wife. 

Kis hirte par iatta panin. 

For what action (do you expect your feet to be washed 
in) lukewarm water ? 

On the return home of the husband, the wife is expected 
to wash his feet in lukewarm water : if he has returned 
empty-handed, with nothing to show for his absence, his 
wife might satirically ask, " for what service or token of 
love do you expect this warm reception ? " Said to an 
undeserving man who expects a favour, or to one who has 
no grounds or no claims for asking a favour. 


The origin of this saying is ascribed to the following 
lines, where it comes out with telling effect : 

W[X: ^X^ -qT. fP^ 'ftT: '^im #% ?T1^1 %g| f^WVfl 

ilT "5^ 1 ^lf ^ ^T^Z %T ^ Tf lU '^ 

Htx: *ni ^^ fq^fiT ^n^i cnw^ vn^ tttii 'jn'! 

Barah haras par piu mor de, unche mahlan sej bichhde. 
Lendn ek na dendn do, kancat pher he rah gae so. 
Bhor hhae jab pirtam jdge, tdtal pdni mdngan Idge. 
Mukh anchal de tiriya muskdni, kaun hirte par tatta pdni. 

After twelve long years the husband returned home ; but 
(forgetful of his wife) he placed his couch on the top-storey. 
He neither took anything {lit. one thing) nor gave any- 
thing {lit. two things), but turned off to sleep. In the 
morning, when he awoke, he wanted warm water for 
ablution. Upon which the wife coquettishly smiled and 
asked, " For what service done is this warm water re- 
quired ? " 

366. The diffidence of the husband in making presents 
to his wife in his father's house. 

•^%% %^ ^ ^^T ^^ % 'if^ ^T T?ff ^ ^"^T^^ 5jf^ 

Saiydn ke arjan bhaiya ke ndon chura pahir main sdsurjdori. 

The wife decked in the anklets bought out of the earnings 
of the husband, but put down to the brother, goes to her 
father-in-law's. That is to say, she goes to her father-in- 
law's house decked in the ornaments purchased from 
the husband's hard earnings ; but she pretends that 
it has been given to her by her brother. This speech 
is aimed at the wife by some one of the father-in- 


law's house (probably the sister-in-law, who is always at 
daggers drawn with her brother's wife) with the object 
of running her down for making a boast of her brother's 
generosity, when it is really to the husband that her thanks 
are due. It is usual for the father and brother to make 
presents to the bride when she is returning to her 
husband's home. The shaft is therefore really aimed at 
their poverty in being unable to make her a present 
when returning ; while she, to conceal this fact, puts 
on the ornaments given to her by her husband, so that 
it may be concluded that she has received them at her 
father's house. 

Among respectable natives of Bihar a husband, out of re- 
spect, avoids giving presents to his wife in his father's house 
or in his presence, as behaviour likely to hurt his father's 
feelings by showing his independence. While in his father's . 
house, he still maintains the appearance of being dependent 
on him ; and therefore leaves the support and care of his 
wife to his parents. If he should make any present to his 
wife, he does so stealthily, so as not to injure the feeling 
of dependence. In a well-regulated family this feeling of 
filial reverence is carried so far that it is considered highly 
disrespectful for a son even to speak to his wife in the 
presence of his father. A respectable native gentleman, 
in Government service, told the writer that during his 
father's lifetime, he never attempted to send anything 
directly to his family, who were living in his father's 
house. All or the greater part of his earnings he would 
remit regularly to his father, and even looked to him 
for his winter clothes, which he rarely bought himself. 
One year the cold weather clothes were late in reaching 
him, but still he never bought any himself : lest he should 



give his old father an idea that he was becoming less 

Another explanation of this proverb is : — The anklets 
have been purchased from the earnings of her lover (i.e. 
she pretends they are a present to her from her brother). 
She wears them and goes to her father-in-law's house ! 

This is a taunting speech made by some enemy of the 
wife, charging her with infidelity. The meaning is, that 
the anklets she has got on have been really given to her 
by her paramour while she was on a visit to her father's 
house (%fC naihar). But she has given out that they 
are a present to her from her brother ; and decked in 
these she now goes back shamelessly (with this price of 
her unchastity) to her father-in-law's house, i.e. to her 
husband ! Said when the credit for anything is given to 
one who does not deserve it. 

367. When the cat is away, the mice do play. 

^%^ Tjm ^ '^Z^ TT^^ 1^1 WZ^ 

Raja gaile ahtak ranm paulan chhatak. 

When the king is away, the queen is free to act as 
she likes ! 

^^^^ " Chhatkab " is to get free from restraint ; to dart 
off, to rebound, to be scattered, and antak is lit. " to get 
entangled or to get captured." 

E.E. " When the cat is away, the mice will play." 

368. Husband unsuited to the wife. 

Ham taisan u nah, bhaisiir taisan didiya nak. 
He is not suited to me, and my sister-in-law is not suited 
to my (elder) brother-in-law. 


" TJ," "he," is the husband. It is never the custom 
in Indian domestic life for the wife to call her husband 
by his name, or even to repeat his name to another person. 
He is always spoken of as " he," or, if he is a father, he 
is spoken of as " the father of so and so." The same rule 
is also observed by the husband when speaking of his wife. 

^^'?; " Bhaisur " is the elder brother-in-law and 
t^f^^ " didiya " is his wife ; the elder sister is ad- 
dressed as " didiya." ^rf«ft " Gotni " are sisters-in-law. 

This proverb is supposed to be said by the younger 
sister-in-law in self-praise. The meaning is, that my 
husband is not suited to me {i.e. is not so good as I am) ; 
while my sister-in-law is not suited to my elder brother- 
in-law, i.e. he deserves a better wife. Said sarcastically 
when people think they are wrongly " mated." 

369. A greedy wife. 

^%^ t^T 'T^'ft ^g^ '^^T ^^ TTT 

Jekar maugi dantuli, okar bar hhdg, 
Daht se hanriya khakhor ke kha gail, 
Basiya ke kaun kam (or Basiya kalian se no). 

Whoever has. a wife with her front teeth protruding is 
very lucky, for with them she can scrape up the cooking 
pot (of all its contents) : as for anything being left, that 
is out of the question ! This is of course said in irony. 

A husband is lucky to possess such a wife, who will 
allow nothing to be wasted, not even the scrapings ! ' 


370. The paragon of a wife gives a pommelling to her 

^>Q0 ff% % ^51^ tif^^-^TTT ^7^ fl^T ^TTU 

Hins ke hanli patiharta musar khailan hharta. 

From a desire to imitate another she pretended to 
become a paragon of a wife : but the end of it was that 
her poor husband got a pommelling. 

^f7I^T7!T "Fatibarta " is a wife devoted to her husband, 
i.e. a dutiful and faithful wife, who is entirely subservient 
to her husband's commands. 

This proverb is ascribed to the following story : A wife, 
by her constant dutiful conduct towards her husband, had 
attained that perfection which devoted and dutiful wives 
are said to attain, namely, superhuman powers. On one 
occasion a friend (who was the reverse of dutiful), being 
on a visit to her, observed that this pattern of a wife, on 
being called by her husband, had left the pestle, with 
which she was engaged at the time in pounding rice, as 
she had lifted it in the act of pounding, lest delay might 
occur in bringing it down to the mortar ; but, strange 
to say, the pestle, instead of coming down, remained 
suspended in mid-air. When she returned, her astonished 
friend asked her how she was able to perform such a 
miracle. "My friend," said the good wife, "this is the 
result of being dutiful and obedient to your husband." 
The scold of a wife, who had a henpecked husband, re- 
solved to try the experiment. Thinking that she had 
at last attained the perfection she had observed in her 
friend, she wanted to make a display of it, and invited 
a few neighbours. The friends came according to invita- 
tion, and the pounding of rice went on ; but the unfortunate 
husband, who took little interest in the experiment, had 


gone to sleep inside the house, and failed to call out to 
his wife at the right moment, as had been previously 
arranged. At last, tired of waiting for her husband's 
call, she threw the pestle up ; but, instead of its hanging 
in mid-air, as she had expected, it came down on her, to 
the great amusement of her visitors, not to say anything 
of the hurt she received. Enraged at her failure, which 
she ascribed to her husband, she rushed in and belaboured 
him with the pestle. 

371. Hard won prize. 

Dihin hhoda pai rakti haga. 

God has given, but after the greatest hardship. 

This proverb is in the language peculiar to the Mo- 
hamedan weavers. 

Said when one obtains anything after the greatest 
trouble — after he is made to sweat for it. 


372. He only joins bread who can't make them. 

PaJiwal roti sejuriyawejekra apna hele nan aive. 

He joins hand-made bread (cooked by another) who 
cannot make them himself. 

5lf7;^Tm " Juriydeb" is to join hand-made bread in 
couples as they are cooked, and fold them two by two 
(the usual way they are served up), ^^•n " Belna " 
is a wooden rolling-pin with which the dough is rolled out 
into thin circiilar sheets. 

i.e. He who can make bread himself will not need the 
help of another to arrange them. 


It is only those who do not know the art of making 
hand-bread, who employ themselves in the ornamental 
duty of putting them two by two (as is the practice) 
when they are made by another. Those who know it 
will of course take a more active and useful part. It 
means that he who can do anything himself will never 
wait for the help of another to finish up. To the same 
effect is the saying tj^^^ TtZ^ ^f^^^ ^?;^'T " Pakwal 
roti joridwe ailan." He has come to arrange bread already 
cooked by another, i.e. after the real hard work has been 
done by others, he has come to take the credit of it by 
doing something which is superfluous. 

373. If every one takes to becoming pilgrims, who is to 
do the worldly work ? 

5^^ ^^ ^giT; wni^ %f" tt ffft ^^i sfVf 

Sab kukur kdshi jaihen ta hanri kaun dhurhihen. 
If all the dogs will go on a pilgrimage to Benares, who 
will search the pots and pans (for food) ? i.e. if every one 
will become pious, who will do the worldly work ? Said 
when all take to a fancied work, leaving their legitimate 
calling, e.g. it might be said with reference to the general 
seeking after Government appointments and high educa- 
tion, " If everybody will take to the learned professions, 
who will attend to the agriculture of the country?" 

374. Ignorant villagers. 

Ujra ganwen unt del log kahalje dade ailan. 
If a camel comes to the village of ignorant people, they 
all declare that their ancestor has risen from the dead ! 
^ol^T ^ffW Ujra ganwen, lit, means in a desolate village, 


in a village wliich has been forsaken by all the better class 
of people. Hence a village inhabited by low castes only, 
who are usually ignorant and easy dupes. 

Said in ridicule of the ignorance of the low-class villagers, 
who are always ready to worship any strange sight. 

375. Ignorant villager mulcted on going to complain. 

^T^ ^WV ¥^ ^S %^ ^T t^ TTf W( ^^ 

Ldl bahi men nikldyon, teli khaUi khildis kyon. 
Khdis khalli hua sdnrh, hail ka hail ddnr ka ddnr. 

It is thus recorded in the red book (of laws and regula- 
tions) : " Why did the oilman feed his bullock on oilcakes ? 
as a consequence the bullock became as unmanageable as a 
Brahmini bull" (and ceased to work from being over-fed). 
(The order) " He loses his bullock as well as pays a fine!" 

This proverb illustrates beautifully the fleecing to which 
an ignorant villager is subjected when he goes to complain. 
Whatever the nature of his complaint, the tables are turned 
upon him, and on one plea or another he has to pay. 
Here a rude ignorant rustic is represented as relating his 
sad experience to his brother villagers on his return from 
a more than bootless complaint, probably to the police 
daroga. He quotes, as he thinks, the chaste Urdu language 
of the court, quite unmindful that in his attempt he is 
doing real violence to the language. The story is that a 
village Teli, or oilman, who has lost his bullock, goes to com- 
plain to the police, fondly hoping that he will be helped to 
find it. The "Red Book" (on which he looks as the 
source of all justice) is brought out. The daroga gravely 
turns leaf after leaf, and then pronounces judgment in the 


following words: "Hear you Teli, it is thus found in 
the Red Book : You are really in fault, why did you feed 
your bullock on oilcakes ? Of course as a consequence he 
became unmanageable and ran away. You are therefore 
clearly to blame, and you have to pay a fine." He has 
lost his bullock, and, far from getting any help, he has to 
pay a fine. It is a case of " the wolf and the lamb " ! 

This proverb illustrates the language a rustic {gaonwar) 
uses when he attempts to speak Urdu. 


376. Ornaments as well as means of livelihood. 

Sampat ke singar hlpat lie ahdr. 

In easy circumstances jewels are ornaments, in adversity 
they are a means of livelihood, i.e. when in good circum- 
stances, they act as ornaments, but when want overtakes 
the wearer, they can be turned into money. 

The heavy ornaments worn as anklets and armlets by 
the poorer classes are therefore prized more on account 
of their weight than on account of their appearance. 

377. Job's comforter. 

Bhal bhel saiyah ke hdghen dhail ki begdri se bachlan. 

It is just as well that (my) husband has been carried 
away by a tiger ; for he is saved from much " forced " 

This would be said by a third party (as if coming from 
the aggrieved) in mock-congratulation for a gain totally 
inadequate to the loss incurred, or said sarcastically to one 


who foolishly makes a heavy sacrifice and gains a trifling 

378. Love defies law. 

^^ac ffX'^ jft'lY TT^ ^T ^^ TT^ ^ ^iWt 

Marda maugi rdji, Tea kare gaon Ice Jcdji. 

(When both) man and woman are willing (satisfied 
consenting parties), what is the village Kdzi to do ? 

Even the conservative mind of the primitive villagers 
could see the unreasonableness of parting asunder two 
hearts that naturally drew towards each other : in such 
a case, what real power had the village magistrate ? None 
at all. 


379. Quarrels between relatives are always made up : 
mischief-makers return home disappointed. 

8ds 2}utohiya eke hoiheh hhdbha kutan ghar chal jaihen. 

The mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law will after 
all make up their quarrels {lit. will be one), the respective 
(opposite) mischief-makers will have to return home (dis- 

The proverbial quarrels and disagreements of the mother- 
in-law and the daughter-in-law are not confined to Bihar 
only. Those who interfere are certain not to be thanked 
for their pains in the end. 

*IT*IT ^iZT " Bhdhha kutan " are the mischief-makers of 
the opposite sides. "SfiZM "Kutan" or giZ'^ "kutni" is 
a mischief-maker, one who seduces a woman, a procuress, 
" a go-between." Bhdbha means of the opposite side, 


380. He tells the thief to steal and the wealthy to keep 

Chor he kahe chori karah, sdhu ke kahejagal rahah. 

He tells the thief to steal and the wealthy to keep awake, 
i e. causes mischief by carrying tales to the opposite 
sides ; in other words, by informing each rival side the 
intentions of the other. A mischief-maker. 

The allusion here to "TTT^ T^ " Narad Muni," a sage 
(rishi) who took a strange delight in communicating secrets 
to the opposite sides and bringing about a quarrel. But 
his object was, they say, to humiliate those who were proud 
of their strength and certain of success. 

E.E. " Runs with the hare and hunts with the hounds." 

Mother-in-law and 8ister-in-latc. 

381. The happiness of one who has neither mother-in- 
law nor sister-in-law. 

Sas na nanand, ghar apne anand. 

Having neither mother-in-law nor sister-in-law (to 
tyrannize over her), she is happy in her own house. 

The mother-in-law and sister-in-law (husband's sister) 
are thorns in the side of the wife, who has scarcely any 
voice in household matters so long as these, her opposers, 
are present. She cannot assert her authority, and is, in 
fact, a nonentity during the lifetime of the husband's 
mother. Therefore a wife who has not these causes of 
unhappiness by her side may be said to be contented and 


382. Music is charming at a distance. 

Bur lie dhol sohawan. 
Distant music is pleasant. 
^T; "Bur" is distance. 
^IT^I "Sohawan" is pleasant, agreeable. 
A native's idea of music is usually banging a drum 

One blamed for another's fauU, made a scapegoat. 
383. Chamru enjoys, while Beyal gets whipped for it. 

?^^ 'S^ H'' ^"^^ ^"f^ ^^T '^T^ t'TT^ 

Sukh pun karath Chamru kora khath Beyal. 

Chamru enjoys ease and comfort (reaps the advantage), 
while Beyal gets- whipped, i.e. is made a scapegoat of. 
Said when one suffers for the fault of another or is blamed 
though innocent. Usually said when one has illicit con- 
nection with another's wife while another man gets blamed 
for it. 

Hence it is commonly said, "I am a 'Beyal,' " meaning 
I am a mere tool, or merely the screen. 

384. For the sake of one all are disliked. 

Ek he tlte tlno tit. 

Owing to one being bitter all three are bitter, i.e. disliked. 
For the sake of one of a company, the others, who are in 
any way connected, get to be disliked and shunned. 
E.E. 1. " A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." 
2. " One black sheep affects the whole flock." 


385. The man with a moustache is blamed for the 
thieving of the moustacheless. 

Chori hare nimoclihiya, lag jay mochhgarha he. 

The stealing is done by the moustacheless, but the man 
with a moustache is blamed for it. 

Said when one is blamed for the fault of another. The 
idea is, that the moustache tells a tale when the thieving 
has been done in the eating line. 

The same idea is expressed in the following proverb 
common in the Shahabad district : 

Sidhriya chdl pare, hhothwa ka kapdre bite. 

" The small fish do the skipping, but it comes down on 
the head of the big fish," that is to say, the small fry by 
jumping about afibrd a sign where the net ought to be 
cast; and thus the big fish are caught while the little 
ones escape through the meshes. The meaning is that 
when the time of reckoning comes the " small " men, who 
have really done the mischief, escape, while the " big " 
are caught and sufiier. 

386. She in tatters is blamed for the one who wears 

Kdm hare nathwdli lagjdy chirkutahi ke. 

The mischief is done by the woman wearing the nose- 
ring, but she in tatters is blamed for it, i.e. the poor 
woman is blamed for the fault of the well-to-do. 


387. Priest and musician in one. 

Guru ke guru bajaniyan ke bajaniydn. 

A holy father as well as a fiddler. 

Said when one man unites in him two opposite functions. 

In the east of Gaya a class of Brahmans who actually 
combine the two functions are satirized here. They play 
on the drum while performing the religious ceremony; and 
it is said that to ridicule this absurd practice this saying 
is used. 

388. Physician prescribing according to the patient's wish. 

^cc ^ ■sfrf^rm ^ 'rr^ %ft w^ ^iT^^ 

Je rogiya ka hhdire, sehi baida phurmdwe. 

Whatever the patient likes the doctor prescribes, that is, 
a sick man does not usually get what he wants to eat, the 
doctor prescribes a regimen which is distasteful : so when 
one finds that things are taking place after his heart, 
exactly as he wishes, this saying is used. 

Quarrelsome Women, Firebrands, etc. 

389. Quarrelsome women recommended to quarrel with 

Lar parosin did rakh. 

Quarrel you (women) neighbours, but be not unmindful 
of shame. 

Those who have any experience of Indian villages 
will readily and vividly recall the common sight of 
an altercation between two viragoes, gesticulating and 
screaming with all their might regardless of shame, and 


bent on pouring out on eact other without delay the full 
vials of their wrath. On such an occasion a ready by- 
stander would, half in derision, half in earnest, recommend 
them " to keep some breath to cool their porridge." 

^^ " Did," literally " eye "—hence shame. 

Fight, but please preserve a little shame in your eyes. 

390. A fire-brand, wherever she goes she sets people 
by the ears. 

^0.0 ^% ^^ %ft TT^'^ % % 51^ ^T tTT^ 

Jene geli khero rani, le le geli ag 2oani. 

Wherever went Queen Grass, she took with her fire and 

Applied usually to "a fire-brand," "a mischief-maker." 

A woman with mischief-making propensities strongly 
developed would take with her wherever she went her 
unhappy facility of setting by the ears all her neighbours : 
she would thus carry with her fire and water — the two 
elements at war with each other. 

^X; " Kher" is coarse grass, and easily takes fire when 

391. The misfortunes of a husband who has a scold of 
a wife. 

8dt ser ke sat pakaulun, chaudah ser ke eke, 

lun dahijaru sato khailah, main kulwanti eke. 

I made (cooked) seven cakes of a seer each, and one of 

fourteen seers : You " burnt beard ! " ate up all the seven, 

while I of high lineage ate the one only ! This is cast at 

a wife who is a scold, but who professes to be innocent 



and content with little, while in reality she greedily 
eats up even her husband's share. It is supposed to be 
innocently spoken by the wife, while in fact she is be- 
traying her own failings in the speech. 

^ff^^ "Dahijarv," is a contraction of ^^ ^TT " darlii 
jam" i.e. one whose beard has been burnt, a term of 
feminine abuse. To burn a man's beard or moustache is 
to disgrace him by casting a slur on his manhood. This 
is one of the many quaint abuses peculiar to the women 
of the low class in Bihar. They are far from being held 
in such abject subjection (in domestic matters) as is 
commonly supposed, and often make it uncommonly " hot" 
for their husbands with their sharp tongue (if not with 
their fists), whenever they happen to incur their displeasure. 
Their slang vocabulary is very copious indeed. Here 
are a few : — Tf^W^ " Muhjara," one with a burnt face ; 
lT1"'Ct ^''ft'fT " Pagri jarauna," one with a burnt head- 
dress ; 5J'^«1. 5^T " Juan dhaha," one whose youth is 
on the decline, or, rather may your youth or manhood 
fail you ; fsjjft^ " Nigora," one so unfortunate as not 
to possess a son {lit. one without legs) ; ^cRTf^ " EJiak- 
muhdn" one whose face is smeared with ashes, hence one 
disgraced, or one who ought to be ashamed of himself, etc. 

This proverb is a verse (the 2nd) out of the following 
bitter lampoon styled " The misfortunes of a husband who 
has a shrew at home." In this lampoon is adopted the 
style so common in Indian sarcasm and pasquinades of 
putting the ridiculing speech in the mouth of the object 
to be ridiculed, and thus by irony making him or her 
appear self-convicted. Here this speech, which really 
ridicules her, is made to appear as though uttered by 
the wife, although it is evident that nobody in her 


senses would make such a confession. The implied 
meaning is that this is how a scold is supposed to treat 
her husband. Some guests having casually dropt in, she, 
instead of taking it in good part, at once turns round 
and accuses her husband of having invited them, which 
is not a fact, because their coming was quite accidental, 
and foretold by the crows (an omen always relied on). 
Having falsely accused him of being greedy and of 
inviting these guests, she next taunts him with his 
poverty ; and in her endeavours to show what a good 
housewife she is in trying to make both ends meet, she 
betrays her own niggardliness by the confession that 
she has poured a lot of water into the rice to increase 
its quantity. She further adds to her guilt and makes 
her case very much worse by confessing that she (being 
really a witch at heart) has caused the death of [lit. has 
eaten up) her friends and relatives both at her father's 
and father-in-law^ s houses, and is now going to supplicate 
the gods in the most solemn manner for the death of her 
husband. It shows that the saying, " Every man can 
tame a shrew, but he that hath her," is universally true. 

W^\ '^K ^ ^^ t^^HsT ^T¥T %% fftf 

H ^51^ ^T¥1 t^i^: ^T37 ^TR ^Tff ^1 


Tdhi re puriihh lie ahhdg, karkasa jahi re ghare. 
Chhappar 2'>a.r je kaiia baisal, pdhun aile tin 
Tun, daliijaru, pahun ieklah, gointha lao ndliln bin 
Sdt set' ke sdt pakaulun, chaudah ser ke ek. 
Tuii, dahijaru, sdto khailah, main kulwanti ek. 
Klimli chvnlh ke bhdt pakaulun, adaJian delun bdhut. 
Bhar kathauta mdnr pamulun pla na dahijaru ke put 
Naihar khailuh sdsur khailun, khailun kid pariwdr 
Oanga pais ke dnchar binwon, kab muihen bhatdr. 

The misfortunes of a husband who has a shrew at home. 

Although the sitting of the crow upon the roof foretold 
the coming of the three guests (still the quarrelsome wife 
reproaches her husband thus :) " It is you ' burnt-beard ! ' 
who have detained these guests : why don't you go and 
pick up gointha ? " {i.e. cowdung fuel, to prepare food for 
them) . 

(Then comes the above proverb, 2nd verse, in the above 

"I cooked rice out of khudi chuni and put plenty of 
water in it. I have poured it out in the wooden platter : 
go and have your ' fill,' you son of a burnt-beard ! " 

I have eaten [ie. caused the death of) those at my 
father's house and those at my father-in-law's, and all 
my relations, and now I will get into the Ganges and 
pray for the death of my husband. 

^■^T ^'H^ Kaua baisal, "Augury by crows" {" Augu- 
riitm ex avibus "), is a common mode of ascertaining about 
the coming of friends and good news. If, on being 
questioned, it should fly away cawing, it is a certain sign 
that guests will come, or good news reach the person who 
asks. In the text it means that the arrival or visit of the 
guests was signified by a crow alighting on the roof, i.e. 



the husband had nothing to do with inviting them. A 
crow is supposed to know where anybody is because its 
cry is thain, tham, " place, place." 

Different auguries are drawn from the crow alighting 
on the edge, the middle, or the ridge of a roof of a 
thatched house, as in a Sanskrit verse of which the 
following is a translation : if on the edge and it utter 
a caw and fly away, it means the approach of mis- 
fortune ; if on the middle of the roof, it signifies the 
advent of good news, or a meeting with a dear friend ; 
if on the ridge, it forebodes a death in the family, loss of 
property, or a difference between friends. 

The following minute instructions are given for inter- 
preting the cawing of a crow. " As soon as you hear a 
crow, pick up a long straw or grass and measure its 
shadow by finger-lengths. Add 13 to it. Divide the 
total by six. The remainder will tell you the news the 
crow brings. If one, then be sure of gain; if two, expect 
guests ; if three, an immediate quarrel in the house ; iifour, 
a death ; iifive, a theft. If there is no remainder, then the 
crow is simply calling out to its mate" {i.e. the cawing 
has no meaning). 

^3^ ^'fV " Khudi chuni " are grains of rice broken in 
husking, and used by the poorer class of people : here 
meant to indicate their poverty and inability to entertain 

^«[^ " Adahan," is hot water in which rice is boiled. 
A large quantity of water is put to increase the nidnr or 
gruel, which is drained off and drunk by the poor. 

■^T^T f^l^^T " Anchar binwab " means to hold the hem 
of the sheet to the sun in the act of praying for any 
wish. To get into the Ganges and supplicate in this 


manner is the most solemn way of praying for any wish to 
be granted. 

392. A shrew strikes terror into a demon even. 
^^^ ^ wr^VlIT ^^TT^ TT^^ ^^^ li^^T 

Je jagdipen nagar ujdral, rdlms chhoral pipar, 
Sejagdlpa dwat hdri, hdthe le le musar. 

That Jagdlpa, who desolated the town (and on whose 
account) the demon even left his habitation of the Pipal, 
is now coming with a pestle in her hand. 

olJI^XTT " Jagdipa " was a village termagant, who by 
her constant brawling made it so unpleasant for her fellow- 
villagers that they finally quitted the village. When 
there was no one left to quarrel with, she, it is said, used 
to vent her rage on a piipal tree. Every morning armed 
with her broom she would attack the tree and vociferate. 
A demon, who dwelt on this tree, unable any longer to 
stand this daily invasion, also left his abode and sought 
refuge elsewhere. 

This saying is used as an invocation to exorcise evil 
spirits. Her name is sufficient to make any demon flee. 
Also said in joke when one noted for her temper is coming 
to a place. 

Quarrels and Jokes. 

393. The root of quarrels is practical jokes, as the root 
of disease is cough. 

Jhagra he jar hdnsi, rog he jar hhdrisi. 
The root of quarrels is practical jokes, just as the root 
of all sickness is cough. 


i.e. Practical jokes invariably lead to quarrels, just as 
cough, if not taken care of in proper time, leads to other 


39-1. Envious tears of an elder sister. 

Chhotki he hoy gawanwan barld haithal rowe anganwm. 

The younger sister is being married, the elder sits weeping 
at home. 

It is seldom that an elder sister is not married before 
the younger. If this happens, it is probably due to some 
defect in her, and therefore a cause of grief. 

ll^wj^ " Gawanwan," is the ceremony of going to the 
bride and bringing her home to her husband's house for 
the consummation of the marriage" (Grierson). 

Sympathy and want of it. 

395. Pains of a chapped foot. 

^eq t^TT ntl w% twr^ % 5n% ^t^ ^ttt^ 

Jekra gore phate beway sejane darad paray. 
A variation is : 

Jd he paon na phate heivdi, so ka jane plr pardi. 
One who has suffered from a chapped foot knows the 
pain of another (suffering similarly). 

396. Does a barren woman know the pain of childbirth ? 

Bdnjh M jdne parsaiit hi plra. 
How can a barren woman know the pain of childbirth ? 
^^ " Bdnjh " is a barren woman. , 


■RT^ft^ " Pctrsauti " is a woman after childbirth. 
^T^ff " Parsut " is the pain attending childbirth. 
E.E. He jests at scars who never felt a wound. (To 
express want of sympathy or feeling.) 

397. To cry before a blind man is to waste tears. 

?Q.^ ^"suj % m"^ t[^ m^^ ■^\^ ^tf 

Andhra ke age rom, dpan dlda lihoin. 

To cry before a blind man is to injure (lose) your own 
sight, (because he can't see and feel) ; useless supplication 
before one who cannot feel and appreciate. 

Cast at one who does not feel. 

398. Single-handed. 

?e^ T[% Wr ^T ^T^TT t t^^T f^ft ^ ^ITT 

Eke pTda dar darbdr, se haithlan chulhi ke dehdr. 

An only son, he has to attend court as well as to sit 
before the fire-place, i.e. single-handed he has to perform 
both domestic and outdoor work. 

Said of one who has nobody to help him. 


399. An unworthy son. 

Sural bans kahir ke jah jamle put kamal. 

The house (race) of Kahlr will be extinct now that (a 
son called) " Perfection " is born. 

oR^T^ " Kahlr" name of a faqir, great senior. 

=RTr^ " Kamdl" (Persian), is a name meaning "Per- 

The meaning is, that a faqTr is always humble, never 
assuming. If therefore a son is born to him who prides 


himself on being perfect, who fancies that he excels in 
worldly matters, then surely the venerable family of the 
faqir will no longer continue to be venerated. " Kamdl " 
in common parlance also means " an acute fellow," " a 
sharper," "a fop." Kamal was the son of the famous 
Kablr, and spent his time inventing proverbs in refutation 
of those invented by his father. Hence the proverb has 
two meanings: "Even if your son is named Kamal (per- 
fection), if he is a bad son, your race is ruined." 

400. The brave, the sati, and the enterprizing son avoid 
the beaten track. 

Llk Ilk gdri chale like chale kaput 
Tin Ilk par na chale surma, sati, saput. 

The unenterprizing (bad) son travels on the beaten road 
just as a cart moves on the wheel track. But three do not 
move on the wonted lines, the bold, the sati, and the 
enterprizing (good) son. 

The meaning is, that those who are not enterprizing 
follow the same old course (profession) as their forefathers 
did, just like cart wheels which must move on the wheel- 
mark. It is only those who are bold, arduous, and enter- 
prizing, that depart from the beaten track and mark out 
a course for themselves. These are the ^^T surma " the 
hero" (or "picked man"), who, leaving the calling of 
his ancestors, becomes a brave warrior ; the ^(ft sati, 
who is so devoted to her husband that at his death she 
elects to burn on his funeral pyre; and the ^xpT saput, 
the good or worthy son who likes to distinguish himself. 
The words Kaput and Saput are not to be taken too 


literally to mean " bad " and good sons, but rather one 
who is too " goody, goody," and one who is independent 
enough to chalk out a new course for himself. 


401. Good singers are apt to be bored. 

Ndii nlman gitiya gaib, nan manrioa dhailjaib. 

Neither shall I sing pretty songs, nor will they compel 
me to sing at the wedding feast, lit. take me by force to 
the wedding house to sing. 

Those who sing well are usually asked to entertain the 
guests at the marriage house (^'5^ mcmrwa). 

Therefore any one who is bored on account of displaying 
her talents in this way may make a resolution never to 
give indication of it, so as to avoid being asked in future 
to perform. "Would be said by one who felt bored on being 
repeatedly asked to lend her services gratuitously in con- 
sequence of her excelling in anything. 

" Rather keep my light under a bushel, than be asked 
frequently to lend it gratuitously ! " or it may be cast 
ironically at a bad singer. 

402. Social aspirant snubbed. 

Chaube gaile Chhaie hokhe, Duhe ji pdoh Idglle. 

The Chaube Brahman went to become Chhabe {i.e. to get 
promoted to a higher status) ; but on the road was saluted 
as Diihe (i.e. a lower Brahman). 

■5"^ I>Ube and Chaube are sects of Brahmans who take 
their names from being followers of two or four Veds. 
This is simply a play on the words Dube and Chaube. 


Chhahe is a fictitious title. It uniformly witK Chaube and 
Duhe means one learned in the six Vedas, ■which is an 
impossibility, as there are only four. Really a Chaube 
is not a higher Brahman than a Buhe, but occasion is 
taken of the numeral prefixes two and_/o«r to make a joke. 
Used in ridiculing one who seeks to be socially raised, 
but meets with a rebufi". 

Troubles increased. 

403. She went to ask for a son, but lost her husband. 

Put mange gaili, bhatdr dele aili. 

She went to ask for a son, but lost her husband. 

When in the attempt to obtain anything one sacrifices 
something better, the above saying is quoted. It is a 
common practice for a childless woman to go and sup- 
plicate certain gods with Totive offerings for a son. 

404. He prayed that his troubles may be lessened, but 
they were doubled. 

Deokur gele duna dukh. 

He went to the gods (to sue that his affliction may be 
lessened), but got his troubles doubled. 

^W3iT " Deokur " is the place where a deity is invoked. 

The meaning is, that he went to supplicate the gods that 
his sufferings might be lessened, but, on the contrary, 
became burdened with additional troubles. 

Said when one endeavours to get any weight removed, 
but is burdened with more. There is a town of this 
name too. Deokur, or Deokund, is the name of a town 
in Gaya on a bank of a now-deserted bed of the river 


Son. It was here that pilgrims crossed the Son on their 
way from the north-west provinces to Rajgir. It is a 
holy place. Deokund means " well of the gods." 

405. The dead boy had fine eyes. 

Muala put ke bar bar dnkh. 

The boy when dead is always said to have had fine (big) 
eyes, i.e. the dead child is always praised for its beauty 
by the mother. 

" Big eyes " are considered an especial feature of beauty. 

Said when one praises anything that does not exist 
any longer. 


406. The man who offers you tobacco and lime unasked 
is sure to go to heaven. 

?TT17T 1T17T -^W^T, -^M ^^ cfi^ % 

Chun tamdku san ke, bin mange je de 
Surpur, Narpiur, Ndgpur, tinun bas kar le. 
The man who mixes tobacco with lime (for chewing) 
and offers it without being asked, conquers (by his 
virtuous action) heaven, earth, and the lower regions 
(Grierson). A common way of praising one who generously 
offers another tobacco. 

407. Tobacco is necessary for life. 

Hhor bhae manus sabhjage, huka, chilam bajan Idge. 
At daybreak the people awoke and immediately the 
hukkas began to gurgle. 


"Tobacco is the subject of many proverbs," says Mr. 

"A folk-tale about tobacco runs that a villager who went 
to a distant village to visit his friends found them smoking 
in the morning before they had said prayers, whereupon 
he said the above lines. To which one of the smoking 
party replied : 

%n> ^^ IT fq^R> fq^ % ix; ^cn^: tin t^^ 

Khainikhae, na piyani piye, se nar hatawah kaisejiye. 

' Show me the man who can live without either chewing 
or smoking tobacco.' This verse has passe4 into a proverb. 

" Tobacco is often compared to the River Ganges, which 
has three streams, one of which flows to heaven, another 
to hell, and the third to the world of mortals. So also 
tobacco has three branches, viz. snufl", which by being 
sraelt goes upwards ; smoking tobacco, which by being 
smoked goes downwards ; and chewing tobacco which 
goes neither up nor down." 

408. The devil even flees from a thrashing. 

Mar ke dare hhut Mage. 

Even the devil flees from a thrashing ! i.e. every one is 
afraid of a beating, even the devil. Hence it is often 
assumed that what nothing will efiect a beating will. 

This is literally believed by the people, though they 
may not so frequently now resort to this means of exor- 
cising the evil spirit that may have taken possession of 
an individual. On one occasion a servant boy, who had 
unwittingly committed a nuisance under a venerated Pipal 
tree, was, as a punishment for the desecration, said to have 
been seized by the insulted deity who presided over the 


tree ; because shortly after it he was taken ill with fever 
and ague. He was unmercifully thrashed by his master 
with the utmost sang froid, in the firm conviction that it 
was the surest way of frightening the devil out of him 
and saving the boy's life. The boy recovered slowly, and 
the cure was ascribed to the whipping the poor boy had 
received. This is a story known to the writer. 


409. The thief on the contrary mulcting the police. 

Ulta chor kotwale dande. 
The thief, on the contrary, exacts a penalty from the 
watchman ! 

Used when the right order of things is reversed. 

410. Thick as thieves. 

Chor chor mausidut hhdi, sdnjhe hansmca dhail pajdi. 

Both are thieves : they are like two maternal cousins 
who keep the sickle ready sharpened in the evening (for 
operating at night). 

*ri Rj *4T^fT Tlt^ " Mausidut hhdi " are maternal cousins 
(sons of two sisters), who are said to be more attached to 
one another than other cousins, probably because they 
have no property to share, whereas sons of two brothers 
usually have. 

Said of two who are accomplices and help each other in 
any prearranged wicked act, although, outwardly they 
do not show it. 

E.E. "Like two peas in a pod," or " Thick as thieves! " 



411. A thief's heart is ia the l-ahri field. 

Chorwa he man base kakrl ke khet men. 
The thief's heart is set on the gourd field, i.e. a thief sets 
his heart wherever he can get to steal. 

412. With a thief he is a thief, to a watchman he is a 
servant only. 

Chorak sang clior pahrak sang khawas. 

With other thieves he is a thief, but in the presence of 
the watchman he is simply a servant, i.e. who runs with 
the hare and hunts with the hounds. 

^■«ITy "Khawas," slave, a male house servant (Grierson). 

413. A thief is a thief, whether he steals a diamond or 
a cucumber. 

Chor jaisne hlra ke, waisne khlra ke. 
A thief is a thief, whether he steals a diamond or a 
cucumber. Cucumber is one of the cheapest vegetables. 

414. A thief will not stick at a borrowed plate. 

Chor jane mangni ke bdsan. 
It does not matter to a thief if it is a borrowed plate, 
i.e. A thief will not hesitate to steal because the plate 
does not belong to you. It is all the same to him. 

415. An impudent thief he warns when he steals. 

Bariyar chor sendhi me gdice. 


A fearless robber : he sings in the breach even ! 

"^nl^ " Sendhi " is the breach or hole made in the wall 
by thieves. 

If a thief sings in the act of stealing, he must indeed 
be impudent. 

Said of one who commits a fault and fearlessly proclaims 
it, or laughs over it ; one who does anything wrong and is 
shameless enough not to keep quiet over it, but makes it 
a point to boast over his misdeeds. 

416. A thief: and with a face bright as the moon. 

Chor lie munh chdnd niar. 

The face of a thief and beaming like the moon ! i.e. a 
thief ought to hide his face and be ashamed of showing 
it, and not " beam " like the moon. If any one commits 
a fault, and is ready to defend his conduct in a bare- 
faced manner, this proverb is used. 

417. Taking tick sitie die. 

Le hlng udhdri haisdkh ke ek rdri. 

Taking assafcetida on tick promising to pay in Baisakh ! 

Dealers and pedlars in Bihar go round selling their 
articles of trade, postponing the settlement to Baisakh 
(April-May) when the rabbi (or spring) crop has been 
harvested. Assafcetida is one of the articles commonly 
sold in this way. It is used by the Biharis in their food, 
especially in their dall. 

Said when one takes tick, thoughtlessly promising to paj', 
without much prospect of being able to do so. 


418. The idler (indolent), 

jj'=i^ ^H ^ w^ '^ifrt tI^ ^'^ 

Kam na dhandha, arhai roti handha. 

Certain of his income (literally of 2^ loaves of bread) he 
neither works, nor has thoughts. 

Aimed at those who have a small fixed income and are 
idle and thoughtless in consequence. 

419. Uncle and nephew always at loggerheads (paying 
off old scores) . 

Cliachcha chor hhatlja kdji chachcha Ice sir par panhi hdji. 

The uncle is the thief and the nephew the magistrate, 
(it is a foregone conclusion that) the former will receive a 
shoe-beating on his head. 

Among the natives it is a common idea that there is 
always ill-feeling between the uncle and nephew, owing, 
perhaps, to the always chiding the latter to mind 
his studies or duties, so that, when the nephew gets a 
chance, he is only too ready to pay off old scores. Said 
when any result is a foregone conclusion : when any one 
is sure to come to grief in an encounter. 

420. Vicissitudes of life. 

In nainoh ki ehi hisekh, ivah hhi dekha wah hhi dekh. 

It is the peculiarity of these eyes : they have witnessed 
these, now let them witness those. 

f%%7|| " Bisekh," speciality, characteristic, peculiarity. 

Said in self- consolation when a complete and un- 
expected change takes place. It is the peculiarity of the 

eye to witness all vicissitudes of life, » 



421. "Waiting for the auspicious time may bring ruin. 

8^<^ 'Ei^ W w?: 31^ 1^ ^ft ^ji 

Ghari men ghar jare, nau ghari hhadra. 

The house is burnt down in an hour: while the unlucky 
period (during which no attempt must be made to save it) 
lasts for nine hours. 

So long as the *T5T hhadra (inauspicious period) lasts, 
nothing that is to be a success ought to be undertaken. If 
therefore any one idly waits for the inauspicious hour to 
pass away, instead of taking time by the forelock, he may 
fitly be compared to the man who makes no attempt to 
save his burning house because the inauspicious hour has 
not yet run out. 

Said sarcastically when any one idly waits for an oppor- 
tunity while it is slipping away. 

3T37 " Bhadra," the inauspicious period, comes round 
every month and on eight certain days (30 dands, or 12 
hours, on each day). They are the 3rd, 7th, 10th and 
14th of the first or dark half ; and the 4th, 8th, 11th, 
and 15th of the second or light half of each lunar month. 
During these periods nothing important is undertaken. 
Besides these there are the tj^T^T " pachkha," or five 
unlucky daj^s in each month when nothing connected 
with woodwork is undertaken, e.g. houses {i.e. thatched 
houses) are not begun to be built on those days, bamboos 
are not cut, wells are not constructed, etc. The paclikha 
lasts for about two or three hours on each of the five days. 

422. Waverer's repentance. 

, Ghar rahe na hdhar gnyc, munr munra ke pkajihat hhaye. 


He is neither a useful domestic man nor a proper faqlr ; 
by having his head shaved he has disgraced himself, that 
is to say, he is neither fit for attending to domestic duties, 
nor to worldly business : by shaving his head he has 
rendered himself (deservedly) an object of ridicule. 

This would be said perhaps in self-reproach by one who 
had placed himself in a fix by his indecision. 

" One between two stools." The expression ghar rahe 
na hahar gaye means "fit for nothing," "of neither side," 
lit. " neither of the house nor of outside." 

W^ fr^Ul^ " Munr munrdei," to shave one's head as a 
first step towards becoming an ascetic (corresponds to 
taking the veil by nuns). A man who has taken this 
step, but has not had the moral courage to leave his home 
and worldliness, might be said to have disgraced himself. 

423. A spinster weeping with a widow. 

Mdnr rdnr ehwdti rowas, sang Idgal kundro roicas. 

A widow weeps because she is a widow, and perhaps a 
woman with a husband living (has also cause to weep) ; but 
in their company a spinster also weeps ! 

Xrf^ "Rdnr" is a widow, and XTf^cfV " ehiodti" a 
married woman whose husband is alive ; cR41|0 " kundro " 
is a spinster, an unmarried girl. 

It is the right thing for a widow to weep at all times 
for her departed husband. Sometimes women whose 
husbands are alive also join in the wailing. 

The meaning is, that it can be understood that a widow 
weeps because she has lost her husband; and perhaps a 


woman who has her husband alive also has cause to weep 
when in company of widows (perhaps she is bewailing 
her husband's faults) ; but the marvel is that an unmarried 
woman also in their company weeps just the same as 
they do. 

Aimed at those who do anything (grieve for example) 
in imitation of others or who pretend to grieve with others 
while they have really no cause. 

424. Handful of bangles or a widow. 

8 5^8 *r^ ^ff ^ft (^1 ^T) '^ Ti rf ^ x;ff 

Bhar bank churi {mdng sendur) ki pat'de ranr. 

Either have a handful of bangles or at once be a widow, 
i.e. have no ornaments. Variation is, "Either have a 
head full of vermilion or at once be {i.e. behave like) a 
widow." Widows seldom, or never, adorn themselves: all 
ornaments and decorations are forbidden. A woman who 
becomes a widow has to break her lac bangles at once. 
The idea is perhaps that as suddenly and surely as a 
woman becomes a widow (i.e. from having a handful of 
ornaments she sinks to one who must henceforth avoid all 
kinds of ornaments) so should you arrive at a conclusion. 

It is a quaint way of urging one to choose one of two 
courses, and not to vacillate ; to come to the point at once ; 
to decide one way or the other. 


i^'edding of the 

425. Wedding of the noseless woman and nine hundred 

Naktike hiydh nao sai bhakath. 


It is the wedding of the nose-clipt (woman) but there 
are nine hundred obstacles. 

A noseless woman is devoid of beauty, and certainly not 
likely to be sought after. No objections are likely to be 
made from her side on the score of the amount to be paid 
by the bridegroom (as is usually the case about wedding 
presents). Her marriage therefore ought to be the easiest 
thing in the world. Hence in the accomplishment of any 
ordinary duty, if a hundred obstacles are met with, this 
saying is used. Making too much fuss about a little 

E.E. "Much ado about nothing." "Tempest in a 

426. "Wedding headdress made of mango leaves even. 

Maur na mile tah am ke pahce sahi. 

If the (proper) wedding headdress cannot be had, then 
mango leaves will answer. 

^■^; "Maur" is the headdress worn by Hindu bride- 
grooms during the marriage ceremony. It is made of 
talipot leaves, and in some places of date leaves. 

Said sarcastically when something else is made to answer 
for the proper thing in an hour of need. 

427. The song ought to be for her whose wedding it is. 

8R^ ^^T 'rf^ B^T 'ftcT 

Jekar mdnro tekar git. 

The song should be for her whose wedding it is. 

(This proverb is the reverse of Proverb No. 202). The 
meaning is that we should act in a manner befitting the 

TITSt "Mdnro, the day before the expected arrival of 


tlie marriage procession, the family sets up a bamboo shed 
in the courtyard over the fireplace. This shed is called 
Marhwa, Manrwa, or Manro. It is the hut in which a 
marriage ceremony is conducted" (Grierson). 


428. Easy worship of the plpal tree. 

Goenra ke ptpiar dahinaulejah. 

The plpal tree is in the adjoining (homestead) field ; it 
does not cost anything to keep it to your right in passing 
it ! (and thus do an act of " cheap " worship !) 

^ff«f|"% " Dahinaule." In worshipping, the devotee 
goes usually five times round the object to be worshipped, 
keeping it to his right. If the '^^^^ plpal-ivQe (which is 
worshipped in Bihar) is situated right at your door, it 
is no trouble to keep it to your right in going into your 
house. You thus, without any effort, do an act of obeisance 
as it were, or make a pretence of it. As a matter of fact, a 
superstitious Hindu, if he can help it, will always keep 
a, pqxil tree to his right in passing it. 

Said in ridicule of one who tries to get credit without 
using much exertion, endeavours to satisfy himself that 
he has done a religious act without going into the trouble . 
and expense of following all the ceremonies and rites. 

Also cast in joke at those who make a pretence of 
observing some religious ceremony. 

" "Winning cheap the high renown." 

429. Making a virtue of necessity in worshipping. 

8=^0. ^T^ ^H ftrl^l % %-Z 

Ural satu piitran ke paith. 


May the sattu -wafted by the breeze go to my dead 
ancestors, i.e. a little quantity of the meal he has been 
carrying in his hand is blown off by the wind and scattered, 
and this he piously gives as an offering to the souls of 
his ancestors, saying, " May this be accepted as an offering 
from me by the ghosts of my ancestors ! " 

Said to laugh at one who makes a virtue of necessity. 



Proverbs relating to Agriculture and Seasons. 
430. Distant farming ruinous. 

Banda hail lelaunja pdhi, ekjan niarlan dwejdhi. 

(A possessor of) a useless (tailless) bullock who culti- 
vates in Belaunja {i.e. a distant village) is killed simply 
in going and coming, i.e. with an inferior bullock it is 
simply death for a single man to have a distant culti- 
vation, because he wastes his time in going to and fro. 

■^TS^ " Banda " is without a tail or with a docked tail. 
A bullock without a tail is proverbially weak, and there- 
fore useless. (The word is also pronounced hanrd or hdnr.) 

TTT^ " Pdhi " is a non-resident cultivator. A raiyat 
who lives in one village and cultivates in another is a 
"pahi" (or "foreign") cultivator of the latter village. 
To be a "pahi," one must necessarily possess the means. 

^^sD^jil " Belaunja " is a pargana in Palamau. Stands 
here for a remote village. 

A man who without sufficient means at his command 
ventures to cultivate in a distant village is sure to suffer 
for his imprudence ; for one single man with an indifferent 
bullock would simply waste his and his biillock's life in 
the journey to and fro, and really be able to do no 

Usually said to laugh at a distant pdhi jot or remote 



431. The closer the field, the easier the culture. 

Aril/a he gariya hhala pdhi ke na duh. 

A field that is contiguous but inferior is to be preferred 
to one distant and superior (literally one under water, but 
in another Tillage). 

-=mIX*4I ^ Tf'C^ " Ariya ke gariya." i[^t^ " gariya " 
is a field in which a little rain causes puddle : it is un- 
productive, and ariya is adjoining your boundary. The 
expression therefore means a " gariya " field that is 
adjoining your boundary, i.e. near your cultivation. 
These soils {gariya) are difficult to cultivate. In showery 
weather they cannot be ploughed because the action of 
the plough and the treading of the plough cattle work 
the soil into a puddle ; while in dry weather these soils 
become so hard and compact that no ordinary plough will 
penetrate them. 

^^ Dub or 3TW Dhdb is land that is for a part of the 
year under water, and for a part of it dry ; it is very 

The meaning is, that it is better to possess an inferior 
field adjoining your boundary (because it can be easily 
looked after) than a superior one in a distant village 
where it cannot be attended to so easily. 

432. Selling bullocks for seed. 

i^^ %^ %ff 55^^ ^ t^ t%|i% ^'^^ ^T 

Kheti kaillnjlye la, bail bikaile biye la. 

I took to husbandry to gain a livelihood, but the 
bullocks were sold for seed ! 

Said when one exhausts his means in gaining an end, a 
misfortune which literally happens in seasons of drought. 


433. A farmer is known when at his field. 

Khet charhe kisan. 

When one engages himself in husbandry, then only 
can it be said whether he is a farmer. 

(^fT ^% Khet charhe is an idiomatic phrase meaning to 
take action or to go to action ; e.g. when an army has 
taken the field it is said, x:^^ %fl '^'^phauj khetcharhale.) 

A true or experienced husbandman can only be known 
when he begins farming, and not from his talk. 

434. Anxieties of agriculture unknown to the lazy 

,!i?{J ^ 'I ^fft xn;'" ?i -q^ ^\ ^T 'iff" WEfT 'g^ 

Karain na kheti parain na plumd, 
Par ghar ndhcheh musar chand. 

He does not cultivate (and consequently) meets with 
no difficulty {i.e. meets with no failures) : thus free 
from care MQsar Chand spunges on another [lit. dances 
in another's house). 

T5«^ " Phand" from lh<T^| phanda, a noose, a net, a 
difficulty, a scrape. 

IT^T; ^"^ "Musar Chand," a metaphorical name bor- 
rowed from the word ^l{W^ Musar, a stout wooden pestle used 
in cleaning rice from husk. The wooden vessel in which 
grain is pounded is called '^'i'^ okhri, also '^1^ ukhli. 

Musar Chand is applied to a fat, well-fed, lazy lout. 
An able-bodied man who will not work from laziness. 

" Fat as a Miisar " is a common expression. (The 
nasal n at the end of " Karain," "parain," and " ndncheh " 
marks the tone of contempt. It is used to denote respect 
towards the person spoken of, but here used in irony.) 



435. If goats and sheep answer for ploughing, why 
purchase bullocks ? 

Chheri hhenri lial chale haradh hesdhln kdhe. 

If goats and sheep can be used for the purpose of 
ploughing, why buy oxen ! 

Said ironically when inferior men are expected to 
perform duties above their capacity. (Compare Proverb 
No. 151.) 

436. Impertinent request to lend a bullock. 

B^§ ^^^ ^Tyer ^^Tj % ^? (friTT ^i^TT ^^ 

Apart hardha hamra he dah tohra angivdr sahela. 

Pray give me your bullock, for a borrowed bullock (in 
exchange for your labour) befits you better ! 

"^T^TT " Angwdr" is one who does not possess any 
bullock of his own, but gets the loan of a yoke of oxen 
and plough in exchange for his manual labour (ang- 
" limb "). Thus, for instance, A has no bullock ; B has 
(say) a yoke. A will work as a ploughman in B's field 
for two days, and get the use of -B's plough and oxen for one 
day. It is therefore the height of impertinence for a man 
to ask the owner for his plough and suggest his working 
as a labourer (in order to get his own field ploughed), 
because labour befits him better ! 

The above is the practice when a man has no ox of his 
own. When he has one, he usually borrows another from 
a neighbour to complete the yoke for ploughing his field, 
returning the accommodation by lending his own in return. 
This is called the pariha system, or taking it in turns 
when both are labourers. But it often happens that one of 
a respectable caste (say a Brahman), who is reluctant to 


work as a labourer, possesses a plough of oxen. He lends 
them to a labourer (who has a field) for one day, and gets 
his services to plough his land for two days. The princi- 
ple is that the labourer and two oxen make three factors : 
whichever side owns two of these gets the service of the 
yoke for two days, and the other party for one day. If 
the ploughman owns one bullock, he gets the use of the 
plough for two days. 

437. The meaning of a speckled cloud and a widow 
applying scented oil. 

^1 «?|T ^ vti-ft Wf w^ ^f ^T^ 

Titar panhhi hadri, rdnr pJiulel lagdy, 
Kali bhaddar sun bhaddari ivah aive yah jay. 

"When you see a cloud speckled like the wing of the 
partridge, and a widow applying scented oil to her hair," 
saith Bhaddar, " Hear, Bhaddari, the former will rain 
and the latter will elope." 

(fVff^ q?^ " Titar pankhi," spotted or speckled like the 
wing of the partridge. 

TT^ JRdnr. A widow is never supposed to apply scented 
oil or adorn herself in any way. 

TfT "Bhaddar" was a local poet and of some fame. 
He has interpreted the signs of the seasons in rhymes 
which have passed into proverbs. Some of his descendants 
(an inferior class of Brahmans) are still supposed to reside 
in a village of the Shahabad district. The following story 
is told of Bhaddar : — When very young he was stolen 
from his home in Shahabad by a famous magician or 
astrologer, who carried him away to his country and 


adopted him. Bhaddar became so thoroughly proficient 
in astrology and all the mystic arts, that his patron gave 
him his daughter in marriage. Desirous of seeing his 
early home, he found out by astrology in what direction 
it lay ; and then, having ascertained by his science the 
exact auspicious hour and day of his departure, he secretly 
awaited them, as he knew his wife would be against his 
leaving her. Unfortunately the ex9,ct auspicious hour 
came round when he was at his meals, his wife being 
present in attendance. Being well up in jotish laws of 
astrology, he made a move with his foot (as a beginning 
of his journey), which was all that was needed to 
make his journey a success. His wife, who was 
herself an adept in jotish, observed this action of her 
husband's, and at once understood what it meant, but 
pretended ignorance. In order, however, to frustrate his 
intention, she cast a spell over a river which he had to 
cross ; and in consequence of this the ferry-boat in 
which Bhaddar was crossing upset when in mid-stream. 
But as Bhaddar had started in a propitious hour nothing 
could effectually stop him. He was therefore borne to the 
other side on the back of a fish. This convinced his wife 
that her husband was a superior magician and astrologer, 
and that nothing that she could do would prevent 
him from carrying out his wish. So she gave up the 
idea, and followed him to his original home (in Shahabad), 
where they settled for good. 

438. The meaning of beginning to rain on Saturdaj', 
Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday respectively. 

{J^^ ^rf^ '^^Tt f^-^ <f^l Tf^ ^T ^x;% WTT ^ 

Shani arhai, mangal tin, Habi gur harse dtho din. 


If it begins to rain on Saturday, it will continue to 
rain for two days and a half; if on Tuesday, for three 
days ; if on Sunday or Thursday, it will rain for the next 
eight days. 

439. The meaning of the rainbow at the beginning and 
end of rain. 

(Indra dhanukh) 

TJgai iige main bhare, histvat ugejdy. 

If the (rainbow) appears when the rain has just begun, 

the earth will be filled {i.e. there will be a very heavy fall 

of rain) ; if at the end, it is a sign that the rain will stop. 

440. The meaning of the halo round the moon on 
Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday respectively. 

f^^ 'qt^ ^ ?Ttf *r-^n f^^ 

RaM gur mcmgal jaun chanda paribeltli, 
Din chauthe, attJie mahi hharan hishekh. 

If the halo is seen round the moon on Sunday (night), 
it will positively rain the day following ; if on Thursday, 
on the fourth day ; and if on Tuesday, on the eighth day. 

441. The rain of the beginning of Aradra and end of 

^%" *f^?; ^"^^ 1^ if^cTT ^'l- t^Tl^ 

Aii'cd Mar nan diye, jdt nan diye hast, 
Kahen bhaddar dou gaye, banita au givhast. 



This proverb is a double entendre : it may mean the 
" wife " or the rainy season. 

On coming home (to her father-in-law's house), if a 
wife is not received with due ceremony and regard; 
and if on going she is not given any present in her 
hand (the usual etiquette of native domestic life), says 
Bhaddar, she will go, i.e. she will elope. Or, 

If at the commencement of the monsoons there is 
no rain in Adra, and if, at their close, there is none in 
Hathiya, then says Bhaddar, it is a bad look-out for the 
farmer as well as the labourer {i.e. the farmer is sure to 
be ruined and the labourers are sure to get no work and 
will starve). 

^^X; Adar is a colloquial form of -41 5^ I Adra, or ^^ 
»m'W Ardra Nachhattra. It also means "civility." 
" Adar harna " is to treat one with due civility and 
ceremony, and f^ Hast is " hand," or the ^f^^ »l^'W 
Sathiya Nachhattra. The Adra or Aradra and Hathiya 
or Hast are two out of twenty-seven Nachhattras or lunar 
asterisms into which the Hindu year is divided. The 
former embraces parts of June and July ; and the latter 
parts of September and October. They are the beginning 
and end of the rainy seasons ; and are the principal periods 
of rain, on which chiefly depends the success of agri- 
cultural operations. The following extract from Mr. 
Grierson's " Bihar Peasant Life " (Division YL, par. 
1082) shows these divisions clearly : — 

" There are 27 of these {Nachhattras or lunar asterisms) 
in each year, and consequently 2-j in each month. Each 
asterism is not of equal length. The longest is hathiya, 
with 16 lunar days. Every agricultural operation com- 
mences in a certain asterism." 



442.1 The asterisms of Maggha, Swati and Hathiya. 
aSR JTTEn ^^T% 'EH^ ftimfft ^^¥ ZTZ^ 

Maggha lagawe ghaggha, Siicdti Idwas tati, 
Kahtari Hdthi rani, ham him dwat bdti. 
Maggha (latter part of August) brings rain-storms ; 
Su'dti (latter part of October) brings a screen (i.e. rain 
stops) ; and Queen Hathiya (September- October) tells 
(by ber thunder) that she is 

443. The effects of the several rains on the different 

^Twt Tf tf ■^'^m fn^ ^f| in ^^ 'fr^T' 

Phdgu kardi, chait chiik, kirttik natthahi tdr, 
Stcdti natthahi nidkh til, kahi gae Ddk Goar. 

If it rains in the month of Phdgun (February-March) 
Uriel is spoilt ; if in the month of Chait (March- April) 
lemons ; if in the asterism of Krittika (about middle of 
May) the toddy palms ; and if in that of Swdti (latter part 
of October) beans and sesasum ; saith Ddk the Goudla. 

444. The effect of rain in Baisdkh (April-May) on 
paddy ; it is doubled. 

Jaiin barse Baisakkha rdu, ek dhdn men dolar chau. 
If King Baisdkh (April- May) rain, every grain of 
paddy will produce two of rice. 

1 ProYerbs 442 to 491 are taken from Mr. Grierson's " Bihar Peasant Life," 
■with the author's kind permission. 


445. If there is rain in Krittika (middle of May), there 
will be no rain for the six following asterisms. 

88M ^t%^ "gn '^ % jTir iff frff ^1 Iff ^^ ^ 

Krittika chue chhau le mue, jaun RoJiini nuhln kado kare. 
If it rains in Krittika (middle of May), there will be no 
rain for the six following asterisms, provided Rohini 
(beginning of June) makes no mud. A variation is 

Krittika chue tin le mue rdhar renr kapds, 
Jaun rohin dadhi kado kare hare dokh unchds. 

446. When to sow china, 

Jah janihah karcha ke hin, krittika men tun boihah chin. 

Krittika (latter part of May) is the best asterism for 

sowing china (Panicum frumentosum) ; hence they say in 

Tirhut : If you find your stock of food becoming exhausted, 

sow china in Krittika (i.e. about middle of May). 

447. When rice will be plentiful. 

^ ^^ 1^ filWf^ ^tH Vim 1 liT^ 

Mirgsira tabay Rohini labay Aradrajdy budbuddy, 
Kahe Dah sunn Bhillari, kutta bhdt na khdy. 
If Mirgsira (in June) is hot, Rohini (about beginning of 
June) rains, and Aradra (middle of June) gives a few 
drops. Saith Ddk, hear, Bhillari, (rice will be so 
plentiful that) even dogs will turn up their noses at it. 
The following notes on the Proverbs 442 to 447 from 
Mr. Grierson's book are useful : — 



" Cultivation commences in Jeth in the asterism of 
Rohini, when ploughing and sowing begin. The rain 
of Mirgsira is not good, and hence no sowing is done 
in that asterism. In Aradra sowing is recommenced 
and transplanting is done for the winter [Aghani) crop. 
This goes on into Punarbas and Pukh if the rains are 
late. In Magha and Purha Phdguni the urid, kurthi, and 
other pulses are sown. In Mathiya rain is very important, 
both for the winter crops and for sowing of the spring 
(rabbi) crops. In former days (say cultivators) the rains 
used to stop in Sivdti, which was very good for the crops, 
but now they end in Hathiya. So valuable is the rain of 
Swati that any drop which falls during that asterism 
into a pearl-oyster becomes a pearl : that is how pearls 
are made. The rain in Chitra on the contrary is very 

448 to 453. The rain of Aradra (middle of June) is of 
considerable importance to the future crop. 

448. The rain of Aradra (middle of June) does away 
with distress. 

Adra mdmje boe sdthi, Bukh ke mar nikdlah Idthi. 
If you sow sixty day rice in Aradra, you strike distress 
with a club and drive it away. 

449. If it does not rain at the commencement of Aradra 
and end of Hathiya the cultivator gets ruined. 

^f if ^^ ^^ twfr *I^ tWR fq^TT 

Adi na barse aradra, hast na barse niddn, 
Kahahln Dak sunu Bhillari bhae kisdn pisdn. 


If Aradra does not rain at tlie commencement, and 
Hathiya at its end, saith Dak, hear, Bhillari, the 
cultivator is crushed (see Proverb No. 441). 

450. If it rains at the commencement of Aradra and 
end of Hathiya, the cultivator can stand any increase to 
his rent. 

8M0 '^IcT ^T% ^T?TT ^rTTTI ^^t f i^I 

^fT^ TT^rr ^T^ Ti ^'J^ fiTi ^ 

Charhat harse aradra, utrat barse hast, 
Kaiek raja danre, rahe anand girhast. 

If it rains when Aradra commences and when Hathiya 
is ending, no matter h.ow much rent may be demanded, 
the householder is still happy. 

451. The rain oi Aradra injures y««<;as only. 

Aradra barse sabh kichhu hdn, eh jawas patar bin bhdn. 

If Aradra rains, everything grows {Kt. "is"), only one, 
thejawds [Hedysarum Alhagi), loses its leaves. 
(«ITr^ Jawds is a kind of grass.) 

452. "When to prepare the fields, and when to sow- 

tJM^ ^1 jiT^^ ^^ >Tfi Mim •^^^;m ^iT^ ^1 

Pukh Punarbas boe dhdn, Maggha Aslekha kddo sdn. 

Sow paddy in Pukh and Punarbas, and in Maggha and 
Aslekha mix thoroughly the mud (i.e. prepare the fields). 

Aradra and Punarbas are the two main asterisms of the 
month of Akharh (June- July). This is the great month 



of the year for finishing the preparations of the fields, as 
the proverb says : — 

Jekar hmial akharwa re tekar harho mas. 

i.e. He whose fields are ready in AkJidrh, is ready also 
all the year round. 

If the rains are late, paddy sowing goes on as late as 
Punarbas or even Pukh, but this is rarely successful. 
These last two asterisms are usually devoted to trans- 
planting and not sowing. (Paragraph 1086, Grierson.) 

453. The efiect of paddy being sown in Aradra, Punar- 
bas, or Pukh. 

Aradra dhan, Punarbas paiy a, gel kisan,je boe Chiraiya. 

Paddy sown in Aradra turns to plenty, in Punarbas it 
has empty ears, and sown in Pukh it turns to nothing. 

454 to 464. [After Akhdrh (June-July) comes Sdican or 
Sdoii (July- August), to which the following rhymes 

454. The meaning of a cloudy sunrise on the seventh 
day of the bright half in Sdwan. 

8M8 'FTT^I 5^>^ ^T^ wf^ % ^Tff vr[^ 

TiT ^f^ wsci ^Tt ^T ^f^ \^ 'a^Ti 

Sdon sukla saptami chhapi kai ugahin bhdn, 
Taun lagi megha barsejauh lagi deb uthdn. 
If on the morning of the seventh of the bright half of 
Sdican the sun rises obscured by clouds, it will rain up to 
the festival of the Deb Uthdn (11th of the light half of 
Kdtik, i.e. early in November). 


455. The meaning of a clear sunrise on the same day. 

Sdoti sukla saptami, ug ke lukahin sur, 
Sanko piya har harad, barkha gel bari dur. 
If on the same day as that above mentioned (in Proverb 
454) the sun rises (clear) and afterwards hides itself 
behind clouds, drive away, my dear, your plough and 
buUocks, for the rain is very far off, 

456. The meaning of a cloudless morning on the same 

84^ m^-^ f 5R^T ^H^ ^t ^> t^ 'HT 

Soon sukla saptami, udaijo dekhe bhan, 
Turn jao piya Malwa, hamjaibon Multdn. 
A cloudless morning on the same day (is a sure sign of 

drought). My dear, (let us leave the country) ; I am going 

to Multan, and you go to Malwa. 

457. The meaning of a dark night on the same date. 

aM'Q ^m^^^ w^^a ^»ft ti iifi ^rfwr"^ 
^ 'TfT 'gf *t|Tt in;^7T -^v:m^ mT. 

Sdon sukla saptami, rain honhi masiyar, 
Kah Bhaddar sunu Bhaddari, parbat upjay sar. 
If on the same date the night is dark, says Bhaddar, 

hear, Bhaddari, excellent crops will grow even on a 


458. The meaning of thunder at midnight on the same 


84^ m^^ 5^^ ¥^ ^ 1T% '^Tf^ XTH 

iSdo/i se«A/ffl saptami, jon garje ddhi rat, 
Turn jdo piya Malwa, hamjaibon Gujrdt. 

If on the same date it thunders at midnight (there will 
be a drought). You must go to Malwa, and I to Gujrat. 

459. The effect of rain in Sdwan (July- August), and 
thunder in Bhddon (August-September). 

8 MO. ^^ Jff^ ^^ft ftf^ 1T^ ^^ 

Karke hhinjai Kankri, Singh garjaijay, 

Kah Bhaddar sunu Bhaddari, kutta hhdt na khdy. 

" If in Cancer (Sdwan, July- August) the gravel is wet, 
and Leo (Bhddon, August- September) passes by with 
thunder," saith Bhaddar, " hear, Bhaddari, rice will 
be so plentiful that even dogs will refuse it." 

460. The meaning of west wind in Sdwan, and east 
in Bhddon. 

8^0 ^^5f TT^^T *n^^ JT^T '^ftri ^ t?ni 

Sdon pachhwa, Bhddab purwa, Asin bahe Isdn, 
Kdtik, Kanta, sikio na dole katai Ice rakhbah dhdn. 

If the west wind blows in Sdwan, the east in Bhddon, 
and the north-east in Asin, and if there is so little wind 
in Kdtik that even the reeds do not shake, where, my 
dear, will you have room to keep your rice ? (i.e. You 
will have a bumper crop.) 


461. The effect of east wind in Sdwan. 

8§«» ^n^T m^ ^t ^^t^T t%i ^T^ ^if ^^ 

Sdon mas bahe purwaiya, henchah barad klnah gaiya. 
If the east wind blows in Sdwan, sell your bullocks and 
buy cows (it will be no use trying to plough). 

462. The effect of west wind in Sdwan. 

^%\ ^■miii xj^^ ^sr f ^ 'qrfl- if^f ^ uTift ^qt ^tt 

Sdonak pachhica din dui chari, ehulhi ke pdchhi upjai sdri. 
If the west wind blow in Sdwan for only two or three 
days, rice will grow even behind your hearth. 

463. The effect of west and east wind in Sdwan and 

8^^ ^wi xjt'^rr ^ *iT *rr^^ ^TTT ti<sT^ ^1 

Sdon pachea malii bhare, bhddon purwa patthal save. 
If the west wind blow in Sdwan, the land will be flooded ; 
and if the east wind blow in Bhddon, (it will rain so that) 
the very stones will melt, 

464. Heaviest rain in Asres and Maggha. 

8^8 % 'n lit: ^'FTwr Tiwr ^t h^ ^^tt^ ^n^ 

Je na bhare Asresa Maggha, pher bhare Asresa Maggha. 
That which is not filled up with water in Asres and 
Maggha has no chance of being filled up till they come 
again next year. 

465 to 474. To Bhddon (August-September) the following 
apply :— 

465. Loss to cultivator if he does not finish transplant- 
ing rice before Purwa. 

8^q n\^ t(^ VK t^^ri ^yi ^'ift ^TVIT VilTf 
Purwa rope pur kisdn, ddha khakhri ddha dhdn. 


If a cultivator does not finish transplanting before 
Purwa {i.e. Purba Phaguni), half his crop will be paddy 
and half chaff. 

466. The effect of east wind in Purwa. 

Jauii Purwa purwaiya awe, sukhle nadiya ndo chaldwe. 

If the east wind blows in the asterism of Purwa {i.e. 
Purba Phaguni), there will be so much rain that ships will 
float in the dried-up beds of rivers. 

Closely connected with this is the following : — 

467. The effect of west wind in Purwa. 

8§^ JT^T tj-?: off ^W^ ^t t^lftf TT^ ^Trl ^ 

Purwa par jaun pachhwa bahai, bihami rdhr bat karai, 

Eh donon he ihai bichdr u barsai i karai hhatdr. 

If the west wind blows during Purwa, and if a widow 

chats and smiles, from these facts you may judge that in 

the first case it will rain, and in the second case she is 

going to marry a second time. 

468. The meaning of clouds flitting like the wings of a 

TlUr pakh megha ure, bidhwa musukde. 
Kahe Dak sunu Ddkini, u barse Ijde. 
" When the clouds fly like the wings of the partridge 
and when a widow smiles," saith Pdk, "hear, Bdkni, 
the one is going to rain and the other to marry." (Com- 
pare Proverb 379.) 


469. The meaning of a cloudy sky on Friday and 

tl^R ^% *l^l t^'T ^Ti llf 5IT^ 

Suk hare hadri sanlchar rahe chhay, 
Aisan hole Bhaddari bin barse nahinjay. 

" A cloudy sky on Friday and Saturday," says Bhaddari, 
" is a sure precursor of rain." 

470. The effect of east wind in Sdon and west wind in 

Saon ke purwa, Bliadon 'pachhima jor, 
Bardlia henchah Sdmi, chalah des ha or. 

My husband let us sell our bullocks and leave the 
country if there is east wind in Saon, and a strong west 
one in Bhddon. 

471. When to cease planting paddy. 

Ku&i amdwas chauthi chdn, ah ki rophah dhdn kisdn. 

After the Kusi Amdwas (the festival of the 15th Bhddon, 
on which Brahmans dig kus grass), and the Chauk Chanda 
(the moon of the 19th of Bhddon), cultivator ! You need 
not plant out paddy. 

472. Not to transplant in Utra Phaguni. 

8^R ^TITT W WN TliT¥ ^^ Tfti VT1 ftT!: %^f ^ 

Utra men jani ropahu bhaiya, tin dhdn hoe terah paiya. 



Do not transplant in Utra Phaguni (about the latter 
half of September) ; for you will only get three grains to 
thirteen empty husks. 

473. The meaning of a crow speaking by night and a 
jackal by day. 

8 o^ rjn^ ^rnn ^^n fInnT ^ ijfr ^t^t ^ •^^•r[TK. 

Ratak kdga dlnak siyar, kijhari hadar ki uptar. 

If the crow speak by night and the jackal by day, there 
will be either a rain-storm or an inundation. 

474. The meaning of wind blowing from four quarters. 

{{^{{ ^^W -^t^a Wl ^fTTO fl^ iV^T ^"^^"IT ^ w^ 

Alia baua bahe hatds, fab hola harkha ke as. 

When the wind blows from all four quarters, there is 
hope of rain. 

475-479. To Asin (September-October) the following 
apply :— 

475. HatJiiya rain produces three things and destroys 
three things. 

Hathiya barse tin hot-ba, sakkar, sali, mas, 
Hathiya barse tlnjat-iva, til, kodo, kapas. 

Rain in Hathiya produces three things, sugar-cane, rice, 
and pulse ; and destroys three things, sesamum, kodo, and 
cotton. With this may be compared the following. 


476. Rainless Aradra destroys three crops only, but a 
rainless Hathiya destroys everything. 

ff^nn 5}^ ¥*r 51^ ^f^^ inf^^ ^t€ 

A.dra gel tlnon gel, san, sathi, kapds, 
Hathiya gel sabh gel, dgil, pdchhil ehas. 
"Want of rain in Aradra destroys three crops, hemp, 
sixty-day rice, and cotton. But by want of rain in 
Hathiya everything is ruined, both what has been sown 
and what will be sown. 

477. The effect of rain in Hathiya and clouds only in 

8^^ ifanrr wfri turner "WfTTxr 

Hathiya harise, chitra menrrdy, 
Ghar baise dhanha ririydy (or agrdy). 

If Hathiya rains and (the clouds of) Chitra hover about, 
the paddy cultivator sits at home and utters cries of joy. 

478. The effect of rain in Chitra. 

8^^ t^rlTT WT% TTTt ^ '^'i ii-n|[ 5i^ % ^ 

Chitra barse mati mdre age bhai gerui he kdre. 
Rain in Chitra (in October) destroys the fertility of the 
soil and is likely to produce blight. 

479. "What to sow in Chitra. 

8^q '^rrW f^?TTT TTt ?TTI: ^Xl^ f%HTT 51^ ^Tlt 

Adha chitra rdi murdi, ddha chitra jao kerdi. 

In one half of Chitra sow mustard and radishes, and in 
the other half barley and peas. 


480-481. To Katik (October-November) the following 
apply :— 

480. The effect of a shower in Swati. 

{jco n^ trr^'Y ^ ^?;% ^T<fV ^f»iT Trfi^ ^t'n tttji^ 

Eko pani jo harse sicdti kurmin pahire sona pati. 

If a single shower come in Swdii, it enriches people so 
much that even Kurmi women get golden earrings to wear. 

481. Instructions about harvesting rice. 

^^<\ ^^ f^f^ TT ft^ ^T1 f%1T g^ 'rff ^ ^T 
^'s^ ^'ITTfft t^ ^Tl'T fT^t WT? ^T: ^TTf 

Bed bidit na hokhe an, bina Tula nahin phute dhdn, 
Sukh sukhrdti deb uthdn, takrai barhai karah nemdn, 
Takrai barhai khet kharihdn, takrai barhai kothie dhdn. 

What has been written in the Vedas cannot happen 
otherwise, and paddy cannot ripen before the balance 
{i.e. Libra, Kdtik, October-November). From the festival 
of the Sukhrdti {i.e. the Biwdli) to the Deb Uthdn (11th of 
the light half of Kdtik) there will be happiness. On the 
12th' day after that, hold the festival of eating the new 
grain ; on the 12th after that, heap up the corn on the 
field and threshing-floor ; and on the 12th after that, put 
the grain in the store-house. 

482-486. The following are the signs of the stoppage of 
the rains : — 

482. Clear nights indicate breaking of the rains. 

Chhap ke ugai to kya bhaye nirmal raini karant, 
Kiyjal dekhihah sagra, kdmin kup bharant. 


It matters little if the sun rises obscured by clouds, 
because when the nights are clear (the rain will stop). 
You will only find water in the sea, and women will 
have to go to the wells for water. 

483. A cloudless night and a cloudy day show that the 
rains are at an end. 

8^? Tiff f^l^T ■fl[l'W ^^T 

Rat nibaddar (or ratuh chakmuk) din ken cJihdya, 
Kahen Ghaghje harkha gaya. 
If you see a cloudless night and a cloudy day, be sure, 
says Ghdgh, that the rains are at an end. 

484. The barking of the fox and the flowering of the 
kas grass are signs of the end of the rains. 

8=8 ^^ f^ft ^% ^"re ^^ 'nff T^^ % ^re 

BoK lukhri, phule kas, ah ndhln barkha ke as. 

The barking of the fox and the flowering of the kas 
grass are signs of the end of the rains. 

485. Appearance of the star Canopus indicates the end 
of the rains. 

8=M ^5} -^Tm ^1 T|% sfiw '^i^ iTff T^:^ i ^T^ 

Uge agast ban phule kas, ab nahln barkha ke as. 

The appearance of the star Canopus and the flowering of 
the kas grass in the forests are signs of the end of the rains. 

486. The meaning of the flowering of the kas and kus 

Kasi kusi chauth ke chan, ab ka ropba dhan kisan. 


If the has grass and the his grass flower on the 4th of 
the light half of Bhadon, why do you plant out, culti- 
vator (for the rains are stopped) ? 

487-491. The following refer to the dry seasons : — 

487. Respective efiects of rain in Aghan, Pus, Mdgh, 
and Phagun. 

Aghan dohar, Pus dyaurha, Mdgh sawai, 
Phagun harse gharhun kejai. 

If it rains in Aghan (November- Decemher), you will 
get double an average crop ; if in Pus (December- 
January), one and a half ; if in Mdgh (January-February), 
one and a quarter ; but if in Phagun (February-March), 
then even (the seedlings which you brought from) your 
house will be lost. 

488. The effect of rain in Aghan. 

Aghan menje harse megh dhan raja dhan des. 
Happy are the king and people when it rains in 

489. The efiect of rain in Pus. 

j}cQ T?T^ T^% "m^i ^ mm %M mm v^ 

Pdni harse ddha Pus, ddha gehun ddha hhus. 

Rain in the middle of the month of Pus, i.e. early in 
January, will give you half wheat and half chaff. 


490. Signs of drought. 

wr^ qfil I?? ft^ ^jFt ^^t ^ ^j^ >TtTT ^t^'V 

Mdgh ke garmi, Jeth he jar, pahila pani hhar gail tar, 
Ghagh kahe ham hohaun jogi, kudn ka pani dhoihen dhobi. 

Heat in Magh (January-February), cold in Jeth (May- 
June), and the tanks filled with the first fall of rain (are 
signs of a drought). I'll become a beggar, says Ohagh, 
and the washerman will wash with well water. 

491. The meaning of west wind respectively in Chait 
(March- April) and Bhadon (August-September). 

Chait ke pachheya, Bhadon kejalla, 
Bhadon ke pachheya, Magh ke pdlla. 

The west wind in Chait (March-April) means rain in 
Bhadon (August-September), and the west wind in Bhadon 
means frost in Magh (January- February). 


Proverbs Relating to Cattle and Animals in General. 

492. A calf takes after its mother, and a foal after its 

Man gun hachh pita gun ghor, 
Nahln kiichh to thoro thor. 
A calf takes after its mother, and a foal after its sire : 
if not in all points, stiU in a few {i.e. to some extent). 

493. Can an ass be lean in the month of Sdwan ? 

8^^ i^fT ^^ ^■R^ »n% 

Gadha duhar Sdwan mans. 
Is it possible for the ass to be thin in the month of 
Sdwan ? i.e. when there is abundance of grazing to be had. 
Said when any one complains or pretends to be in want in 
the midst of plenty. 

A weary Bullock. 

494. To a weary bullock its girth even is heavy. 

Thakal harad ke petdr hhdri. 

To a weary bullock even his girths are heavy. 

ViZT^ '^ Petdr" is the girth of a pack-bullock. It is 
usually made of ^^'^ newdr, with a piece of bamboo 
catch tied to one end of it, and is passed round the bullock. 


495. To a weary bullock his empty panniers are even 

Thdke bail gon bhai bhari, 
Tab ab ka lade baipari. 

To the weary bullock even his empty pack is heavy (to 
carry) : then, why are you going to load more on him, 
Pedlar ? 

" Gon " also " gond," and " gund," are grain bags for 
pack bullocks. 

ojqrO" " Bcdpdri" is a petty trader who deals in grain, 
and conveys it from market to market on pack bullocks, 
buying and selling. 

E.E. Last straw breaks the camel's back. 

496. A separate house for a blind cow. 

Kdnlh gaiya ke alge bathdn. 

A blind cow requires a separate cattle-yard. 

■^g)l«t " BatMn " is a cattle-yard or inclosure where 
the cattle rest. 

i.e. One with a peculiarity, idiosyncracy or crotchet, one 
who wants everything his own way, i.e. is not satisfied 
with what answers for everybody else. 

497. Driving away a grazing cow a sin. 

a^^ ^^iT ^*ft ^^^ TR "^1^ itit %if % ^rrn 

Kekar klieti kekar gdi, papi hoejehdh kejde. 
It is neither your field nor your cow ; you only make 
yourself a sinner if you drive it away. 

A safe but selfish dictum to prevent any harm coming 



from interfering in what does not actually concern you. 
" It does not concern you if another's field is being grazed 
by somebody else's cow ; if you drive it away, you only 
incur the sin of keeping a cow hungry." This idea 
underlies and explains the apathetic attitude and total 
want of public spirit in the mass of the people towards 
any reform or public measure, because " it is safer not to 
interfere in what does not concern them." Mill ascribes 
this feeling in a people to the previous bad Government 
under which they have suffered, and which has taught 
them to regard the law as made for other ends than their 
good, and its administrators as worse enemies than those 
who openly violate it. He goes on to say, that while 
this feeling exists, " a people so disposed cannot be 
governed with as little power exercised over them as 
a people whose sympathies are on the side of the law, 
and who are willing to give active assistance in its 

The death of a cow, no matter how it occurs, is held a 
sin, and has to be expiated by feeding Brahmans and other 
acts of piety. If a cow dies with a halter round its neck, 
the person who tied the cow last has to expiate its death. 
For this reason a cow about to die is unloosed from its 
halter. If a man kills a cow by accident, he has to 
undergo severe penalties in the way of feasting Brah- 
mans and doing other expiatory acts. The man (or 
woman) through whose fault the cow dies, if poor, goes 
a-begging with a piece of the cow's tether-rope ; and 
with the alms he thus obtains he feeds Brahmans. Until 
this is done the sin is not expiated, and the person 
remains an outcaste. During this interval the sinning 
person is not supposed to speak. A good Hindu wiU 


never sell his bullock or cow to a butcher ; but this rule 
is hardly adhered to now-a-days. 

498. God takes care of a blind cow. 

Andhri gai dharam rahhicar. 
Grod provides for a helpless (blind) cow. 
A blind cow is supposed to be treated kindly from 
religious feelings, i.e. God takes care of the helpless. 
E.E. " The wind is tempered to the shorn lamb." 

499. In the prancing of the pack bullock his master is 

Bail na kUde kude gon, I tamdsJia dekhe kaun. 
(or bail na kude k&de tangi.) 

A bullock does not leap, but his load does : who ever 
saw such a sight? (Grierson). 

^ft'T Gon, Grain bags and panniers for loaded cattle, 
here by metonymy for the possessor of the gon. 

It is not really the bullock that leaps, but his master or 
supporter {gon), i.e. his master causes him to jump and 
prance. Said when one is a mere puppet in the hands of 
another, at whose instance he is acting — when one is 
outwardly the actor or doer, but is really put up by 
another who pulls the wire. 

500. The calf leaps presuming on the strength of the 
tethering peg. 

Khunta ka bale bachhico kudela. 
The young bull jumps according to the strength of the 



post or peg to which it is tied. That is to say, relying 
on the strength of its supporter. One is strong or weak (or 
exerts his strength) in accordance with the support he gets. 
Said when one presumes on another's support or pro- 

501. Rules for selecting cattle. 

^ ^f^f "^T vH z^ 'q-rft ^f ^T^ 
^^ ^f%f tfr^T 'ft^ ^z tz % ^^ »ft^ 

%W[ W\-3iT: ^^ iZWTK. %ft ifrf ^T»T tfTfTT 

Sail hesahe chalalah kant, hail hesahiha du clu dant, 
Kdchh liosauti sdivar ban, i chhdri kiniha mati an, 
Jabai dekhiha riipa dhaur, taka chari diha upraur, 
Oh par jab dekhiha maina, ehi par se diha baina. 
Jab dekhiha bairii/a gol, nth baith ke kariha mol, 
Jab dekhiha kariyaiva kant, kail gola dekhah janu dant, 
Sarag patali bhaundn ter, apan khde paro&iye her, 
Kaila kdbar gol tikar, iho harihen dam tohar. 

(1). My dear, you have started to buy a bullock: be 
sure and buy one with only two teeth. Do not buy any 
which is not some shade of grey ; but if you see a pure 
white one, you may advance your price four rupees. If 
you see one with loose horns, give handsel without crossing 
the road (to look at it more carefully, i.e. it is sure to be a 
good one). If you see one with a red head and a light 
red body, don't buy till you have had a good look at it. 


But, my dear, if you see a black or a yellow grey or a red 
one, don't take the trouble to look at its teeth. 

(2). The following is a warning against two kinds of 
bullocks : — A bullock with horns pointing up and down, 
or one with crooked eyebrows, injures its master and the 
neighbours as well. — (Grierson). 

(3). A yellow grey, or a speckled, or a red one, or one 
with a spot on its forehead, will make you lose the price 
you pay for them. 

502. The bullock toils, but the bay horse is pampered. 

^0^ -^ ^ ?TT t^ t^^ wr^ ^<T 

Pis kut mare haila haithal khay surang. 

The ox wastes himself in labour, while the bay horse 
gets his grain in ease. 

tJ^ W3 Pis kut is to grind and pound, i.e. to labour. 
Said when any one labours, while another reaps the benefit 
without exerting himself at all. 

Wty{ Surang is a light bay horse. The valuable horse 
is seldom used. He is kept more for show in the stables 
of the rich. 

503. The camel is blamed in the whole army. 

Sagare phaud men unt badnam. 
In the whole army the camel is most blamed, because it 
has such a long neck and exposes the position of the army. 

504. You can endure kicks from a milch cow. 

^rnr wm '^f^T W^w^f l^rrft ^i 

Jdhi ten kichhu pate, sahie karui bain, 
Ldt khdt chuchukdr ten sahat dudhdri dhen. 


From whomsoever you expect to receive benefits, you 
must bear abusive words ; even while being kicked by a 
milch cow, a man will endure its action and pat it 

505. You can endure kicks from a milch cow. 

MOM ^VTft IT^ ^ ^ ^Tat H^T 

Dudhari gae he du lata bhala. 

Even two kicks from a good milker are to be valued 

A man can bear up without grumbling harsh treatment 
from whom he expects some benefit, just as one does not 
mind a kick or two from a good milch cow. 

506. Points of a milch cow. 

MO^ -^^ 3IT^ ^Tfl^ f^re^V ^^^ STT^ 

^^f ftf^ ^TTt^ ^ft f[^ ^1 ^: ^T 
TTff% ^ ^mx % ^1| ^R^ 'n^ 

Achchhi gay hesdhiye jiski kajjal ban, 
Solah singh, hattls khuri, nao than, terah kdn, 
Angan barse ghar bhare bachha ghds na khdy, 
Pahile dahijamdi ke plchhe klne gay. 
While you are buying a cow, buy a good one with clear 
eyes, and horns 16 fingers (inches) long, hoofs 32, udder 
9, and ears 13, and you will then have milk pouring in 
your yard and your house full : the calf will also have so 
much of it that it will not graze. But remember first to 
try the milk for tyre before you buy the cow. 



Introductory Notes. 

It would be a hopeless task to attempt to give a 
full account of tlie popular superstitions and errors that 
encompass the natives of Bihar. Their lives are made 
up of them. From their birth to their death they afford 
the guiding clue, and furnish the food on which their 
hopes and fears are fed. When a child is born, it has 
to be carefully guarded from the evil spirits that usually 
hover about the house of its birth. If it gets over the 
early ailments to which all infants are subject, the cure is 
ascribed to the charms of some respected old woman of the 
■village who possesses the secret. If it dies, some malig- 
nant demon, who has not been propitiated, has carried 
it away ; or some supposed village witch, who has long 
borne a grudge against the family, has gratified her greed 
for infant life by causing its death. ^ 

1 In cases of difficult labour a gun is fired near the lying-in room, ostensibly 
to scare away the hobgoblins and evil spirits who delay the birth; but 
probably with a more practical view to help the birth. As often happens a 
supposed popular error may really rest on sound practical grounds, which 
experience has shown to be necessary and is followed empirically. Sir A. 
Lyall, commenting on this practical feature of superstitious observances, 
remarks, " Many practices, ascertained empirically to be fit and expedient, 
have become in course of time so overgrown and concealed by the religious 



If any one is unsuccessful in an undertaking, lie has 
failed to propitiate his presiding deity ; if successful, his 
deity has favoured him. At birth, death, marriage, and 
every important event of life, the gods are consulted ; and 
if their warnings and wishes (now very often interpreted 
according to the circumstance of the consulter) are not 
implicitly followed, it is rather from his inability to carry 
them out in their integrity than from a want of faith in 
their efficacy. 

In Bihar, side by side with signs of civilization, will be 
found ideas and beliefs which have long ago been eradi- 
cated from other more advanced provinces. Lingering 
and interweaving themselves with the daily thoughts and 
doings of the people are superstitions such as are to be 
looked for in vain elsewhere. The civilization as yet is 
only a thin veneer which has hardly permeated the 
upper crust. The beliefs and mainsprings of action yet 
remain the same in the mass of people as they were 
centuries ago. A thin coating of western varnish gives 
a specious appearance to the culture which is only skin 
deep, customs and observances aboriginal and Aryan 
commingle in one confused jumble, and Muharamadan 
ceremonies and Hindu rituals are mutually interchanged 
among the lower order of both classes with a most 
accommodating and tolerant spirit. There are as many 
Hindus who zealously keep up the Mitharram tamdsha 
in Bihar, as Muhammadans who annually celebrate the 
Chhat and Holi. A Hindu woman as piously places her 

observances in "which they were originally wrapped up, that it is now very 
difficult to extract the original kernel of utility, and one only hits upon it by 
accident, when in trying to abolish what looks like a ridiculous and useless 
superstition, the real object and reason are disinterred, and sometimes proves 
worth knowing. 


votive offering on the grave of the Muhammadan Saint, 
when her child recovers from illness, as a Musalman 
woman propitiates the Hindu demon with a black goat 
when he has devoured her husband's second love, who 
had weaned his affection from her. The same rites and 
ceremonies and observances connected with the daily 
life of the Bihar peasant are practised in the villages 
now as they were probably centuries ago, the only differ- 
ence being that they are adapted to suit the altered 
circumstances. These would sadly be misplaced in the 
heart of a great city amid the din and bustle of fashion- 
able civilization, but are not out of keeping with the 
simple peasantry and the retired scenery of Bihar villages. 
Of such a vast subject, with so many ramifications, all 
that can be endeavoured is to give a few instances of the 
popular superstitions and errors that form the warp and 
the woof of the Bihar peasant life, principally those 
which bear on some of the proverbs and illustrate them. 
The same remarks apply to the other subjects which form 
the Appendix. The notes under each are far from being 
complete. They give a few only of the prevailing customs, 
more as illustrations, than as an exhaustive treatment of 
the subject. 

1. Names of certain individuals and animals not to be taken. 

■ There is a popular and widely prevailing idea that the 
names of certain opprobrious individuals and animals 
ought not to be uttered in the morning from a super- 
stitious feeling that the utterer is sure to meet with some 
misfortune during the day ; e.g. (a) The name of any 
well-known miser is never pronounced in the morning, 
from an idea that he who takes his name will not get 



his meals till late in the day, or some misfortune will 
befall him.i 

This feeling is sometimes carried to such an extent that 
some places which are named after a known miser are not 
pronounced in the morning. For example, a well-known 
village in Champaran known as Munshi ka bazar (on the 
Sugau-li Gobindganj road) is never named in the morn- 
ing, because the man after whom it is named — one Munshi 
Lai — was a notorious miser ; similarly a village in the 
Betiya Subdivision, called Bhaluah, is not pronounced, 
because its name is akin to that of a bear, (b.) The 
following animals are not readily named in the morning : 
Owl, monkey, ass, snake, bear, etc., from an idea that some 
misfortune is sure to befall the person who names them. 
(c.) Similarly it is considered unfortunate to meet any of 
these animals in the morning when one is starting on 
a journey. To see the face of any of a low caste the 
first thing in the morning is also considered inauspicious. 
A Dhobi, a Do?n, and a Chanidr are especially avoided 
early in the morning. 

2. Jatra or journey. The superstitions connected with a 
journey. Hoiv augured to be aiis2ncious or not. 

No journey is ever undertaken, in fact nothing of 
importance is begun, without first consulting the Brah- 
man as to the best hour for commencing it. The 
propitious hour having been ascertained, the man who 
is going on a journey starts at that hour. If, on account 
of some pressing business or some other cause, he cannot 
conveniently pursue his journey at that exact hour (as 

' The name of Mir Gadhaia, in Patna, is an example of this. 



it often happens), still, in order to comply with the 
requirements of the omen, he makes a show start at 
the exact auspicious time, and halts a few steps from his 
house. For this purpose Rajas and well-to-do personages 
have what are called yd^ra houses, where (after having left 
at the exact auspicious hour) they halt and finish their 
urgent business before finally proceeding on their journey. 
People who cannot afibrd to have ajatra house send out 
some of their wearing apparel with money or grain tied to 
it in advance, and this is kept in a friend's house on the 
road till they come up. The grain or money (as the case 
may be) is afterwards distributed amongst beggars. When 
starting on a journey, the following are considered good 
omens to see : — 

(«) Any one carrying a full chattie of water. 

{b) A pot of tyre or curd. 

(c) Fish. 

(d) A dhobi carrying a bundle of clean washed clothes, etc. 
The following are considered unlucky omens : — 

(«) Meeting a Teli, or oilman, is considered especially 
unlucky. (The traveller invariably returns home, post- 
poning his journey.) 

(b) Meeting a jackal crossing from the right side of the 
road to the left. 

(c) If any one should call out to the traveller or put 
any question to him when he is about to begin his journey 
it is considered unlucky; also if any one should sneeze 
or cough at such a time. 

3. Marriages of Tanks and Wells. 

"When a tank or well is dug and completed, it is 
emblematically married to a tree or wooden image. 



which is planted in the middle in the case of tanks, 
and alongside in the case of wells. A summary marriage 
(called jalotsarg) is gone through, after which the tank 
or well is declared to be open for use. This superstitious 
ceremony is probably gone through with the idea that 
unless these sources of water are married, the yield 
will be less plentiful. Mango groves on being planted 
are also married to a bar tree (Indian Ficus), which 
is planted in the north-east corner (called Imn Kon) 
of the tope. A thread is passed round the whole 
grove, or sometimes only round the first planted tree 
and the " husband " bar tree, and a summary marriage 
ceremony is gone through : after which the mango grove 
is declared to be married. Mr. Grierson, in his " Bihar 
Peasant Life," notes that an emblematical marriage of 
a grove to a well is also gone through, without which 
preliminary observance it is unlawful to partake of 
the fruit. 

4. Divination, and charms, incantations and amulets to cure 
maladies and keep off or exorcise evil spirits, etc. 

There are various means adopted for foretelling events 
and of finding out whether an undertaking will succeed or 
fail. The principal way of course is to consult Brahmans, 
who are supposed, from a knowledge of astrology and 
other sources, to possess the power of foretelling events. 
But other summary ways are resorted to by the common 
people to ascertain in a rude and ready manner if what 
they are about to undertake will prove successful or not ; 
e.g. a handful of corn is taken and the grains are divided 
into pairs : if they come out even, the undertaking will 
succeed ; if odd, it will fail. A sneeze from any one 


present is considered especially an evil omen when 
anything is about to be begun, while the "tic-ticking" 
of the lizard under the same circumstances is considered 
a favourable omen, because it is supposed to say " right " 
{thlk). To find out whether an undertaking will succeed, 
the women commonly wrap the ends of two pieces of stick 
with cotton : the sticks are then laid down on a plastered 
floor, and after a time the wraps are examined. If the 
cotton, has unwound itself in both, the action will meet 
with complete success ; if only in one, a partial success. 
One way to insure success in an undertaking is to lift 
that foot first which corresponds to the nostril through 
which one is breathing harder at the time. 

There are numberless charms and spells for curing 
ailments. From a simple headache to the severest malady, 
from an ant bite to a snake bite, all are supposed to be 
curable by means of mantra or enchantment and incanta- 
tions. The marvellous efficacy of spells and charms is 
ingrained in the native mind ; and though he may resort 
to medicine, he does it more as an auxiliary remedy 
than in implicit reliance on its healing powers. If a 
villager is bit by a mad dog or jackal, he betakes 
himself to the Ojha, or wizard, for the purpose of 
" extracting " the poison {jharab, literally " to cleanse " 
or "dust "). The wizard repeats some mystic words over 
a bowl of water held under the wound, and this water 
the patient has to drink. After awhile he vomits the 
water, and along with it the hair of the mad animal that 
has bit him : this is supposed to efiect the cure. They 
believe implicitly in these enchantments and charms. 

Amulets are commonly given when any one suffers from 
a chronic malady or is liable to certain diseases, and also 



as phylacteries to preserve the wearer from danger or 
disease. Of all the grotesque superstitions about the 
curing of diseases not the least ludicrous is the belief 
in the healing powers possessed by one born with " feet 
presentation." A kick from him, or even a touch with 
his toe, is supposed to effect a ready cure in certain 
diseases, such as sudden rheumatic pains, etc. And, 
strange to say, the repeated disappointments which they 
must have met with have not proved sufficient to dis- 
abuse the rustic mind of this love of veneration for 
natural events which happen to be out of the ordinary. 
They still cling to a belief in their mysterious healing 

5. Superstitious ceremonies and observances connected with 
birth and death. 

On the birth of a child the following ceremonies and 
observances are gone through : — All ingress to outsiders 
is forbidden into the lying-in room. Should any of 
the inmates have occasion to go out, on returning she has 
to dust her clothes, and warm her feet and hands over a 
constant fire that is kept up in the doorway. A torn shoe 
or the neck of a broken earthen chatty is also hung pro- 
minently over the doorway. A scorpion, if found, is also 
burnt in the fire in the doorway, in the belief that a 
scorpion sting will have no effect on the child in after-life. 
A weapon of any kind, such as a sword, a knife, a scythe, 
or a piece of iron even, is put near the head of the infant 
to guard it from evil demons. A child born in the month 
of Bhado (August-September) is especially liable to be 
attacked by the demon called Jamhua (which is really 
" lockjaw ") and is guarded against (or if it has already 


seized the child it is expelled) by firing off a gun close to 
the child. In lockjaw the sudden start given to the child 
often produces a beneficial effect. 

On death the following are observed : — The corpse is 
usually washed in an open spot, and then a bier is made of 
new bamboos (cut from any one's clump near at hand, an 
act which is not objected to by the owner), on which the 
corpse is placed and carried by four men on their shoulders 
to a place outside the village ; and when all the people who 
are to accompany the funeral have assembled, they go to 
the bank of a river. A man is usually shrouded in white, 
a woman whose husband is living is usually shrouded in 
coloured clothes. A woman who dies before her husband 
is considered to be very fortunate. On reaching the bank 
of the river, a funeral pile is erected, the corpse is placed 
on it, and, after the chief mourner has anointed its mouth, 
fire is applied to it by him. He walks round the pile 
three times and sometimes five times, touches its lips each 
time with fire, and then sets fire to the pile. The fire is 
usually bought from a Bom (the lowest caste in Bihar), 
who often sticks out for a fabulous price at this emergency. 
When the body is nearly burnt, every one present throws 
five sticks into the fire ; any unburnt portion of the corpse 
left is thrown into the river, and the spot where the body 
was cremated is washed and plastered with cowdung, and 
the chief mourner plants a tuki tree near it. After the 
corpse has been taken out of the house the latter is washed 
and plastered over, and the following are placed in the 
doorway or gate of the house : a stone, cowdung, iron, fire, 
and water for the people to touch on their return from the 
cremation. On the tenth day after the corpse has been 
cremated, aU the male relatives of the deceased shave their 



heads, and ttose who are sons of the deceased their 
moustaches also. On this occasion the Kautdha Brahman 
who performs such obsequies is fed and receives as his fee 
the wearing apparel of the deceased. After this the 
Brahmans are fed on the thirteenth day after the death 
among Brahmans, on the fourteenth day among Yaisyas, 
and on the sixteenth day among Sudras. On this day the 
widow of the deceased is clothed in her widow's garment 
and henceforth she has to undergo all the penances of her 
sad lot. 

6. Planting trees. 
It is considered an act of virtue to plant groves. Certain 
trees, especially the venerated Ptpal, the Bar, the Panltar, 
the Bel, are the favourite dwelling-places of the deities, 
and the gods are supposed " to delight to sit among its 
leaves and listen to the music of their rustling," and to 
them votive offerings of flags, etc., are made. They are 
hung from the tree itself, or attached to a bamboo which 
is erected close to it. It is considered unlucky to plant a 
plum tree near the entrance door, for its thorny branches 
are apt to catch the turban every time the dweller comes 
out of his house and thus cover his head, which is con- 
sidered very unlucky. 

7. Manner of detecting thieves. 

A common practice is to weigh out rice with the 
Muhammadan rupee, known as (char ydri rupiya) the four 
friends of Muhammad, and to give each one of the persons 
suspected the weight of a rupee to swallow. It is said the 
thief finds it difficult to masticate and cannot swallow the 
dry rice through fear. There is much practical shrewdness 
and knowledge of the people in this device, as the thief 


naturally finds it difficult to bring up a quantity of saliva 
(through fear) to enable him to swallow the rice, and thus 
betrays himself. Another test, practised by Mahammadans 
chiefly, is to write down the names of all who are suspected 
on slips of paper and throw them one by one, rolled up (as 
in a lottery), into a small chatty. While this is being 
done two men hold the chatty (by its neck or brim) on 
their finger ends, and particular suras or passages are read 
from the Kuran. On the slip containing the thief's name 
being thrown into the chatty, it turns round immediately, 
which discloses the thief. There are other tests of boiled 
ghi and oil ; but these are never resorted to now. 

8. Charms, spells, and incantations gone through 

(a.) To bring on rain, 
(b.) To stop rain. 
[a.) The following are gone through to cause rain 
to fall : 

A number of village boys, with faces blackened and 
in white dhotis, leap on all-fours in the open air, in 
imitation of frogs, calling out all the time, " Kdla kaloti 
ujjar dhoti. Pani de, paiii de," i.e. " We have made our- 
selves black as soot with white dhotis. Pray give us rain, 
pray give us rain!" This is sometimes varied by a few 
of the boys turning "frogs," and some others playing 
with sticks on drums made of old sieves. Thus they 
go before the doors of the villagers. On their approach, 
the women throw a ghaila of water, in which the frogs 
wallow, " croaking " all the time : 
Alia miyah pani da, 
Khapra men (or doki men) dii ddna da. 

"God give us rain, so that we may have two grains 



(i.e. even a little food) in our earthen platter." Alms are 
given by each house, and from the collection thus 'made 
a feast is held. Brahmans are also feasted by the well- 
to-do, if rain holds off for long. 

(b.) The following are gone through to cause rain 
to stop : 

If the rain continues too long, (1) weights (used in 
weighing) are dropped into a well; (2) a chirdg (or oil 
lamp) is lit and put on a musal (pestle for pounding 
paddy), which is erected in the compound in the open 
air ; (3) some figures are drawn with chalk on walls by 
the women and are worshipped ; (4) in Shahabad a piece 
of stick is dressed up as a doll, with a small bundle of 
grain in one hand and a lighted torch in the other. 
This effigy is then put up on a pole in the yard. It is 
called " Musafar," or " Wayfarer," " Traveller," and is 
intended to invoke the pity of the god of rain, who, it 
is supposed, will relent and cause the rain to stop, and 
thus enable the benighted traveller to find his way home 
to his family with what he is carrying for them. The 
young folks in the meantime keep up a vigorous drum- 
ming with sieves and sticks, shouting all the while the 
following : 

Chalni men dnta badar phata. 

(Flour in the sieve, the clouds will disperse now.) (5) 
Also a chirag is lit inside a cleJiri (a wicker basket for 
storing away grain in) and kept lighted tiU the rain stops. 


[TlhB Numhers refer to the Proverb.) 

II ^ a II 

M|JHc(i' aganwan, 394. 
^JJ^f^ agwar, 436. 
^'T?*! agahan, 487. 
^T^'iT achchhat, 315. 
■^TSrt^ arhai, 418. 

gi^T adra, 447, 448, 449, 450, 

451, 453, 476. 
'?rf^T«I adhirat, 458. 
■?I\fr^ adhaur, 157. 
■^fwrT ant, 251. 

^^Ji^T andhra, 340, 364, 397- 
'^^M^ amawas, 471. 
■^nC^Tf arjan, 366. 
■^if^^ariya, 431. 
•^re%^-aslekha, 452. 
'^ffTT ahar, 376. 

II '^n a II 

^rnil afikh, 47, 84, 364, 405. 
■^Igrl achhat, 352. 
^T^lf anjan, 220. 
^I^X: andher, 61, 244, 330. 

^^ adi, 57. 
■^X'^ aiidhi, 101. 
W€ as, 25. 
■411 Hj*) asin, 243, 460. 

II T ' II 
T^T ijar, 67. 
Tt^'fTT it'bar, 265. 
'5r«?'^^ gjqf indar jao, 152. 

II till 
t,^ id, 306. 
t^»l isan, 460. 

II ^ u 11 
^^^"S" uch''ung, 105. 
^fTT^ urharal, 318. 
^rlTT utra, 472. 
^^Tf^ udrachh, 2. 
^^ uddi, 95. 
T3\nT udhar, 280. 
^XJ^'^ up tar, 473. 
^^^T upraur, 501. 
^^n^ I'pasi, 44. 



II ^ u II 
WZ unt, 98, 194, 205, 374, 503. 
^anttT ugat, 439. 

im e II 
UlTTtft eliwati, 423. 

II 'r ai II 
^%TflTfT ainchatanafi, 252. 

II ^ o II 
■^1^ ochhi, 199. 

II ^^ au II 
'^^ ^1"^ aua baua, 474. 

II ^ k II 
^fcfi^ kakari, 132, 411. 
ojiefi'^ kankari, 459. 
eJi^^l^ kachahri, 257. 
«h'3lCl'it kajrauta, 84. 
efiN^cll karua, 237. 
^?1T kadam, 100. 
^^■^n kadua, 21. 
efitfl kant, 400, 501. 
^%^ kaneyan, 326, 327. 
■gfsfffsi^ kanaujiya, 259. 
W^T^ kapar, 20, 33, 195, 385. 
eRUTO kapas, 476. 
eRtlrl kaput, 400. 
oRf^cTT kabita, 41. 
cfi^V^ kablr, 399. 
^^■^■^ kabutar, 2D3. 

^%^^ kabelwe, 113. 

WTK.! kamra, 138. 

^i?lT^ kamal, 399. 

df)\*{ karam, 171. 

e(i'^5^ karai, 443. 

qif<^4|c(( kariyawa, 148, 501. 

^rHc^ kaiia, 149. 

efif^^f karigali, 305. 

^^^ kareje, 149. 

^ir% kagje, 278. 

^3TT kaga, 473. 

W[W '^^i\ kachh kasauti, 

oRTSJ-?: kajar, 127, 203, 338. 
^^ kat, 25. 
^fTTcR katik, 460. 
oRT^ kado, 445, 452. 
cj|J«f kan, 95. 
eJfX^ kabar, 501. 
■<*ll*ir^ kamini, 482. 
•d fi l^at kayath, 261, 279,280, 283. 
^f^T§ karikh, 203. 
t^TfTf^rar kirtaniyafi, 239. 
f^f^efi kirtik, 443, 445. 
feji^JI*! kisai), 453, 465, 471- 
^f'li: (^1^ kinab) kiniha, 

^iZ»f (^Z'ft kutani) kutan,379. 
cfi'JTf kutbaon, 203. 
^tTT kutta, 447. 



^^^kudal, 144. 
^Tqr kuppa, 12. 
^^f^T kubudhi, 63. 
^Tf ITT kumhara, 286. 
g5?%f5I kuuahaini, 319. 
^Tt^TT kurmin, 480. 
gwff kurmi, 285. 
^i^fW"^ kiilwanti, 391. 
•^iW( kuafi, 490. 
cS4< kukur (grrn kutta), 141, 
*^''2l0, 264, 350, 361, 373. 
^1^3 kurkut, 279. 
W^ kiip, 482. 
qR^I' kaila, 501. 
^t?;^ koili, 50. 
^f^^kothie, 48). 
^^ kora, 300, 383. 
^f1^% kotwale, 409. 
oRt^kodo, 54, 81, 142, 315, 475. 
^YTT^ kormathu, 131. 
e^tr^ koreya, 152. 
^tfTX;kohar, 118. 
tftt^ kauri, 14. 
c^c^l kauva, 18. 
^%T kaunsa, 252. 

II ^ kh II 
?f«5C^ kliakhri, 465. 
Ig^pgT khagara, 236. 
?§Xr^T kharcha, 446. 
X^-^^ kharadi, 340. 
^fx;^1»| khiirihaii, 481. 

T§# khalli, 375. 

T^T^ khawas, 412. 

^Wt khassi, 123, 149. 

^73!T khaja, 63. 

^TZ khat, 199. 

^1%T kliaiira, 357. 

^JI^T:! khira, 5, 413. 

Tft^ khis, 22. 

W<^m' khurpa, 202. 

^Z\ khunta, 500. 

?1^ khur, 7. 

^cT khet, 297,309, 411,433, 481. 

%^ kheti, 242, 298, 432, 434, 

%^^»rf khelaunan, 1 16. 
^^TV khesari, 288. 

II T g II 
;ipnC^ gagri, 302. 
^m gaj, 299. 
I^sftr gajaur, 97. 
T^^IT genruar, 180. 
1^^ gariir, 150. 
^rfTf gati, 211. 
T^fT gadha, 183, 249, 271, 

277, 297, 493. 
J|i|| gaiya, 461. 

IfTSr gaiju, 239. 
3f<^4^' garmi, 490. 
Trft;^ gariya, 431. 
ITCt^ garib, 166, 170, 
1%^T galaicha, 86. 



Tfi^Tiqi gawauwafi, 394. 
Vmj^ ganway, 18, 347. 
^jft gaiigo, 104. 

1T%5ft gajeli {^J^^^ gajiib), 

^n^gaji, 331. 
3IT3\ gaiithi, 88. 
^rr^ gari, 400. 
^T^ gae, 130. 
■pTTf ^ girhast, 450. 
aftrl git, 202, 353. 
7(^-^ gidar, 161. 
ll\?;f girah, 215. 
3pl'^;Trr gujrat, 458. 
■JTTi gur, 338, 440. 
31'^^^ gurbathe, 356. 
31^ guru, 13. 
ar^^C^n gurbliaiya, 13. 
3I^T gular, 10. 
^•3' gund, 495. 
ll«tJT^ gendhaii, 66. 
1^^ gerui, 478. 
5f# gehufi, 222, 489. 
'ft'^TT goar, 443. 
^rfT gota, 253. 
aftiT gon, 499. 
iffij^ goefira, 242, 428. 
jfr^ gol, 501. 

II n gh II 
^17^ ghaggha, 442. 

^■<^ gl.aii, 421. 

^^ ghare, 80, 81, 82, 83. 

^nCflT gharaita, 354. 

^T^ ghagh, 255, 483, 490. 

^3 ghat, 199. 

^re ghans, 224, 308. 

^^gliiu, 53, 118,130. 

^I^IZ gliughut, 339. 

^IXTft ghurmi, 285. 

H^ ghuno, 235. 

^^ ghor, 53, 492. 

^f T gl'ora, 135, 137, 172, 300. 

II ^ cli II 

Tj^ I ohaclicha, 419. 
^^ chachi, 99. 
=gZTT chatai, 70. 
'grj^ cliatur, 22. 
^7T^^ chamakal, 87. 
^?T"^T chamra, 31 1. 
^Jl'^chamru, 383. 
■'ifJUX. chamar, 71, 269. 
^1^^ charui, 71. 
'q^*!^ chalani, 93. 
^^■^3 chaur, 160, 222, 444. 
'gj^lT chakar, 39, 40. 
^?^ cband, 416, 486. 
■tH«d^ chandani, 225. 
'qr^^ chabuk, 137. 
-c| \*i cham, 151. 
^■^m?; charpai, 248. 



f^'^zV chiuiiti, 191. 
f^tTTT chitia, 478, 479. 
f^^Z chirkut, 133. 
f^T^ZfV chirkutahi, 386. 
'Tl^ chik, 178. 
^•iTT Chilian, 323, 446. 
S^^ chilli, 111. 
^^?T chilam, 176. 
"'IT^I'ft chulhani, 162. 
^•e 0^ chundari, 87. 
^m chuma, 76. 
^^ chura, 366. 
^^ chuii, 424. 
^^fT chulha, 94, 259. 
Tjgi chuha, 4. 
T^^ chela, 111. 
^tfchait, 243, 491. 
^^^T chokha, 254. 
'^tr chor, 14, 106, 380, 386, 409, 
411, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416. 
^S chaiith, 486. 
xf)l(|'?; chaupar, 92. 
^^ chaube, 402. 

II W chli II 
^fq ^ chhapi ke, 454. 
^•f ymX. chhan chhapar, 94. 
^TT Wff chham clihuiim, 136. 
16^g\ chhuchchhi, 9. 
^IgVff'^ clihuchhundar, 211. 
^^ chhed, 93. 

^■^ chher, 102. 
^■^ chheri, 435. 
iflZ^ chhotki, 394. 
l|t^ chhaunii, 103. 

II ^ j II 

^TrTjagat, 35. 

^1^"^T?T jagdipa, 392. 

5l5Un«T jajman, 118. 

gJCrjalla. 491. 

^l^TO jawas, 451. 

giT^jar, 490. 

grmjat, 199. 

^^PT jiyan, 250. 

ai^juth, 289. 

gft^joe (^Y^ joru), 65. 

W\^ ^IT joga tonan, 359. 

^"t'Ft jogi, 490. 

gft^fT jolaha, 303, 304, 305, 

306, 307, 308, 309. 
^^ffl julahin, 301, 310. 
gfj- jao, 307, 479. 
^TTT jaiigra, 322. 

II ^j<' II 

WITT jhagi-a, 393. 
^T^ jhanvvay, 317. 
f?51^ jhilli, 281. 
flj^aiTjhilanga, 199. 
^Hi; jhumar, 104, 126, 306. 



II 3 t II 

"Z^ft takahi, 79. 

Z^ taka, 37. 

Z^ WK: take ser, 63. 

^fX7 tahra, 343. 

ZTTt tati, 76. 

Zm tap, 347. 

■fZZfi' titahi, 108. 

Zl^ tikar, 501. 

^fT Z^X: tukur tukur, 186. 

Z:ZX tetar, 96. 

StiT tona, 359. 

II 3 th II 

^31 thag, 283. 
■J'37 thatha, 115. 
TT^T thakur, 262. 
3TS tharh, 30. 
TN tl'aoii, 203, 275. 
f3^rf?r^ thikrio, 240. 
■SZ\ thuthi, 126. 
^fjn thenga, 313. 
%^ thes, 26. 
'SW^l thehuna, 205. 
3t^ thor, 313. 

II ^ d II 

^g»^ ^IYT danda dor, 32. 
^^ dak, 447, 449, 468. 
^f^Bll dakini, 468. 

^J-^ darhi, 310. 
TFlV dahi, 29. 
^•^S^ deurhi, 73. 
^■*n<oT dyaurha, 487. 
^^ doi, 175. 
'St'T dom, 233. 
^^ doli, 243. 

II ^ dh II 

^^ dhltbo, 321. 
^g'^ dheiirhar, 96. 
t^W dhebua, 221. 
tl^ dhol, 382. 

U rl t « 
t\^ tangi, 499. 
rRIT VT^ tata panin, 365. 
flflTTT tamasha, 305, 499. 
flT'IT tani, 55. 
rll^ tali, 36. 
rTTTt tari, 288. 
m^ tal, 164. 
f?I^eB tilak, 19. 
^ft tit, 5, 384. 
■Ht-^^ tian, 250. 
<ft^ til, 475. 
ffhfft tisi, 200, 309. 
^^ ^H tulshi das, 41. 
g^cji turuk, 287, 288. 
B^ tel, 200, 229, 239. 
^^"^ teli, 296, 319, 375. 



clTni^ tewasi, 44. 
fftcTT tota, 287. 

II ^ th II 

^(ft thati, 161. 
^rfthuron, 198. 

II ^d tt 

^71^ datuli, 369. 

2^ci»J datauu, 45. 

^•fl dant, 501. 

"^VJ^ damad, 335, 352. 

^<:^ darji, 270, 274. 

^^TT darbar, 92. 

^^ ^^TT dar darbar, 398. 

^\^g| darwesb, 78. 

^fl^^ dahijaru, 391. 

^f^ dahi, 205. 

^T^ darhi, 290. 

dl^l dada, 91. 

^<T dant, 3, 246, 369. 

^^^ dal, 205, 355. 

f^^n^ digambar, 94, 275. 

^^ did, 389. 

^wf din, 15, 61, 440. 

f ^Tt duari, 141. 

^TX^ dudhari, 505. 

^TJff^^^T dupaharia, 117. 

^3T ^3!T dum kaja, 224. 

^^ dullah, 99. 

jyi dudh, 52. 
\'={T. dubar, 493. 
^^^ deyal, 383. 
^^cB'^ deokur, 404. 
^^^^ deota, 283. 
^^ Debi, 315, 316. 
^^■^C dewar, 324. 
^^ des, 165. 
^t^ dokh, 277. 
^^X; dobar, 487. 
^V^ daura, 82. 

II V dh II 

^[^ dhan, 105, 178, 344, 488. 

\l^fT dhanaha, 477- 

Vft dhani, 170. 

trn dhan, 64, 261, 444, 486. 

\ft^ dhiya, 329, 335. 

^Jt^T dhira, 313. 

\3m dhup, 179. 

^^ dhail, 401, 410. 

\if|[T^ dhokha, 254. 

\Jt<ft dhoti, 80. 

>JtWt dhobi, 271, 272, 283, 490. 

'(Jt^l dhobin, 133. 

II 1 n II 

■smZl nakta, 193. 
ViTK^ nakti, 425. 
tW^Vnakhuna, 253. 

i 17 



M'n: nagar, 107, 392. 

fTT^T nagara, 72. 

^r^ nath, 386. 

•I^«CT^ nath wall, 386. 

^f^ nanad, 325, 381. 

ITl^ narahani, 134. 

•if^TinC nahira, 58. 

^TTI' nari, 303. 

^rf%nTT nayihra, 292. 

•IT^»f naun, 134. 

^TT nai, 233. 

^^ nach, 73, 116, 317. 

•JTIT nata, 251. 

^Tfft nati, 92. 

SJT^ nath, 249. 

•ITjf^ nami, 46. 

^tW naoii, 269. 

t'T%?;% niderale, 127. 

f?!?^ nind, 199. 

f^rqYT% niporale, 69. 

fiJ^nW nimaj, 304. 

F'l^f^fi^'n nimochhiya, 385. 

■pfft^T nihora, 333. 

?f^JI Dim, 143. 

•J-dl^l neura, 82. 

«fTJ '2JI nem tem, 71. 

•f^TTf neman, 481. 

^f T?[ nehai, 23. 

•l^T^ naihar, 322. 

;iftf^^ noniyan, 292. 

•ft^ uaua, 262. 

11 ^ P II 

l^lfT pagaha, 249. 
tJT'pCTT pagurae, 59. 
P^^ pachhwa, 460, 467, 470. 
•qfa^-^-frr patibarta, 370. 
■q^ panth, 212. 
tin^panahi, 419. 
tlT^fT parsaut, 396. 
ip^f^l parosin, 389. 
in^ paiire, 94, 260. 
TTTfl pat, 66, 85. 
^TT pan, 69, 228, 238. 
tlT^ pap, 232. 
TJlft pahi, 430. 
■HT^I pahun, 354. 
ftl^MIT^ pichhuar, 30. 
fqJT'^ pitaran, 429. 
fWtpilli, 186. 
q^fH: pitar, 48. 
tJVt^ pipar, 428. 
n\■^^ piya, 25, 45, 456. 
TftTT Pira, 396. 
■R^^ puawe, 82. 
tr?§ pukh, 452. 
^•1^^^ punarbas, 452, 453. 
3^T purwa, 460,463, 465, 466. 
'•TT^TI purwaiya, 461, 466. 
tI^T§ purukh, 60. 
tr^ piia, 100, 228. 
^^"t tei.,qo, 66, 72, 92, 399. 



^Wf piita, 398. 
^fftff^ putoliiya, 379. 
t]^ pGs, 487, 489. 
^^TW pechal), 320. 
^;Z petu, 46. 
TTJIT paega, 162. 
^^T paiya. 453, 472. 
H'^^ paerau, 191. 
tjf^ poiichli, 95, 361. 
■tft^ powa, 150. 
Tlt^=ll posauwa, 279. 
if^'^l paua, 351. 

II ^ ph II 

■qiWtlrl phajihat, 422. 
t|i^?rr phahima, 344. 
TS^ phuli, 96, 252. 
llTl'sl pljauj, 503. 


^sfi'^^1 bakdain, 11. 
■^offfn bakata, 179. 
^qj-^ bakail, 174. 
^<4)TJ| bakucha, 105. 
^fWTT bakhiya, 204. 
^5lf51^ bajaniyan, 387. 
qSI-^^ bajar, 282. 
WfTf, barai, 62. 
g^n^ batas, 294. 
^^■^ badari, 469. 
^r^J banda, 430. 

^fsiTIT banita, 441. 

^f'J^f baniyaii, 122. 

^^^^^ babua, 359. 

^g^ babui, 336. 

5|1T1||T baikha, 455, 474, 483, 

"SfXVl baradha, 436. 
i3rtx;^f! bariyat, 262. 
MI^^IT bariyar, 195, 196. 
^ff ^ babir, 330. 
■^FefiTI bahukan, 251. 
^^ti;^ bahuriya, 44, 70, 127, 

334, 336. 
^^T bahera, 330. 
^■^Ti; baur, 160. 
^31 bag, 34. 
^T^ bagb, 377. 
m^ bachh, 492. 
•^n^ baiijh, 396. 
^\n\ bati, 83. 
ejl^ri'^ bandar, 57, 58. 
^7T^»( bamhan, 264. 
i^7T^«lY bamhni, 6. 
^■?^T bara, 56. 
^^ bas, 308. 
srre\ basi, 44. 
tWE^'I^ bitiyawa, 336. 
f^V^T bidhwa, 468, 
f%T( bipra, 178. 
f^TJ^ birane, 346. 
t^Wt biUi, 4, 320. 



fs[^ bisani, 67, 72. 

^^ bibi, 6. 

<^\?JT biya, 432. 

^^■^^^ burbak, 343, 344, 346, 

347, 348. 
^^% burle, 276. 
^f»rf4<| bundiya, 326, 
^tr^eJi buribak, 327. 
^^^^ bulbu], 37. 
^^ bujb, 62. 
e^^X bural, 399. 
•3[^ burb, 139, 314. 
'sm bubu, 301. 
"^ beng, 72, 173. 
Sf^^ bengaicba (note), 313. 
%Zl beta, 32, 76, 356. 
^■i\ beti, 178, 356. 
^^ bed, 481. 
%?T ben, 59. 
^T bena, 101. 
^e(|^ beway, 395. 
%^ bel, 208, 247. 
^^ff^T belaunja, 430. 
^^1 besahe, 501. 
eji^l besya, 185. 
^Jfil baigan, 189. 
t^ baid, 255. 
^•fT baina, 501. 
%f^^ 'ft^ bairiya gol, 501. 
%^^5§T baisakkha, 444. 
^U bojh, 245. 

^^Tl baurah, 143. 
^Jl bans, 323. 

II H l)h II 
»1^ *l^1 TJT^ bhak bhaun 

pnri, 156. 
jq^feJT bhagwa, 28. 
'"IT bhaddar, 437, 459. 
^JrlTT bhatar, 403, 467. 
J^cftgn bhatija, 419. 
*r^ bhadra, 421. 
^TJU bharta, 370. 
vnX. bhai, 410. 
W^RE bbakath, 425. 
VnWt bhaji, 63. 
*nf! bhat, 81, 170, 199, 205, 

354, 355, 447, 459. 
*rT^ bhado, 460. 
J^-pf bhan, 454. 
TT*!! 4Z^ bliabha kutan, 

*rrar bbal, 144. 
t*rW^ bbiUari, 449. 
a|^T^ bhikh, 68, 332. 
*re¥^ bbusabul, 92, 341. 
J1^ bbukh, 199. 
*l^ bbusa, 7, 160. 
5T^ bhefit, 33. 
5lf^^ bhediya, 29. 
^^ bhaiya, 74, 366. 
^% bhaifis, 59, 343. 



»rei: blmiiisur, 324. 
5?f f; bhondu, 345. 
*ftWI^ bhaiijai, 348. 

II ^ m II 
^?c|^ makkhi, 201. 
TfWl^ makhmal, 204. 
^^T maggha, 442, 452. 
^T mattha, 209. 
^ mad, 106. 
7r«RT manus, 313. 
*i<^<sH^ maikhah, 102. 
TT^ *ft'f1' marda maugi, 378. 
^T^^ malin, 15. 
*(ftl*IIT! masiyar, 457. 
?ra7^ masuri, 80. 
«l^4| I mahanga, 164. 
^1^^ mahjid, 291. 
^^ mahi, 463. 
4{^'4|| mahua, 106. 
^11'^^ machhar, 347. 
Jffs manr, 38, 326, 
JUW^ malh, 128. 
4{i^ mans, 161, 354. 
f*1<,PimT mirgisra, 447. 
ffWrfl mukuta, 382. 
^npCT mungra, 24. 
;H'^T^ murai, 479. 
TTW niua, 100. 
T^ WTT muhefi chhae, 50. 
1f^ mus, 151. 

^TOT musa, 27, 320, 370. 

?T^T musar, 392. 

^g megh, 454, 468, 488. 

M^m merhak, 173. 

^f-ft raeliari, 213, 351. 

^•JT maena, 50. 

ift^ mochi, 268. 

*1^^'IA^I mochhgaraha, 385. 

sf^TT mora, 216. 

?ftT '"'"■> 75. 

^rt^T^ ''?nf%5r mohamad 

fazil, 90. 
l^jf^ maugi, 369. 
^r*H<<l^fl mausiyaut, 410. 
Jpg^ manrai, 39. 
^31"^ mafigro, 355, 358. 
Tflf'^'f mangaran, 34. 

II T r II 
^^ff^ rakati, 371. 
XTiTTT rakhwar, 498. 
■^^ff rachchha, 1. 
T^Tf^*ll '"ajfaniyan, 269. 
<^^| rasuUa, 94. 
^ft ■■^i. 479. 
XT^'H laut, 257 (rau "^^j 

TJ^m rakas, 114, 146, 392. 
■^TWT raja, 124, 268, 367, 488. 
■^^ rar, 56. 
T^ ranr, 423, 467. 



^T^ ranifi, 367. 
frtr^'I ririyay, 477. 
^^^•I rukhan, 287. 
^X^T rupa, 501. 
^:?I^ rusal, 185. 
^^ renr, 184. 
^5f rain, 482. 
■^?; ''ft^ roi roi, 158. 
■^rir rog, 393. 
■frfT^ rogiya, 388. 
■^^ rohu, 196. 
ftfl rohan, 445, 447. 

II ^ 1 II 
511 cR^ lakari, 38. 
^JITJT lagam, 300. 
WZ^ latal, 324. 
^TWW^ larika, 11, 47, 276. 
^^ laddu, 192, 281. 
^^T labar, 43. 
^?J'^T lamera, 40. 
^Tf^X lamaichar, 40. 
^J^ Iambi, 80, 81, 313. 
^f\;=fif larikan, 119, 154. 
HTli lakh, 43. 
;5nW laje, 321. 
^fj-i\ latiii, 195, 257, 448. 
^fl lat, 183, 227. 
^T^Rl^ lal bahi, 37a. 
f%^i: lilar, 19, 79. 
^cfi lik, 400. 

^■^3 luatli, 210. 
^TTTV lukwari, 146. 
^(5|/^ lukiiari, 484. 
^I^t lug-ari, 136. 
%% lekhe, 276. 
Tjft^ lok, 332. 
^^f^l lokdin, 326. 
^31 log, 318. 
^ft^ lorik, 258. 
^fTT lahar, 254, 295. 
^^T lauka, 210. 
Ij^T: laur, 33, 186, 188. 
^^ laiika, 29. 
#IIZTlangta, 116. 

11 ?r s II 
^^IXT sngara, 482. 
JETTT sagare, 153. 
^?5^fT saiijhwat, 83. 
^cf^ sati, 400. 
Wt{ sattu, 351, 429. 
'ftrU'l sataun, 45. 
^Pffr^ santokh, 17, 277. 
^•l^»n?3 sansanahat, 183. 
^^■^ sansar, 182. 
^ffV^T sanicliar, 469. 
^TJtT sapiit, 323. 
*i^H[ saptmi, 454, 455, 456, 

457, 458. 
^Xf^'^ sapalieri, 51. 
^JTf^»I samdhin, 103. 



^T;einT^ sarkari, 186. 

^TT ^TfTT^ sarag patali, 501. 

^TTl^ sarahal, 33i. 

^(^^ sawai, 487. 

^Ttf^ swati, 442, 443, 480. 

^■^rr sasta, 164. 

^?^ sasur, 229, 292. 

^rHX:TT sasurar, 329, 351. 

^^W saliua, 106. 

^^■Sfrl^ salianai, 233. 

^31 sag, 233. 

^ai •qTfJ sag pat, 85, 166. 

^tNJ sanjh, 410. 

^\M\ (^V*ri) sami shwami, 

^rrr sar, 457. 
^^ sali, 475. 
^^^ sawan, 112, 244, 454, 

455, 456, 457, 458, 460, 

<JNT^'' safiwarban, 501. 
^Q-RT sas, 379, 381. 
^rg^ sasur, 322, 329, 366, 391. 
nj<tr«!.^l sikatiya, 350. 
t^RTR: (ftlWIT) sikar (shikar), 

f^TITT: singar, 376. 
Wy( singba, 233. 
fwmX siyar, 42, 112, 283, 473. 
ftr^^ siraki, 55. 
f^^^ silwat, 26. 

B^^ sukthi, 189. 

^^ sukh, 337. 

?tra ■q»f sukh pun, 383. 

^^TT^ sukbratri, 481. 

^XT sap, 82. 

^^T sum, 15. 

^t'TT sumin, 15. 

§3 seth, 103. 

%?^X: sendur, 20, 424. 

%^ sendhi, 415. 

5qi«lT seyana, 256. 

%Jrf saiyafi, 366, 377. 

MUf^ saiyad, 9. 

^'fi'I 6)|*t sokan ban, 501. 

^^ sojh, 230, 350, 

^^^ sonar, 295. 

^=tfTi:^ sohaik, 163. 

;^^T^»I sohawan, 382. 

^ITT?; sohrai, 130. 

^gi^ sbakar, 475. 
^jfir shani, 438. 

II 1 b II 

f 51 baj, 4. 

ff^TSn hanriya, 369, 373. 

%f^rm hanthiya, 475, 476, 477. 

^^W%a hafisua, 202, 410. 

fi: bar, 298, 435. 

^"^ harre, 330. 



^tr^^ haribans, 265. 
^|f^'?l^ hariyare, 244. 
l^^t haluai. 358. 
^ifcfi^ hakim, 197. 
fTZ hat, 164. 
^\|\ hafiri, 71. 
^T^ hathi, 3, 246, 349. 
fT^^ haral, 213. 

f Tft hahi, 17. 
ff^I hifig, 417. 
fVrr hira, 4ia 
;^e|i^ hukal, 23. 
^^TT hunrar, 130. 
^44«ll huoiDa, 298. 
^^fhiirofi, 198. 
^Ot hansi, 158.