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Full text of ""Gombo zhèbes." Little dictionary of Creole proverbs, selected from six Creole dialects. Tr. into French and into English, with notes, complete index to subjects and some brief remarks upon the Creole idioms of Lousiana"

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GOMBO ZHEBES. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS, 



SELECTED FROM SIX CREOLE DIALECTS. 



TRANSLATED INTO FRENCH AND INTO ENGLISH, WITH NOTES, COMPLETE INDEX 

TO SUBJECTS AND SOME BRIEF REMARKS UPON THE CREOLE 

IDIOMS OF LOUISIANA. 



BY 

LAFCADIO HEARN. 



NEW YORK: 

WILL H. COLEMAN, PUBLISHER, No. 70, BUSINESS QUARTER, ASTOA HOUSE. 

1885. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in tne year 1885, by 

WILL H. COLEMAN, 
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. 



KESEKVED. 



INTRODUCTION. 



Any one who has ever paid a flying visit to New Orleans probably knows something- 
about those various culinary preparations whose generic name is " Gombo "compounded 
of many odds and ends, with the okra-plant, or true gombo f or a basis, but also com 
prising occasionally "lote", zepinard, laitie," and the other vegetables sold in bunches in 
the French market. At all events any person who has remained in the city for a season 
must have become familiar with the nature of " gombo file," " gombo fevi," and " gombo 
aux herbes," or as our colored cook calls it, " gombo zhebes for she belongs to the older 
generation of Creole cuisiniercs, and speaks the patois in its primitive purity, without 
using a single "r." Her daughter, who has been to school, would pronounce it gombo 
zhairbes-.ihe modern patois is becoming more and more Frenchified, and will soon be alto 
gether forgotten, not only throughout Louisiana, but even in the Antilles. It still, how 
ever, retains originality enough to be understood with difficulty by persons thoroughly 
familiar with French; and even those who know nothing of any language but English, 
readily recognize it by the peculiarly rapid syllabification and musical intonation. Such 
English-speaking residents of New Orleans seldom speak of it as t " Creole": they 
call it gombo, for some mysterious reason which I have never been able to explain satis 
factorily. The colored Creoles of the city have themselves begun to use the term to 
characterize the patois spoken by the survivors of slavery days. Turiault tells us that in 
the towns of Martinique, where the Creole is gradually changing into French, the Bitacos, 
or country negroes who still speak the patois nearly pure, are much ridiculed by their 
municipal brethren: C<i on ka pale id, che, c est neg;fa pas Creole! " What you talk is 
nigyp.r, my dear: that ixn t Creole!") In like manner a young Creole negro or n egress of 
New Orleans mieri-t tell an aged member of his race: " aqui to parle fa pas Creole: fa 
c est gombo!" I have sometimes heard the pure and primitive Creole also called "Congo" 
by colored folks of the new generation. 

The literature of " fombo " has perhaps even more varieties than there are preparations 
of the esculents above re"- red to ; the patois has certainly its gombo fevi, its gomo file, its 
" gombo zhebes" both written and unwritten. A work like Marbot s "Bambous" would 
deserve to be classed with the pure " levi " ; the treatises of Turiault, Baissac, St. Quen- 
tin, Thomas, rather resemble that fully prepared dish, in which crabs seem to struggle with 
f ,-agments of many well-stewed meats, all strongly seasoned with pepper. The present 
essay at Creole folklore, can only be classed as "gombo zhebes "(Zhebes fe feuil-chou, 
cresson, laitie, betuav, lose, zepinard); the true okra is not the basis of our preparation ; 
it is a Creole dish, if you please, but a salmagundi of inferior quality. 



For the collection of Louisiana proverbs in this work I am almost wholly indebted to 
my friend Professor William Henry, Principal of the Jefferson Academy in New Orleans; 
not a few of the notes, Creole quotations, and examples of the local patois were also con 
tributed bv him. The sources of the other proverbs will be found under the head of Creole 



268731 



4 INTRODUCTION. 

Bibliography. The translations of the proverbs into French will greatly aid in exhibiting 
the curious process of transformation to which the negro slave subjected the language of 
his masters, and will also serve to show the peculiar simplicity of Creole grammar. My 
French is notalwayselegant, or even strictly correct; for with the above object in view it has 
been necessary to make the translation as literal as is possible without adopting the inter 
linear system. Out of nearly five hundred proverbs I selected about three hundred and 
fifty only for publication some being rejected because of their naive indecency, others 
because they offered mere variations of one and the same maxim. Even after the sifting 
process, I was partly disappointed with the results; the proportion of true Creole proverbs 
proverbs of indubitably negro invention proved to be much smaller than I had expected. 
Nevertheless all which I have utilized exhibit the peculiarities of the vernacular sufficiently 
to justify their presence. 

* * * 

While some of these proverbs are witty enough to call a smile to the most serious lips, 
many others must, no doubt, seem vapid, enigmatic, or even meaningless. But a large 
majority of negro sayings depend altogether upon application for their color or their 
effectiveness; they possess a chameleon power of changing hue according to the manner in 
which they are placed. (See for examples: Prov. 181, 251, or 308.) Every saying of this kind 
is susceptible of numerous applications; and the art of applying one proverb to many 
different situations is one in which the negro has no rival not even among the Arabs them 
selves, whose use of such folklore has been so admirably illustrated by Carlo Landberg. 



No two authors spell the Creole in the same way ; and three writers whom I have 
borrowed largely from Thomas, Baissac, and Turiault actually vary the orthography of 
the same word in quite an arbitrary manner. At first I thought of remodeling all my 
proverbs according to the phonetic system of spelling; but I soon fonnd that this would 
not only disguise the Creole etymology almost beyond recognition, but would further 
interfere with my plan of arrangement. Finally I concluded to publish the Creole text 
almost precisely as I had found it, with the various spellings and peculiarities of accent 
uation. The reader will find cabrit, for example, written in four or five different ways. 
Where the final t never pronounced in our own patois is fully sounded, the several 
authorities upon Creole grammar have indicated the fact in various fashions : one spelling 
it cdbritt ; another cobrite, etc. 

* * * 

The grammatical peculiarities and the pronounciation of the several Creole dialects are 
matters which could not be satisfactorily treated within the compass of a small pamphlet. 
Some few general rules might, indeed, be mentioned as applying to most Creole dialects. It 
is tolerably safe to say that in no one of the West Indian dialects waa the French * r " pro 
nounced in former days ; it was either totally suppressed, as in the word " f oce " (force), or 
exchanged for a vowel sound, as in bouanche (for tranche). The delicate and difficult French 
sound of u was changed into ou ; the sound en was simplified into e\ the clear European o 
became a nasal au ; and into many French words containing the sound of am, such as amour , 
the negro wedged the true African n, making the singular Creole pronounciation Zanmow, 
ccmmarade, janmain. But the black slaves from the Ivory and Gold Coasts, from Congo or 
Angola, pronounced differently. The Eboes and Mandingoes spoke the patois with varying 
accentuations; it were therefore very difficult to define rules of pronounciation applicable 
to the patois spoken in all parts of one island like Guadaloupe, or one colonial province like 
Guyana. Not so in regard to grammar. In all forms of the patois (whether the musical and 
peculiarly picturesque Creole of Martinique, or the more fantastic Creole of Mauritius, 



INTRODUCTION. 5 

adulterated with Malgacheand Chinese words) the true article is either suppressed or trans 
formed into a prefix or affix of the noun, as in femme-la * the woman," or yon lagrimacc, a 
grimace; there is no true gender, no true singular and plural; verbs have rarely more than 
six tenses sometimes less and the tense is not indicated by the termination of the verb ; 
there is a remarkable paucity of auxiliaries, and in some dialects none whatever; parti 
ciples are unknown, and prepositions few. A very fair knowledge of comparative Creole 
grammar and pronunciation may be acquired, by any one familiar with French, from the 
authors cited at the beginning of this volume. I would also recommend those interested in 
such folklore to peruse the Creole novel of Dr. Alfred Mercier Les Saint-Ybars, which 
contains excellent examples of the Louisiana dialect; and Baissac s beautiful little stories, 
" Recits Creoles," rich in pictures of the old French colonial life. The foreign philological 
re views and periodicals, especially those of Paris, have published quite a variety of animal 
fables, proverbs, stories in various Creole dialects ; and among the recent contributions of 
French ethnologists to science will be also discovered some remarkable observations upon 
the actual formation of various patois strongly resembling our own Creole in the French 
African colonies. 

*** 

Needless to say this collection is far from perfect ; the most I can hope for is that it 
may constitute the nucleus of a more exhaustive publication to appear in course of time. 
No one person could hope to make a really complete collection of Creole proverbs even 
with all the advantages of linguistic knowledge, leisure, wealth, and travel. Only a society 
of folklorists might bring such an undertaking to a successful issue; but as no systematic 
effort is being made in this direction, I have had no hesitation in attempting not indeed to 
fill a want but to sot an example. Goulz passe, dijil sivre:let the needle but pass, the 
thread will follow. L. H. 



CREOLE BIBLIOGRAPHY. 



The selection of Haytian proverbs in this collection was made by kindly permission 
of Messrs. Harper Bros., from the four articles contributed by Hon. John Bigelow, to 
HARPER S MAGAZINE, 1875. The following list includes only those works consulted or 
quoted from in the preparation of this dictionary, and comprises but a small portion of all 
the curious books, essays, poems, etc., written upon, or in the Creole patois of the Antilles 
and of Louisiana. L. H. 

BRUYERE (LoYS) "Proverbes Creoles de la Guyane Francaise." (In 1 Almanach dcs 
Traditions Populaires, 1883. Paris : Maisonneuve et Cie.) 

BAISSAC (M. C.) " Etude sur le Patois Creole Mauricien." Nancy: Imprimerie Berger- 
Levrault & Cie., 1880. 

MARBOT " Les Bambous." Fables de La Fontaine travesties en Patois Creole par un Vieux 
Commandeur. Fort-de-France, Martinique: Librairie de Frederic Thomas, 1869. (Second 
Edition. Both editions of this admirable work are now unfortunately out of print.) 

THOMAS (J. J.) "The Theory and Practice of Creole Grammar." Port of Spain, Trinidad : 
The Chronicle Publishing Office, 1869. 

TTTRIAULT (J.) u Etude sur le Langage Creole de la Martinique." (Extrait du Bulletin de 
la Societe Academique.) Brest : Lefournier, 1869. 

DE ST.-QUENTIN (ATTGIJSTE) Introduction d 1 Histoire de Cayenne, suivie d un Recueil de 
Contes, Fables, et Chansons en Creole. Notes et Commentaires par Alfred de St.-Quentin. 
Etude sur la Grammaire Creole par Auguste de St.-Quentin. Antibes : J. Marchand, 

1872. 

BIGELOW (HON. JOHN) "The Wit and Wisdom of the Haytians." Being four articles upon 
the Creole Proverbs of Hayti, respectively published in the June, July, August and 
September numbers of HARPER S MAGAZINE, 1875. 



Little Dictionary of Creole Proverbs. 



[Most of the proverbs quoted in Martinique are current also in Guadaloupe, only 90 miles distant. Att 
proverbs recognized in Louisiana are marked by an asterisk (*). The indication*, MAURITIUS, GUYANA, 
MARTINIQUE, HATTI, etc., do not necessarily imply origin ; they refer only to the dialects in which the 
proverbs are written, and to the works from which they are selected.} 



1. Acoma tombe toutt mounn di : C est bois pourri. (Quand 1 Acoma est tombe, tout lo 

monde dit : C est du bois pourri.) 
" When the Acoma has fallen everybody says : It s only rotten \vood. "i [Mart.] 

2. A foce macaque caresse yche li ka touffe li. (A force de caresser son petit le macaque 

1 etouffe.) 
" The monkey smothers its young one by hugging it too much." [Mart. ] 

3. Asperea i6ve dans marmite avant cause". (Attendez que le lievre soit dans la marmite 

avant de parler.) 

" Wait till the hare s in the pot before you talk." Don t count your chickens before 
they re hatched. [Mauritius. } 

4. Avant boiss d Inde te pote graine, macaque t6 nouri yche yo. (Avant que 1 arbre d Inde 

portait des graines, les macaques nourissaient leurs petits.) 

" Before the Indian tree(?) bore seed the monkeys were able to nourish their young-." 
[Martinique.] 

5. Avant zabocat macaque ka nouri yche li. (Avant qu il y cut des avocados, les macaques 

nourissaient leurs petits.) 

"The monkey could nourish it young, before there were any avocadoes."-* 
[ Martinique. ] 

i The Acoma, says Turiault, is one of the grandest trees in the forests of the Antilles. 
The meaning of the proverb appears to be, that a powerful or wealthy person who meets 
with misfortune is at once treated with contempt by those who formerly sought his favor 
or affected to admire his qualities. 

a Evidently a creolization of the Spanish esperar. 

3 The word bois (wood) is frequently used in Creole for the tree itself ; and pie-bois 
("foot of the wood ") for the trunk or stump. "Yon gouos pi6-bois plis facile deracine 
qu mauvaisl habitude" (A big- stump is easier to uproot than a bad habit), is a Martinique 
Creole dictum, evidently borrowed from the language of the white masters. I am sorry that 
1 do not know which of the various trees to which the name bois d Inde has been given by 
the Creoles, is referred to in the proverb^whtther the mango, or China-berry. No tree is 
generally recognized by that name in Louisiana. 

* The Avocado was the name given by the Spanish conquistadores to the Persea 
gratissima, whose fruit is the " alligator pear." But M. Turiault again traces the Spanish 
word back to the Carib word Aouacate. 



8 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

6. Azourdi casae en fin; dimain tape lansrouti. (Aujourd hui bien mis; demain en langouti.) 

" Well dressed to-day; only a langoutU tomorrow. 1 [Mauritius.] 

7. Azourdi soule bon temps, dimain pagaye. (Aujourd hui soul do plaisir, demain la 

pagaye.) 

" To-day drunk with fun, to-morrow the paddle." Allusion to slavery discipline. 
[Mauritius. ] 

8. Azourdi tout marmites dibout lahaut dife. (Aujourd hui toutes les marmites sont 

deboutsurlefeu.) 

" All the cooking-pots are on the fire now." One man is now as good as another : 
this proverb evidently refers to the abolition of slavery. [Mauritius]. 

9. Azourdi tout femmes alle confesse, mes Ibere zautes tourne lesjlise dinbe z6tte encore 

pece av zautes. (Aujourd hui toutes les femmes vont dconfesae; mais quand elles 
reviennent de i eglise le diable leur jette encore des peches.) 

"All the women go to confession now-a-days; but they no sooner return from 
church, than the devil piles more sins upon them." [Mauritius. ~\ 

10. Babe canmarade ou pris dife, rouse ta ou. (Quand la barbe de ton camarade brule, arrose 

la tienne.) 
"If you see your neighbor s beard on fire, water your own."2 [Martinique. } 

11. Babiez mouche, babiez viande. (Grondez les mouches, grondez la viande.) "4^ 

" Scold the flies, scold the meat." [Hayti.] 

12. Badnen bien epis macaque; main pouengade manyen lakhe li. (Badinez bien avec le 

macaque ; mais prenez garde de ne pas manier sa queue.) 

" Joke with the monkey as much as you please ; but take good care not to handle 
his tail." [Trinidad. ] 

13. Baggie qui fair ziex fair nez. (Les choses qui font [mal aux] yeux, font [mal au] nez.) 

" What troubles the eyes affects the nose." 3 [Trinidad.] 

14. Bagasse boucoup, flangourin piti morceau. (Beaucoup de bagasse, peu d jus.) 

"Much bagasse and little juice." (The bagasse is the refuae of the caue, after the 
sap has been extracted.) [Mauritius. ] 

15. Baignen iches moune ; main pas lavez dei er zoreies yeauTc. (Baignez les enfants des 

autres [lit : du monde] ; mais ne les lavez pas derriere les oreilles.) 

" Bathe other people s children ; but don t wash behind their cars." That is to say: 
Do not be servile in obsequiousness to others. [Trinidad]. 

16. Balie nef , balie prope. (Tin balai neuf , un balai propre.) 

"A new broom s a clean broom." This is a Creolization of our household phrase: 
" A new broom sweeps clean." [Mauritius. ] 

i The iangouti was the garment worn about the loins by male slaves in Mauritius who 
were wont to labor otherwise naked. In Creole both caxer and taper signify "to put on," 
with the difference that coser generally refers to good clothes. In colloquial French tape 
means "stylisnly dressed," " well-rigged-out," etc. 

2 " Take example by the misfortune of others." I much doubt the Creole origin of any 
proverb relating to the b^ard. This one. like many others in the collection, has probably 
been borrowed from a European source; but it furnishes a fine sample of patois. In 
Louisiana Creole we would say to qumne instead of ta ou. The Spanish origin of the Creole 
quenne if obvious. 

s I believe there is an omission in Thomas version, and that the Creole ought to read : 
Baggaie qui fair mal ziex fair mal nez." Baugaie has a hundred meanings: "thing," 
"affair," "business," "nonsense," "stuff," etc. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 9 

17. Bardeauxi convert tout. (Los bardeaux couvrent tout.) 

" Shingles cover everything." Family roofs olten cover a multitude of sins. 
[Mauritius.] 

18. Baton pas f 6 passe^ sabe. (Le baton n est pas plus fort que le sabre.) 

" The stick is not stronger than the sabre." [Martinique]. 

19. Batt6 rend6 zam6s fe>e mal. (L~s coups rendus ne font jamais de mal.) 

" Blows returned never hurt." Vengeance is sweet. [Mauritius.] 

20. Bef pas bousoin lakhe li yon sel fois pou chass6 mouche. (Le boeuf n a pas besoin de sa 

queue une fois seulement pour chasser les mouches,) 

" It isn t one time only that the ox needs his tail to drive the flies away." Ironical 
expression for " you will have need of me again." 3 [Martinique.] 

21. Bef pas jamain ka die savane, " Meci ! " (Le bceuf ne dit jamais a la savane, " Merci I ") 
s "Ox never says Thank you, to the pasture."-* [ Trinidad.] 

22. Befs laquee en lere, mauvSa temps napas loin. (Les boeufs ont la queue en 1 air, le 

mauvais temps n est pas loin.) 
"When the oxen lift their tails in the air, lookout for bad weather." [Mauritius. 

23. * Bel tignons pas fait bel negresse. (Le beau tignon ne fait pas la. belle negresse.) 

" It isn t the fine head-dress that makes the fine negress." [Louisiana.] 

24. Benefice ratt, c est pou sepent. (Le benefice du rat, c est pour le serpent.) 

" The rat s gains are for the serpent." [Martinique.] 

25. Bon bagout cappe lavie. (Bon bagou sauve la vie.) 

" Good gab saves one s life." [Mauritius.] 

26. Bon blanc mouri; mauvais rete. (Le bon blanc meurt ; le mauvais [m6chant]reste.) jC 

" The good white man dies ; the bad remains." [Hay ti.] 

27. Bon-bouche ka gagnin chouvals a credit. (La bonne bouches obtient des chevaux a 

credit.) 
" Fair words buy horses on credit." [Trinidad.] 

1 The sarcasm of this proverb appears to be especially levelled at the rich. In other 
Mauritian proverbs the house of the rich man is always spoken of as the house covered with 
shingles, in contradistinction to the humble slave cabins, thatched with straw. 

2 Passe lit :" past" therefore synonymous with "beyond." Word for word the trans 
lation would be: "The stick is not strong beyond the sword." But the Creole generally 

uses"plis passe" instead of the French plus.... que ("more than"). "Victorine li plis 

zolie pass6 Alphonsine "Victorine is more pretty than Alphonsine. The Creole passe is 
really adverbial; bearing some semblance to the old English use of the word "passing," as in 
"passing strange," "passing fair." 

s This proverb may be found in all the Creole dialects of the West Indies. We have in 
the South a proverb to the same effect in English : Flytime will come again, and the ox will 
want his tail. 

* A proverb current in Martinique, Louisiana, etc., with slight variations. Favors or 
services done through selfish policy, or compelled by necessity, do not merit acknowledgment. 
s The Louisiana "tiyon or tig on [tiyon is the true Creole word] isthe famously picturesque 
handkerchief which in old days all slave women twisted about their heads. It is yet worn 
by the older colored folk : and there are several styles of arranging it tiyon c/iinoise, tiyon 
Creole, etc. An old New Orleans ditty is still sung, of which the refrain is : 

Madame Caba ! 

Tiyon vous tomb6 ! 
Madame Caba, 

Tiyon vous tomb6 ! 

" Madame Caba, your tiyon s falling off ! " 
e That is to say : la bonne tongue; " the good tongue gets horses on credit." 



10 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

28. * Bon chien pas janmain trapp6 bon zo. (Jamais un bon chien n obtient un bon os.) 

44 A good dog never gets a good bone." Creole adaptation of an old French proverb. 
[Martinique. ] 

29. Bon coq ehant6 dans toutt pouleille. (Un bon coq chante dans tout [n importe quel] 

poulailler.) 

41 A good cock crows in any henhouse." Meaning that force of character shows 
itself under all circumstances. [Martinique. ] 

30. Bondi<5 bailie noue^ett pou a qui pas ni dent. (Le Bon Dieu donne deg noisettes a 

celui quin a pas de dents.) 

4 God gives nuts to people who have no teeth." Originally an Oriental proverb ; 
adopted into Creole from the French. As we say : 4 A fool for luck." [.Martinique}. 

31. Bon-Gueka bailie ti zoueseau dans bois mange, jige si 11 pas ke bailie chritien mange. 

(Le Bon Dieu donne a manger aux petits oiseaux qui sont dans les bois; jugez s il ne 
donnera pas d manger a un Chretien.) 1 

44 God gives the little birds in the wood something to eat ; judge for yourself, then, 
whether he will not give a Christian something to eat." [Martinique. } 

32. Bon lilit, bon menaze. (Bon lit, bon menage.) 

44 Where there s a good bed, there s good housekeeping." [Mauritius.} 

33. Bon pie sauve mauvais co. (Un bon pied sauve un mauvais corps.) 

44 A good (swift) foot saves a bad (weakly) body." Like our proverbial refrain : "He 
that fights and runs away," etc. [Martinique. } 

34. * Bon-temps fait crapaud manque bounda. (Le bon temps fait manquer de derriere au 

crapaud.) 
44 Idleness leaves the frogs without buttocks." [Louisiana }. 

35. * Bon-temps pas bosco. (Le bon temps n est pas bossu.) 

44 Good fortune is never hunch- backed." (Same proverb in Martinique dialect, and 
in that of Louisiana.)^ [Trinidad.] 

36. Bon valett ni lakhe coupe\ (Le bon valet a la queue couple.) 

41 The good servant s tail is cut off." Reference to the condition of a dog whoso tail is 
cut off : he can t wag his tail, because he has no tail to wag !* [Martinique.] 

37. * Bouche li pas ni dimanche. (Sa bouche n a pas de dimanche.) 

"His mouth never keeps Sunday" lit : has no Sunday" no day of rest. [Mart.] 

i Such a conversation as the following may not unfrequently be heard among the old 
colored folk in New Orleans : 

" Eh I Marie ! to pape traval jordi ? 
44 Moin ? non ! " 



" Eh, ben ! comment to fe pou vive, alors? 

4 Ah ! ti 2020 li Ua boi, li ha mange, li pas travai toujou ! " 

work to-day ?" 4 I? no I " 44 1 

drinks, little bird eats, little bird does nt work all the 



*n.tv . . . . , (/(, 4,{)6*) iv n,t* uvt) n fVi* ffiU /i-yt/^ t/t jfujo vi tn;u/c i 

[ 4 Hey, Marie I Ain t you going to work to-day ? " 4l I ? no I " k4 Well then, how do you 
manage to live ?" "Ah! little bird drinks, little bird eats, ~ 



2 Or like the Old Country saying 4k Better a good run than a bad stand." 

a In Creole bon temps most generally signifies 4k idleness," and is not always used in a 

pleasant sense. Prov. 35 is susceptible of several different applications. 

4 The good servant does not fawn, does not flatter, does not affect to oe pleased with 

everything his master does he may emulate the dog in constant faithfulness, not in 

fawning. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 11 

38. Boucoup disic dans Cannes, m6s domaze marmites napas nous. (Beaucoup de sucre dans 

les cannes, mais par malheur nous ne sommes pas les marmites.) 

"Plenty of sugar in the canes; but unfortunately we are not the boilers." Said 
when dishonesty is discovered in the management of affairs. [Mauritius.] 

39. Boudin pas tini zoreles. (Le ventre n a pas d oreilles.) 

"The belly has no ears." [Trinidad.] 

40. * Bouki fait gombo, lapin mange li. (Le bouc fait le gombo, le lapin le mange.) 

" He-goat makes the gombo ; but Rabbit cats it."i [Louisiana.] 

41. C,a ou j6t6 jodi epis pie, ou ramase6 li dimain epis lanmain. (Ce que voua rejetez 

aujourd hui avec le pied, vous le ranaaeserez demain avec la main.) 

* What you push away from you to-day with your foot, you will pick up to-morrow 
with your hand. "2 [Martinique. } 

42. Qa ou p6di nen f e ou va trouve nen sann. (Ce que vous perdez dans le feu, vous le retrou- 

verez dans la cendre.) 

44 What you lose in the fire, you will find in the ashes." Meaning that a good deed is 
never lost. " Cast your bread upon the waters," etc. [Martinique.] 

43. * C,a qui bon pou zoie, bon pou canard. (Ce qui est bon pour 1 oie, est bon pour le canard.). 

" What is good for the goose is good for the duck." Martinique. 

44. C,a qui boude manze boudin. (Celui qui boude mange du boudin.) 

" He who sulks eats his own belly." That is to say, spites himself. The pun is un- 
translatable."3 [Mauritius.] 

45. C,a qui dourmi napas pens6 manze. (Qui dort ne pense pas a manger.) 

44 When one sleeps, one doesn t think about eating."* [Mauritius.] 

46. C,a qui fine gout6 larac zames perdi son gout. (Celui qui a goute 1 arac n en oublie 

jamaisle gout.) 
44 He who has once tasted arrack never forgets the taste." [Mauritius.] 

47. Qa qui gagne piti mil dehors, veille laplie. (Celui qui a un peu de mil dehors veille 

la pluie.) 
44 He who has [would raise] a little millet out of doors, watches for rain." [Hayli.] X 

48. C,a qui gagne zoli fille gagne coudesapeau. (Celui qui a une jolie fllie revolt des coups 

de chapeau.) 
44 He who has a pretty daughter receives plenty of salutes. "[Mauritius.] 

49. C,a qui mange z6 pas save si bonda poule fait li mal. (Ceux qui mangent ne savent pas si 

le derriere de la poule lui fait mal.) 
44 Those who eat eggs don t know whether the chicken suffered."5 [Martinique] 

50. Qa qui ni bon pie prend douvant. (Celui qui a bon pied prend le devant. 

4k He who is swift of foot takes the lead." Force of character always brings its pos 
sessor to the front. [Mart.] 

i This proverb is founded upon one of the many amusing Creole animal-fables, all bear 
ing the title : Compe Bouki epis Compe Lapin) "Daddy Goat and.Daddy Kabbit ".) The rabbit 
always comes out victorious, as in the stories of Uncle Remus. 

2" Waste not, want not." 

3 Boudin in French signifies a pudding, in Creole it also signifies the belly. Thus there is 
a double pun in the patois. 

^ " Qui dort, dine/ is an old French proverb. 

5 A little too vulgar for literal translation. Those who profit by the misfortunes of others, 
never concern themselves about the suffering which they take advantage of. 



12 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

. C,a qui pas bon pou sac pas boa pour tnaconte. (Ce qui n est pas bon pourle sac, n est 
pas pour le maconte. 
" What is not fit for the bag, is not fit for the maconte."i [Hayti.] 

52. C,a qui prend zassocie prend maite. (Celui qui prend un associe prend (se donne) un 

maitre. 
" He who takes a partner takes a master." [Martinique.] 

53. Qa qui ti bien fere, zames ti mal fere. (Ce qui est bien fait, n est j imais mal fait. 

" What s rightly done is never wrongly done." That is to say : Never regret anything 
done for a good motive. [Mauritius.] 

54. C,a qui tine poelon qui cone so prix lagresse. (C est celui qui tient le poelon qui connait 

le prix de la grasse.) 
"It s the one who holds the skillet that knows the cost of lard." [Mauritius.] 

55. Qa qui touy6 son lecorps travaille pour leveres. (Celui qui tue son propre corps, tra- 

vaille pour les vers.) 

"He who kills his own body, works for the worms." Applicable to those who injure 
their health by excesses. [Mauritius.] 

56. C,a qui vie couve, couve su ze yo. (Ceux qui veulent couver, qu elles convent leurs propres 

oeufs.) 

44 Let those who want to hatch hatch their own eggs." That is, let everybody mind 
his or her own business. [Martinique] 

57. * C,a va rive dans semaine quatte zheudis. (Cela va arriver dans la semaine de quatre 

jadis.) 
That will happen in the week of four Thursdsiys."* [Louisiana.] 

58. C,a zie pas voue khe pas f e mal. (Ce que les yeux ne voient pas, ne fait pas de mal au 

coeur.) 
" What the eyes don t see never hurts the heart.3 [Martinique.] 

59. Cabritt^ boue, mouton sou. (Quand la chevre boit, c est le mouton qui est soul.) 

" When the goat drinks, they say the sheep is drunk." Meaning that the innocent are 
made to suffer for the guilty. [Martinique.] 

60. Cabritt li ka mont6 roche, li descende. (Chevre qui a monte un rocher doit en descendre.) 

"The goat that climbs up the rocks must climb down again. [Guyana] 

*61. Cabritt pas connaitt goumeV inais cui li batte la charge. (La chevre ne sait pas le battre; 
mais son cuir [sa peau] bat la charge.) 
" The goat does not know how to fi^ht ; but his hide beats the charge." [Hayti.] 

1 Wold in Trinidad Creole. Maconte is probably from the Spanish macona, a basket with 
out handles. The Hajtian maconte is a sort of basket made of woven grass, and used for 
carrying all kinds of articles. It is strapped to the shoulders. 

2 Ironically said to those who make promises which there is no reason to believe will 
ever bd fulfilled. 

s Ce que yex ne voit, cuer ne deut, is a French proverb of the 13th century, from which was 
probably derived our own saying : " What the eye doesn t see, the heart doesn t grieve after." 

4 Oabri in French signifies a kid; in Creole it signifies either a, kid or a goat more gen 
erally the latter. The word was originally spelled with a finaH, 1 and the Creoles of the 
Antilles have generally preserved the letter, even in pronunciation. I have purposely 
retained the various spellings given by various authors. 

5 Goume, or in some dialects, goumein* is said by Turiault to be a verb of African origin 
Etude sur la langage Creole, page 143. Still we have the French word gourmer^ signifying to 
curb a horse, also, to box, to give cuffs. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 13 

62. Cabritt qui pas malin pas gras. (La chevre qui n est pas maligne n est pas grasse.) 
" The goat that isn t cunning never gets fat." [Martinique. ] 

i. 63. Cabrite qui pas malin mange nen pi6 morne. (La chevre qui n est pas maligne, mange 
au pied du morne.) 
"The foolish goat eats at the foot of the hill." [Hayti.\ 

64 Canari vie rie chodier. (Le canari [le pot] veut rire de la chaudiere [la marmitel.) 
* The clay-pot wishes to laugh at the iron pot."i [Trinidad.] 

65. Cancrelat sourti dans lafarine. (Le cancrelat [ravet] sort de la farine.) 

" The roach has come out of the flour-barrel." Said to women of color who whiten 
their faces with rice-powder. [Mauritius.] 

66. Canna pa ni d leau pou li baingnein i le trouve pou li nage". (Le canard n a pas de 1 eau 

pour se laver, et il veut trouver assez pour iiager.) 

"The duck hasn t enough water to wash with, and he wants enough to swim in." 
Refers to those who live beyond their means. [Martinique. \ 

67. * Capon vive longtemps. (Le capon vit longtemps.) 

"The coward lives a long time."2 [Louisiana.] 

68. * Qaquene senti so doule"re. (Chacun sent sa douleur.) 

" Everybody has his own troubles." [Mauritius.] 

69. Carbon zames va done la farine. (Le charbon jamais ne donnera de farine.) 

" Coal will never make flour." You can t wash a negro white. [Mauritius. 

70. Qatte boire dilhouile enbas latabe. (Le chat boit 1 huile sous la table.) 

" Cat s drinking the oil under the table." People are making fun at your expense, 
though you don t know it. [Mauritius. } 

71. qatte noir apele larzent.s (Un chat noir presage [appelle] de 1 argent.) 

"A black cat brings money (good luck.) " [Mauritius.] 

72. qatte qui ena matou fere lembarras. (La chatte qui a un matou fait ses embarras,) 

"The she-cat who has a tom-cat, puts on airs." [Mauritius.] 



1 " Pot calls the kettle black." The clay pot (canari) has almost disappeared from Creole 
kitchens in Louisiana; but the term survives in a song of which the burthen is : " Canari 
casse dans dife." 

2 The word capon is variously applied by Creoles as a term of reproach. It may refer 
rather to stinginess, hypocrisy, or untrutht ulness, than to cowardice. We have in New 
Orleans an ancient Creole ballad of which the retrain is: 

Alcee Leblanc 

Mo di toi, chere, 

To trap capon 

Pou paye menage! 

C est qui di cu, 

Ca que di toi chere, 

Alcee Leblanc! 

In this case the word evidently refers to the niggardliness of Alcee, who did not relish the 
idea of settling $500 or pernaps $1,000 of furniture upon his favorite quadroon girl. The song 
itself commemorates customs of slavery days. Those who took to themselves colored mis 
tresses frequently settled much property upon them the arrangement being usually made 
by the mother of the girl. Housekeeping 1 outfits of this character, constituting a sort of 
dowry, ranged in value from $500 to even $2.500 ; and such dowries formed the f < >undation of 
many celebrated private lodging houses in New Orleans kept by colored women. The qua 
droon housekeepers have now almost all disappeared. 

3 This is certainly of Engiisn origin. 



14 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

73. Qatte qui fine bourle av dife pere lacende. (Le chat qui s est brule" avec le feu, a peur de/ 

la cendre.) 
" When a cat has been once burned by fire, it is even afraid of cinders." [Mauritius. 1\. 

74. Causer c< manger zoreies. (Causer, c est le manner des oreilles.) 

" Conversation is the food of the ears." [Trinidad.] 

75. C est bon kh6 crabe qui lacause li pas tini tete. (C est a cause de son bon cceur que le 

crabe n a pas de t6te.) 
"It is because of his good heart that the crab has no head." 1 [Martinique.] 

76. *C est couteau qui connaite c.a qui dans coeur geomon. (C est le couteau qui sait ce qu il 

y a dans le coaur du giromon.) 
"It s the knife that knows what s in the heart of the pumpkin.".2 [Martinique. ] 

" 77. C est cuiller qui alle lacails gamelle ; gamelle pas jamain alle lacail cuiller. (C est la cuille 
qui va a la maison de la gamelle ; jamais la gamelle ne va a la maison de la cuiller.) 
"Spoon goes to bowl s house ; bowl never goes to spoon s house." [Hayti.] 

78. C est douvant tambou nion connaitt Zamba. (C est devant le tambour qu on reconnait 

Zamba.) 
" It s before the drum one learns to know Zamba." [Hayti.] 

79. C est langue crapaud^ qui ka trahi crapaud. (C est la langue du crapaud qui le trahit.) 

"It s the frog s own tongue that betrays him." {Trinidad. ] 

80. C est Ihe vent ka vent<, moun ka ouer lapeau poule. (C est quand le vent vente qu on 

peut voir la peau de la poule lit.: que le monde peut voir.) 

" It s when the wind is blowing that folks can see the skin of a fowl." True character 
is revealed under adverse circumstances. [Trinidad.] 

81. C est nans temps laplle bef bisoen lakhe li. (C est dans le temps de pluie que le bceuf a 

besoin de sa queue.) 

" It s in the rainy season that the ox needs his tail. (See Martinique proverb No. 20.) 
[Trinidad.] 

8:2. C est pas toutt les-jou guiabe n empote you pauve nhomme. (Ce n est pas tous les jours 
qui le diable emporte un homme pauvre.) 
" It isn t every day that the devil carries off a poor man." [Martinique.] 

83. C6 souliers tout-sel qui save si bas tini tous. (Ce sont les souliers seuls qui savent si les 
bas ont des trous.) 
" It s only the shoes that know if the stockings have holes." [Trinidad.] 

1 Implies that excessive good nature is usually indicative of feeble reasoning-pow^r. 

2 This proverb exists in five Creole dialects. In the Guyana patois it is slightly diu erent : 
Couteau ounso connain quior iniam (le couteau seul connaitle cceur de 1 igname.) "It s only 
the knife knows what s in the heart of the yam." 

a Cole or Caille, as sometimes written, is a Creole word of Carib origin. In the cities of 
the Antilles case is generally substituted probably derived from the Spanish casa, " house." 

4 In some of the West Indies the French word crapaud. seems to have been adopted by 
the Creoles to signify either a toad or a frog, as it is much more easily pronounced by Creole 
lips than grenouille, which they make sound like "gwoonou iUe." But in Louisiana there is a 
word used for frog, a delightful and absolutely perfect onomatopoeia : ODAOUABON (wah- 
wahron). 

I think the prettiest collection of Creole onomatopoeia made by any folklorist is that in 
Baissac s Etude sur le Patois Creole Mauricien, pp. 92-95. The delightful little Creole nursery- 
narrative, in which the cries of all kinds of domestic animals are imitated by patois phrases, 
deserves special attention. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 15 

84. Chaque bete-a-fe claire pou nanme yo. (Chaque mouche-a-feu 6claire pour son ame. 

" Every fire-fly makes light for its own soul;" that is to say, "Every one for him 
self." [Martinique. ] 

85. Chatt pas hi, ratt ka bailU bal. (Absent le chat, les rats donnent un bal.) 

" When the cat s away the rats give a ball." [Martinique. ] 

86. * Chatte brile pair di feu. (Le chat brule a peur du feu.) 

" A burnt cat dreads the fire." [Louisiana.] 

87. Chien connaitt comment li fait pou manger zos. (Le chien sait comment il fait pour 

manger les os.) 
The dog knows how he manages to eat bones." [Hayti.] 

88. Chien jamain morde petite li j usque nen zos. (La chienne ne mord jamais see petits 

jusqu al os.) 
" The bitch never bites her pups to the bone." [IIayti.~\ 

89. * Chien jappw li pas morde. (Le chien qui jappe ne mord pas.) 

" The dog that yelps doesn t bite." [Louisiana.] 

90. Chien pas mange chien. (Les chiens ne mangent pas les chiens.) 

" Dogs do not eat dogs." [Louisiana.] 

91. Chien qui fe" caca dans chimin li blie, mais a qui tire pas blie. (Le chien qui fa.t caca sur 

le chemin, oublie; mais celui qui 1 en ote, n oublie pas.) 

" The dog that dungs in the road forgets all about it, but the person who has to 
remove it does not forget." [Martinique. ] 

92. Chien tini guiole fote a cai e maite li. (Le chien a la gueule forte dans la maison de son 

maitre.) 

" The dog is loud-mouthed in the house of his master." [Martinique.] 

93. Chien tini quate patte, mais li pas capabe prend quate chimin. (Le chien a quatrepattes 

nifc is il ne peut pas [n est pas capable de] prendre quatre chemins.) 
"The dog has four paws but is not able to go four different ways [at one time]." 

[Martinique.] 

94. Chouval rete nen zecurie, milett nen savane. (Le cheval reste dans 1 ecurie, le mulct. 

dans la savane.) 
" The horse remains in the stable, the mule in the field."2 [Martinique.] 

95. *Cila qui rit vendredi va pleure dimanche. (Celui qui rit le vendredi va pleurer le 

dimanche.) 

" He who laughs on Friday will cry on Sunday." There is an English proverb, " Sing 
at your breakfast and you ll cry at your dinner." [Louisiana.] 

96. Ciramons pas dorme calabasse. (Le giraumon ne donne pas la calebasse.) 

"The pumpkin doesn t yield the calabash." Hayti. 

1 Ba dl (to give) affords example of a quaint French verb preserved in the Creole dialect, 
battler. It can be found in MOLIERE. Formerly a Frenchman would have said, " BaHler sa 
foi, bailter sa parole. It is now little used in France, except in such colloquialisms as , " Vous 
me la baillez belle ! " 

2 Each one must be content with his own station. Here the mule seems to represent the 
slave ; the horse, the muster or overseer. 

s I give the spelling Ciramon as I find it in Mr. Bigelow s contributions to Harper s Maga 
zine, 1875. (See BIBLIOGKAPHY.) Nevertheless I suspect the spelling is wrong. In Louisiana 
\Jreole we say Giromon. The French word is Giraumon. 



16 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

97. *Cochon connS sir qui bois l ap< frotte. (Le cochon salt bien pur quel arbre [bois] il va 

se f rotter.) 
" The hog knows well what sort of tree to rub himself against."i {Louisiana. } 

98. Coment to tale to natte faut to dourmi. (Comment tu e tends ta natte il faut que tu te 

couches.) 
" As you spread your mat, so must you lie." [Mauritius.} 

99. *Compe Torti va doucement ; mais li rive cot6 bite pendant Compe Chivreil ap dormi. 

(Compere Tortue va doucement ; mais il arrive au but pendant que Compere Chev- 
reuil dort. 
" Daddy Tortoise goes slow ; but he gets to the goal while Daddy Deer is asleep."2 

[Louisiana.] 

^/ 100. Complot plis fort passe ouanga. s (Le complot est plus fort que 1 ouanga.) 
2 " Conspiracy is stronger than witchcraft." [Hayti.] 

101. Conseillere napas payere. (Le donneur de conseil n est pas le payeur.) 

" The adviser is not the payer." That is to say, the one who gives advice has nothing 
to lose. [Mauritius.] 

102. Coq cante divant la porte, doumounde vini. (Quand le coq chante devant la porte 

quelqu un vient.) 
" When the cock crows before the door, somebody is coming."* [Mauritius. ] 

i In most of the Creole dialects several different versions of a popular proverb are current. 
A friend gives me this one of proverb 97 : Coc/ion-marron cpnne enhaiit qui bois li frotte. ("The 
wild hog knows whattree to rub himself upon.") Marron is applied in all forms of the Creole 
patois to wild things ; zhebes matrons signifies " wild plants." The term, couri-marron, ornegue- 
marron formerly designated a runaway slave in Louisiana as it did in the Antilles. There is 
an old New Orleans saying : 

" Apres ye tire canon 



This referred to the old custom in New Orleans of firing a cannon at eight p. M. in winter, 
and nine p. M. in summer, as a warning to all slaves to retire. It was a species of modern 
curfew-signal. Any slave found abroad after those hours, without a pass, was liable to 
arrest and a whipping of twenty-five lashes. Marron, from which the English word 
"Maroon" is derived, has a Spanish origin. "It is," says Skeats, "a dipt form of the 
Spanish cimarron, wild, unruly : literally, " living in the mountain-tops." Cimarron, from 
Span. Cima, a mountain-summit. The original term for "Maroon" was negro-cimarron, as 
it still is in some parts of Cuba. 

2 Based upon the Creole fable of Compere Tvrtue and Compel Chevreuil, rather different 
from the primitive story of the Hare and the Tortoise. 

s Di moin si to gagnin nhomme I 

Mo va fe ouanga pou li ; 
Mo f^ li tourne f antome 

Si to vie mo to mari 

" Tell me if thou hast a man [a lover] : I will make a ouanga for him I will change him 
into a a ghost if thou wilt have me for thy husband." This word, of African origin, is 
applied to all things connected with the voudooism of the negroes. In the song, Dipi mo 
vout, tone Adele. from which the above lines are taken, the wooer threatens to get rid of a 
rival \>y ouanga to "turn him into a ghost." The victims of voudooism are said to have 
gradually withered away, probably through the influence of secret poison. The word gri- 
gri, also of African origin, simply refers to a charm, which may be used for an innocent or 
innocuous purpose. Thus, in a Louisiana Creole song, we find a quadroon mother promis 
ing her daughter a charm to prevent the white lover from forsaking her ; Pou tchombe li na 
fe grigri" We shall make a grigri to keep him." 

4 This is also a proverb of European origin. The character of Creole folklore is very 
different from European folklore in the matter of superstition. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 17 

103. Cououi pas laide, temps lafoce pas Id. (Ce n est pas laid de courir, quand on n a pas de 

force.) 
" It isn t ugly to run, when one isn t strong enough to stay." [Trin.] 

104. Coup de lan?ue pis mauvais piqu sipenfc. (Un coup de langue est plus mauvais qu une 

piqure de serpent. 
" A tongue- thrust is worse than a serpent s sting." [Martinique.] 

105. Coudepied napas empece coudecorne. (Les coups de pied n empechent pas les coups 

de corne. 

" Kicking doesn t hinder butting." There is more than one way to revenge one 
self .[Mauritius. 1 

106. Coupe son nenez, volor so flguire. C~!ouper son nez, c est voler sa figure.) 

" Cutting off one s nose is robbing one s face." [Mauritius.] 

107. * Coupe zore milet fait pas choual. (Couper les oreilles au mulet, n en fait pas un cheval. 

" Cutting off a mule s ears won t make him a horse." 1 [Louisiana.] 

108. Couroupas danse, zaco rie. (Le couroupas [colimacon] danse le singe rit.) 

" Monkey laughs when the snail dances." 2 [Mauritius.] 
1C9. Qouval uapas marce av bourique. (Le cheval ne marche pas avec I &ne. 

"The horse doesn t walk with the ass." Let each keep his proper place. 
[Mauritius.] 

110. Couyenade c est pas limonade. (Couillonade n est pas limonade.) 

"Nonsense is not sugar-water" (lemonade), says Thomas. The vulgarity of the 
French word partly loses its grossness in the Creole. [Trinidad.] 

111. Crabe pas mache, li pas gras; li mache touop, et li tombe 1 nans chodier. (Le crabe ne 

marche pas, il n est pas gras ; il marche trop, et il tombe dans la chaudiere). 

"The crab doesn t walk, he isn t fat; he walks too much, and falls into the pot." 
[Trinidad.] 

112. * Crache nen laire, li va tombe enhaut vou nez. (Crachez dans 1 air, il vous en tombera 

sur le nez). 
" If you spit in the air, it will fall back on your own nose. "3 [Louisiana.] 

113. Crapaud pas tin! chimise, ous vie li ppte canecon. (Le crapaud n a pas de chemise, et 

vous voulez qu il porte calecon). 
" The frog has no shirt, and you want him to wear drawers I" [Trinidad.] 

114. Cresson content boire dileau. (Le cresson aime d boire 1 eau). 

" The water cress loves to drink water." Used interrogatively, this is equivalent to 
the old saw : " Does a duck like water ?" " Will a duck swim?" [Mauritiu-s.] 

115. Croquez maconte ou oueti* main ou ka rive. (Accrochez votre maconte ou. vous pouvez 

1 ^tteindre avec la main [lit. ou votre main peut arriver].) 
" Hang up your maconte where you can reach it with your hand." [Hayti.] 

1 This seems to me much wittier than our old proverb : " You can t make a silk purse 
out of a sow s ear." 

2 Probably had its origin in a Creole conte. Same applications as Proverbs 2 > 6, 263, 315. 

s Like our proverb about chickens coming home to roost. If you talk scandal at random, 
the mischief done will sooner or later recoil upon yourself. I find the same provero in the 
Mauritian dialect. 

4 The Martinique dialect gives both oti and outi for " ou " : " where." Mr. Birelow gives 
the curious spelling crogms. The word is oertaitily derived from the French, accrocher. In 
Louisiana Creole we always say croche for "hang up." I doubt the correctness of the 
Haytian spellijiy as here given : for the French word croquer ("t^ devour," "gobble up," 
" pilfer," etc.) has its Creole counterpart; and the soft ch is never, so far as I" can learn, 
changed into the k or g sound in the patois. 



18 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

f!16. D abord vous guett<5 poux de bois mange" bouteille, croquez calabasse vous haut. (Quand 
vous voyez les poux-de-bois manger les bouteilles, accrochez vos calabasses [en] haut). 
44 When you see the woodlice eating the bottles, hang your calabashes out of their 
reach." i[Hayti.1 

^ 117. D abord vous guette poux de bois mange" can iri, calebasse pas capabe prend pied. (Quand 
que vous voyez les poux-de-bois manger les marmites, les calebasses ne peuvent pas 
leur resister). 
44 When you see the wood-lice eating the pots, the calabashes can t be expected to 



118. Dans inariaze liciens, temoins gagne batte. (Aux noces des chiens, les te moins ont les 

coups.) 
44 At a dog s wedding it s the witnesses who get hurt." [Mauritius ,~[ 

119. Dei er chein, c& " chein "; douvant chein, ce 4l Missier Chein." (Derriere le chien, c est 

4 chien," mais devant le chien, c est " Monsieur le Chien.") 
44 Behind the dog s back it is dog ; but before the dog it is 4 Mr. Dog. " [ Trinidad. ] 

120. Dent morde" langue. (Les dents mordent la langue.) 

44 The teeth bite the tongue." [Hayti.] 

121. Dents pas ka pote dei. (Les dents ne portent pas le deuil.) 

"Teeth do not wear mourning." meaning that, even when unhappy, people may 
show their teeth in laughter or smiles. \_Trinidad.~] 

133. Dent pas kh6 ( 4 Dents pas coeur " Les dents ne sont pas le coeur). 

44 The teeth are not the heart." A curious proverb, reffrring to the exposure of the 
teeth by laughter."3 [Martinique.] 

123. * Di moin qui vous laimein, ma di vous qui vous y6. (Dites moi qui vous aimez, et je 

vous dirai qui vous etes.) 
44 Tell me whom you love, and I ll tell you who you are." [Louisiana. ] 

124. Dileau dourmi touy6 dimounde. (L eau qui dort tue les gens.) 

44 The water that sleeps kills people."* [Mauritius. } 

125. Dimounde qui fere larzent, napas larzent qui fere dimounde. (Ce sont les homines qui 

font 1 argent, ce n est pas 1 argent qui fait les bommes.) 

" It s the men who make the money ; tisn t the money that makes the men." 
[Mauritius. ] 

126. Divant camrades capabe largue quilotte. (Devant des camarades on peut lacher sa 

culotte.) 
Before friends one can even take off one s breeches." [Mauritius. ] 

1 Mr. Bigelow is certainly wrong in his definition of the origin of the word which he 
spells quete. it is a Creole adoption of the French guetter* 44 to watch :" and is used by the 
Creoles in the sense of " observe," perceive," " see." Other authorities spell it guette, as all 
verbs ending in "ter" in French make their Creole termination in "te." This verb is one 
of many to which slightly different meanings from those belonging to the original French 
words, are attached by the Creoles. Thus fappe, from echapper^ is used as an equivalent for 
sauver. 

2 The saliva of the tropical woodlouse is said to be powerful enough to affect iron. 

3 The laugh or smile that shows the teeth does not always prove that the heart is merry. 

4 44 Still waters run deep." The proverb is susceptible of various applications. Every 
one who has sojourned in tropical, or even semi-tropical latitudes knows the deadly nature 
of stagnant water in the feverish summer season. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 19 

127. Divant tranz6s faut boutonn6 cannecon. (Devant des etrangers il faut boutonner son 

calecon.) 
" Before strangers one must keep one s drawers buttoned. [Mauritius. ~\ 

128. Eizef s canard pli gros qui dizefs poule. (Lcs oeufs de cane sont plus gros que lea oeufs do 

poule. 

" Ducks eggs are bigger than hens eggs." Quantity is no guarantee of quality. 
[Mauritius.] 

129. Dizefs coq, poule qui fere. (Les oeufs de coq, c est la poule qui les fait.) 

"It s the hen that makes the cock s eggs." \Mauritius.] 

130. * Dolo toujou couri lariviere. (L eau va toujours a la riviere.) 

" Water always runs to the river." [Louisiana. } 

131. Doucement napas empece arrived. (Aller doucement n empeche pas d arriver. 

" Going gently about a thing won t prevent its being done."i [Mauritius. ] 

132. Fair pou fair pas mal. (Faire pour f aire n est pas [mauvais] difficile.) 

"It is not hard to do a thing for the sake of doing it." [Trinidad.] 

133. Faut janmain mett racounna dans loge poule. (II ne faut jamais mettre un raton dans 

la loge des poules. 
" One must never put a coon into a henhouse." [Martinique.] 

134. Faut jamais porte deil avant d^flnt dars cerkeil. (II ne faut jamais porter le deuil 

avant que le defunt soit dans le cercueil.) 

"Never wear mourning before the dead man s in his coffin." [Louisiana.] 

135. Faut paouoles mor poulnoune pe vivre. (II faut que les paroles meurent, afin que le 

monde puisse vivre.) 

" Words must die that people may live." Ironical ; this is said to those who are over 
sensitive regarding what is said about them." [ Trinidad.] 

136. Faut pas casse so male avant li fine mir. (II ne faut pas casser son mal3 avant qu il soit 

mur.) 
" Musn t pluck one s corn before it s ripe." [Mauritius.] 

137. * Faut pas marre tayau* avec saucisse. (II ne faut pas attacher le chien-courant 

(tal ant) avec des saucisses.) 
" Musn t tie up the hound with a string of sausages." [Louisiana.] 

138. Fere ene tourou pour bouce laute. (II fait un trou pour en boucher un autre.) 

" Make one hole to stop another." " Borrow money to pay a debt." [Mauritius.] 

139. Gambette ous trouve gan chernin, nen gan chemin ous va pede li. (Le gambette que vous 

trouvez sur le grand chemin, sur le grand chemin vous le perdrez. 
"Every jack-knife found on the high-road, will be lost on the high-road. "^[Hayti.] 

1 Literally : " Gently doesn t prevent arriving." One can reach his destination as well 
by walking slowly, as by making frantic haste. 

2 A Creole friend assures me that in Louisiana patois, the word for coon, is chaoui. 
This bears so singular a resemblance in sound to a French word of very different mean 
ing chat-huant (screech-owl) that it seems possible the negroes have in this, as in other 
cases, given the name of one creature to another. 

Don t anticipate trouble: "Never bid the devil good morrow till you meet him. 



Bigelow. The ordinary French signification of gambette is "red-shank 



20 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

140. Gens bon-temps kdlle" die gouvene"r bon-jou. (Les gens [qui ont du] bon-temps vont 

dire bon-jour au gouverneur.) 

" Folks who have nothing to do (lit. : who have a fine time) go to bid the Governor 
good-day." Gens bon-temps ; " fine-time folks." [Trinid ad. } 

141. * Gens f Sgnants ka mande travai 6 pis bouche ; main khers yeaux ka pouier Bondi6 pou 

yeaux pas touver. (Les gens faineants demandent avec leurs bouches pour du travail . 
mais leurs coeurs prient le Bon Dieu [pour] qu ils n en trouvent point.) 

" Lazy folks ask for work with their lips : but their hearts pray God that they may 
not find it." [Trinidad.] 

143. Gens qui ka ba ous consei gagnen chouval gouous-boudin nans Ihouvenal e, nans caremo 
pas ka rider ous nouri li. (Les gens qui nous donnent oonseil d acheter un cheval a 
gros-ventre pendant 1 hivernage, ne veulent point vous aider a le nourrir pendant 
le care" me.) 

"Folks who advise "you to buy a big-bellied horse in a rainy season (when grass is 
plenty),won t help you to feed him in the dry season when grass is scarce."i [Trinidad. ] 

143. Gouie passe" difil sivre". (Ou 1 aiguille passe, le fil suivra.) 

" Where the needle passes thread will follow." [Mauritius.] 

144. Graisse pas tini sentiment. (La graisse n a pas de sentiment.) 

" Fathasno feeling."3 [Trinidad.] 

145. Haillons mie passe tout nu. (Les haillons sont mieux que de rester tout nu.) 

" Rags are better than nakedness." Half-a-loaf s better than no bread." [Hayti.] 

146. Ha i moune ; main pas bateaux paiien pou chafer dleau. (Hais les gens ; mais no lour 

donne pas des paniers pour charrier de 1 eau.) 

"Hate people; but don t give them baskets to carry water in." that is to say: 
Don t tell lies about them that no one can believe stories that "won t hold water." 
[Trinidad.] 

147. *Jadin loin, gombo gate. (Jardin loin, gombo gate 1 .) 

" When the garden is far, the gombo is spoiled."* [Martinique] 

148. *Jamais di : Fontaine, mo va jamais boi to dolo. (Ne dis jamais Fontaine, je ne 

boirai jamais de ton eau.) 

"Never say Spring, I will never drink your water. "$ [Louisiana.] 

149. Janmain guiabe ka domi. (Jamais le diable ne s endort.) 

"The devil never sleeps. [Martinique] 

iThis is J. J. Thomas translation, as given in his "Theory and Practice of Creole Gram 
mar." LhauvsM&e is a word which does not exist in our Louisiana patois. Does it come from 
theSpaniaii Hover" to rain "? or is it only a Creole form of the French hivernage? Careme, of 
course means Lent ; whether the dry season in Trinidad is concomitant with the Letiten epoch, 
or whether the Creoles of the Island use the word to signify any season of scarcity, I am 
unable to decide. 

2 When a strong man has opened the way, feebler folks may safely follow. 

sThere may be some physiological truth in this proverb as applied to the inhabitants of 
the Antilles, where stoutness is the exception. Generally speaking phlegmatic persons are 
inclined to fleshiness. 

4 This appears to be a universal Creole proverb. If you want anything to be well 
done, you must look after it yourself : to absent oneself from one s business is unwise, 

s The loftiest pride is liable to fall ; and we know not how soon we may be glad to seek 
the aid of the most humble. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 21 

150. Janmain nous ne pas doue ladans quiou poule compt6 ze. (II ne faut jamais [nous 

ne devcns jamais] compter les oaufs dans la derriere de la poule.) 

We should never count the eggs in the body of the hen." (The . >ceole proverb is, 
however, less delicate.) [Martinique.] 

151. Joue epis chatt ou trappe coup d patte. (Jouez avec le chat, et vous attrapperez un 

coup de patte.) 
"Play with the cat, and you ll get scratched." -[Martinique.] 

152. *Joue 6 pis chien ou trappe 1 pice. (Jouez avec les chiens, vous aurez des puces.) 

" Play with the dogs, and you will get fleas." 1 [Martinique. ] 

153. *Joudui pou ous, demain pou moin. (Aujourd hui pour vous, demain pour moi.) 

" To-day for you ; to-morrow for me." 1 \_Hayti.] 

154. La oti zoueseau ka fe niche yo, c est la yo ka couche". (Oft les oiseaux font leur nids, 

Id ils se couchent.) 
" Where the birds build their nests, there they sleep." [Martinique. ] 

155. Laboue moque lamare. (La boue se moque de la mare.) 

" The mud laughs at the puddle." Like our : " Pot calls kettle black." [Mauritius. ] 

158. Lacase bardeaux napas guette la case vitivere. (La maison Lcouverte de] bardeaux ne 
regarde point la case couverte de vetiver.) 

"Th^ house roofed with shingles doesn t look at the hut covered with vetiver." 
{Mauritius.] 

157. * Lagniappe c est bitin qui bon. (Lagniappe c est du bon butin.) 

" Lagniappe is lawful booty."s [Louisiana.] 

158. Laguer veti pas ka pouend viex negues nans cabarets. (La guerre avertie ne prend 

pas de vieux negres dans les cabarets.) 
* Threatened war doesn t surprise old negroes in the grog-shops."* [Trinidad.] 

159. * Laguerre vertie pas tchue beaucoup soldats. (La guerre avertie ne tue pas beaucoup 

de soldats.) 
"Threatened war doesn t kill many soldiers." [Louisiana] 

160. Lakhebef dit: Temps alle, temps vini. (La queue du bceuf dit: Le temps s en va, le 

temps revient.) 
44 The ox s tail says : Time goes, time comes. "$ [Martinique] 

161. Lalangue napas lezos. (La langue n a pas d os). 

" The tongue has no bones." This proverb has various applications. One of the best 
alludes to promises or engagements made with the secret determination not to keep 
them. [Mauritius.] 

1 This seems to be a universal proverb. In Louisiana we say : Jouc evec Vic/iien, etc. 

2 Current also in Louisiana : Jordi pou vou, etc.: " Your turn to-day; perhaps it may be 
mine to-morrow." 

s Lagniappe, a word familiar to every child in New Orleans, signifies the little present 

given to purchasers of groceries, provisions, fruit, or other goods sold at retail stores. 

Groceries, especially, seek to rival each other in the attractive qualities of their lagniappe; 

consisting of candies, fruits, biscuits, little fancy cakes, etc. The chief purpose is to attract 

children. The little one sent for a pound of butter, or "a dime s worth" of sugar, never 

fails to ask for its lagniappe 

* Proverbs 158-9 are equivalent to our " Forewarned is forearmed." 

s See Proverb 22. Whether the swing of the tail suggested the idea of a pendulum to the 

deviser of this saying is doubtful. The meaning seems to me that the motion of the ox s tail 

indicates a change not of time, but of weather (temps). 



22 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

162. * Lamisere a deux, Misere et Compagnie. (La misere a deux, c est Misere et Compagnie.) 

"Misery for two, is Misery & Co." 1 [Louisiana.] 

163. Lapauvete napas ene vis, mes li ene bien RTOS coulou. (La pauvretS n est pas une vis 

[un vice] ; mais c est un bien gros clou.) 

" Poverty isn t a screw; but it s a very big nail." The pun will be obvious to a French 
reader; but vice is not a true Creole word, according to Baissac." [Mauritius.] 

164. Lapin dit: Boue toutt, mange toutt, pas dit toutt. (Le lapin dit: Buvez tout, mangez 

tout, ne dites pas tout.) 

" Rabbit says : Drink everything, eat everything, but don t tell everything." 2 [Mar 
tinique.] 

165. Laplie tombe 1 , couroupas va sourti. (La pluie tombe, les colimaons vent sortir.) 

" It is raining ; snails will be out presently." [Mauritius.] 

166. * Laplie tombe\ ouaouaron chanted (Quand la pluie va tomber, les grenouilles 

chantent.) 
" When the rain is coming, the bull-frogs sing." [Louisiana.] 

167. Laquee bourique napas laquee couval. ( fine queue d ane n est pas une queue de cheval.) 

A donkey s tail is not a horse s tail." Can t make a silk purse out of a sow s ear. 
[Mauritiut.] 

168. Larzan bon, mes li trop cere. (L argent est bon, mais il est trop cher.) 

" Money s good ; but it s too dear." [Mauritius.] 

169. Larzan napas trouve dans lipied milet. (L argent ne se trouve pas dans le pied d un 

mulct.) 
" Money isn t to be found in a mule s hoof." [Mauritius.] 

170. Larzan napas ena famille. (L argent n a pas de famille.) 

" Money has no blood relations." There is no friendship in business. [Mauritius.] 

171. * La-tche chatte pousse avec temps. (La queue du chat pousse avec le temps.) 

" The cat s tail takes time to grow." [Louisiana.] 

173. Lepe dit aime ous pendant li rouge doighte ous. (La lepre dit qu elle vous aime pendant 
qu elle vous ronge les doigts.) 
" The leprosy says it loves you, while it is eating your fingers." [Hayti.] 

173. L here coq gante, li bon pour marie. (Quand le coq chante, il est bon a marier.) 

" When the cock begins to crow, he is old enough to get married." [Mauritius.] 

174. Lhere lamontagne bourle, tout dimounde cone ; Ihere lequere bourle, qui cone ? (Quand 

la montagne brule, tout le monde le sait; quand le coeur brule qui le sait?) 

" When the mountain burns, everybody knows it ; when the heart burns, who knows 
it?" [Mauritius.] 

175. Li alle 1 ecole cabritt, li ritoune mouton. (II est alle a 1 ecole [comme un] cabri ; il est 

revenu mouton.) 
" He went to school a kid, and came back a sheep."3 [Martinique.] 

1 Refers especially to a man who marries without havinjr made proper provision for the 
future. The Creole does not believe in our reckless proverb: "What will keep one, will 
keep two." Non, non, cher, lamisered deux, Misere & Cie.f 

2 Pounded upon a celebrated Creole table : see Prov. 40 (note). 

a The allusion to the overgrown and shy schoolboy, who has lost the mischievous play 
fulness of his childhood, is easily recognizable. Creole planters of the Antilles generally 
sent their sous to Europe to be educated. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 23 

176. Li fine vende so cocon. (II a vendu son cochon.) 

"He has sold his pig."i [Mauritius.] 

177. Li lacasse zozos pariaca. (II chasse aux oiseaux d paliaca.) 

" He s hunting paliaca-birds."2 [Mauritius.} 

178. Li manque lagale pour gratte. (II [ue] manque [que] de gale pour se gratter. [Lit. In 

good French : II ne lui manque que la gale, etc.]) 

" He only wants the itch so that he may scratch himself." Said of a man who has all 
that his heart can wish for.s [Mauritius.} 

179. Li pour mari<S ; mes quiquefois bague mariaze glisse dans ledoight. (II doit se marier; 

mais quelquefois la bague de mariage glisse du doigt.) 

" He is to be married, they say ; but sometimes the marriage-ring slips from one s 
finger."-* [Mauritius. } 

180. Li soule bontemps. (II se soule de bon temps.) 

" He is drunk with doing nothing." [Mauritius.} 

181. Liane yame ka marre yame. (La liane du yam lie [lit. amarre] le yam.) 

" The yam- vine ties the yam.s [Trinidad.} 

182. Lilit pour de napas lilet pour trois. (Un lit pour deux n est pas un lit pour trois.) 

" A bed for two isn t a bed for three. [Mauritius.} 

183. Lizie napas ena balizaze. (Les yeux n ont pas de f rontiere.)6 

" Eyes have no boundary." Equivalent to the English saying : " A cat may look at a 
king."- [Mauritius.} 

184. Macaque caresser iche li touop, li fourrer doegt nans ziex li. (Le macaque, en caressant 

trop son petit, lui a f ourre le doigt dans 1 oeil.) 

" By petting her young one too much, the monkey ends by poking her finger into 
its eye." [Trinidad.} 

185. * Macaque dan calebasse. (Le macaque dans la calebasse.) 

"Monkey in the calabash. "- [Louisiana.} 

186 * Macaque dit si so croupion plim6 fas pas gade lezautt. (Le macaque dit que si son 
croupion est plum6, ga ne regarde pas les autres.) 
" Monkey says if his rump is bare, it s nobody s business.* [Louisiana.} 

1 Said of one who unexpectedly disburses a considerable sum, or who spends more money 
than his visible resources admit of. 

2 Paliaca is the Mauritian term for the brightly-colored kerchief there worn by all young 
negressesiu lieu of hats or bonnets, like the old time Louisiana tiyon. " He is hunting for 
paliaea-birds " therefore means, " He is running after the colored girls." 

3 We have a singular expression in Louisiana: "Li mette mantec dans sofaillots. (He puts 
lard in his beans.") That is to say, "He is well off." Mantec is a Creolised form of the 
Spanish manteca, used in Spanish- America to signify lard. 

4 " There s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip." 

e In Martinique Creole the proverb is: Code gnome marre gname. "Code" (corde) 
signifying the same as liane. the long cord-like stalk of the creeper. Folks are sometimes 
caught fast in the snares they sat for others, just as the yam is tied with its own stalk. 

e The Mauritian Creoles have adopted a raarinn word in lieu of the French term frontiers. 
"Balizaze" is the Creole form of the French balisaye, from balise, a sea mark, buoy word 
adopted in our own nautical technology. The term completely changes its meaning as well 

Allusion to the old fable about the monkey, who after putting hia hand easily into 
the orifice of a gourd, could not withdraw it without letting go what he sought to steal 
from within, and so got caught-. In the figurative Creole speech one who allows his passions 
to ruin or disgrace him. is a macaque dans calebasse. 

s Allusion to the callosities ot the monkey. Plim< literally means "plucked ; but the 
Creole negroes use it to signify "bare" from any cause. A negro in rags might use the 
above proverb as a hint to those who wish to joke him about his personal appearance. 



24 LITTLE BIC10NARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

187. * Macaque pas jamain ka die iche li laide. (Le macaque ne dit jamais que son petit est 

laid.) 
"Monkey never says its young is ugly."i [Trinidad.] 

188. Macaque save qui bois li monte ; li pas monte zaurangS. (Le macaque sait sur quel 

arbre il doit monter; il ne monte pas sur 1 orantfer.) 

"The monkey well knows what tree to climb; he doesn t climb an orange tree."2 
[Martinique.] 

189. Magre sepent ni ti zie li ka voue cle bien. (Bien que le serpent ait de petits yeux, il 

voit tres-clair.) 
"Though the serpent has little eyes, he sees very well." [Martinique.] 

190. Maite cabrite mande li ; ous pas capabe di li plainda. (Le maitre du cabrit le demande, 

vous ne pouvez pas vous en plaindre.) 
"The kid s owner asks for it ; you can t blame him."3 [Hayti.] 

191. Maladie vine lahaut ieVe ; li alle lahaut tourtie. (La maladie vient sur le lievre ; elle 

part [s en va] sur la tortue.) 

" Sickness comes riding upon a hare ; but goes away riding upon a tortoise." 
[Mauritius.] 

192. Mai he pas ka chager con laplie. (Lit : Le malheur ne se charge pas comme la pluie.) 

"Misfortune doesn t threaten likerain."* [Trimdad.] 

193. Mamans ka fair iches, main pas khers yeaux. (Les meres font les enfants, mais non pas 

leurs coeurs.) 
"Mothers make children ; but not children s hearts." [Trinidad.] 

194. Manger yon fois pas ka riser dents. (Manger une f ois n use pas les dents.) 

"Eating once doesn t wear out the teeth." [Trinidad.] 

195. Mari napas trouve dans vetive re. (Tin mari ne se trouve pas dans le vetiver.) 

"You won t find a husband in the vetiver."^ [Mauritius.] 

196. Mariaze napas pariaze ; menaze napas badinaze. (Le mariage n est pas un pari ; le 

raenage n est pas un badinage.) 
" Marriage is no trifling wager, and housekeeping is no sport." [Mauritius.] 

197. Marie ene bouteye vide. (Epouser une bouteille vide.) 

" Marry an empty bottle." Meaning to marry a girl without a dowry. [Mauritius.] 

198. * Maringouin perdi so temps quand li pique caiman. (Le maringoin perd son temps 

quand il pique le caiman.) 
"The mosquito loses his time when he tries testing the alligator."e [Louisiana.] 

i . 

1 A widely-spread proverb. In Louisiana we say piti li or so piti, instead of "yche" or 
"iche li." In Martinique Creole: Macaque pas janmain trouve yche li laide. 

2 Because the orange tree is thorn \ . 

s Mr. Bigelow, in Harper s Magazine, explains the use of this proverb by a creditor to a 
debtor. 

4 Le temps se charge, in French signifies that it is clouding up, threatening rain lit: 
4k loading up." Misfortune does not th eaten before it falls. 

s Tbe delightfully fragrant grass, well-known to pharmaceutists as the Andropogon muri- 
catus or Vetiveria odorata is used in Mauritius to thatch cabins with. A broad border of 
this grass is usually planted around each square of suerar-cane. It grows tall enough to 
conceal a man, or a couple of lovers holding a rendezvous. Hence the wholesome 
warning. 

e Ripost to a threat as we would say : " All that has as little effect on me as water on 
a duck s back! " 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 25 

199. Marre" conm yon paqud crabe. (Amarre" commo un paquet do crabes.) 

" Tang-led up, or tied up, like a bundle of crabs." Said of people notoriously clumsy .1 

[Martinique.] 

200. Megue coment atte qui manze le rats-misque . (Maigre comme un chat qui mange des 

rats musque a.) 
" Thin as a cat that lives on musk-rats." [Mauritius. ~\ 

201. Meme baton qui batte chein nouer-la,, pe" batte chein blanc-hl. (Le m^me baton qui bat 

le chien noir peut battre le chien blanc.) 
" The same stick that beats the black dog can beat the white."2 [Trinidad. ] 

202. Menti ca pas si mal conm pale" mal moun. (Le mensonge n est pas si mauvais que de 

parler mal des autres.) 

" Lying isn t as bad as speaking badly about people." Lying is less wicked than 
calumny. [Martinique. ] 

203. * Merci pas coute arien. (" Merci " ne coute rien.) 

" Thanks cost nothing." [Louisiana.] 

204. * Mette* milate enhaut choual, li va dl ne gresse pas so maman. (Mettez un mulatre [en 

haut] sur un cheval il [va dire] dira qu une ne gresse n est pas sa maman.) 
" Just put a mulatto on horseback, and he ll tell you his mother was nt a negress." 

[Louisiana.] 

205. Mie vaut mange 1 lamori ou, qu codeinne leszautt. (II vaut mieux de manger [de] la 

morue [qui est] a vous que le coq-d Inde aux autres.) 
" Better to eat one s own codfish than another person s turkey-cock." [Martinique. ] 

206. Milatt ka batt, cabritt ka mo. (Les mulatres se battent, ce sont les cabrits qui 

meurent.) 
" When the mulattoes get to fighting, the goats get killed."-* [Martinique.] 

207. Mise f e macaque mange piment. (La misere force le macaque a manger du piment.) 

"Misery makes the monkey eat red pepper." [Martinique.] 

208. * " Mo bien comm mo y6," parole rare. ( tk Je me trouve bien comme je suis" ces sont 

des paroles rares.) 
" I m well enough as I am, are words one doesn t often hear." [Louisiana.] 

209. * Mo va pas prete vous baton pou cass6 mo latete. (Je ne vais vous pre ter un baton pour 

me casser la tete.) 
" I m not going to lend you a stick to break my head with." [Louisiana.] 

1 Anyone who has ever seen aheap of live crabs in a basket, will comprehend the fun of 
this saying intimating that the sinews of the gawkish person are tangled up as hopelessly 
as crabs in a market-basket. 

2 As one should observe : " I ve whipped better men than you." 

3 I usually give but one example of a proverb when it occurs in several dialects ; but the 
Martinique form of this proverb is too amusinar to omit. See Prov. 267. 

4 The feeling of the black to the mulatto is likewise revealed in the following dicton: 
Ne<*ue pote ma is dans so lapoche pou vole poule ; milatt pote" cordon dans so lapoche 

pou vole choual ; nhomrne blanc p6t< larzan dans so lapoche pou trompe" fille. (Le negre 
porte du mai s dans sa poche pour voler des poules; le mulatre porte un cordon dans sa 
poche pour voler des chevaux ; 1 homme blanc porte de 1 argent dans sa poche pour trom- 

PCr "?he i negro carries corn in his pocket to [help him to] steal chickens ; the mulatto carries 
a rope in his pocket to steal horses ; the white man carries money in his pocket to deceive 
girls." [Louisiana.] 



I 26 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

210. Mom ainmein plis yon balaou jodi la qu taza dimain. (J aime mieux un balaou 

aujourd hui qu un tazard demain.) 
"I d rather have horn-fish to-day, than mackerel to-morrow. "1 [Martinique.] 

211. Moin pas ka prend dithe pou neve li. (Je ne veux pas prendre du th6 pour sa fievre.) 

" I don t propose to drink tea for his fever."2 [Martinique.] 

212. Montagnes zames zoinde, domounde zoinde. (Les montagnes ne se rencontrent jamais v , 

les hommes se rencontrent.) 

" Mountains, only, never meet ; men meet." We are certain to encounter friends 
and enemies under the most unlikely circumstances." [Mauritius.] 

213. Mounn oue defaut les-zautt, yo pas ni zie pou ta yo. (Les gens voient les defauts des 

autres, ils n ont pas d yeux pour les leurs.) 
" Folks see the faults of others ; they have no eyes for their own "3 [Martinique.] 

214. Moustique pitit ; mes Ihere li gante vous zoreye plein. (Le moustique est petit ; mais 

quand il chante, votre oreille en est pleine. 
"The mosquito is little ; but when he sings, your ears are full of him." [Mauritius.] 

215. Napas ena f romaze qui napas trouve so macathia. (II n y a pas de fromage qui ne trouve 

son pain bis.) 
"There s no cheese but what can find brown bread."* [Mauritius.] 

216. Napas remie fimie sec. (Ne remuez pas le fumier sec.) 

44 Don t stir up dry manure." Said to those who desire to resurrect forgotten 
scandal. [Mauritius.] 

217. Napas vous sangsiequia monte 1 lahautmoi. (Ce n est pas votre sangsue qui montera 

sur moi.) 

" Your leech isn t going to climb on me." That is : you shan t take advantage of me. 
[Mauritiut.] 

218. Napas vous laliane darzent qui a monte lahaut mo tonelle. (Ce n est pas votre liane 

d argent qui montera sur ma tonnelle.) 
"It isn t your silver creeper that is going to climb over my summer house."5 

[Mauritius.] 

1 "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." The translation is not literal. The 
tazard or thazard, although belonging to the scomber family, is not a true mackerel. Balaou 
is one Creole name for VaiguUlette de mer, hornflsh [?]. 

2 Or better still: I don t intend to drink tea just because he has. the fever." In other 
words, " I don t intend to bother myself with other people s troubles." The tea referred 
to is one of those old Creole preparations taken during fevers the tisanes of the black 
nurses : perhaps the cooling sassafras, or orange-leaf tea administered to sufferers from 
dengue in New Orleans. 

s This proverb, not being of true Creole origin, receives a place here as an illustration of 
effective patois. In Louisiana we never say ta yo, but so quenne Were all proverbs used 
by the Creole-speaking people included in this collection, it would be considerably longer. 
Nearly all familiar English proverbs have received Creole adoption, with slight modifi 
cations; for example, instead of " putting the cart before the horse," the Mauritian negro 
mette farette divant milet, puts the cart before the mule an animal with which he is more 
familiar. 

- 1 That is to say, whoever has a bit of cheese can always find a bit of brown bread to eat 
with it. There never was a girl so ugly that she could not find a husband. 

5 Said by young girls to those whose advances are disagreeable. Kfie lanmou pas ka saute 
(" heart-of -love does not yet leap ") would be the more polite response of a Martinique girl. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 27 

219. *Napas zou6 av dif6 ; wou aboule vous cimise. (Ne jouez pas avec le feujvousvous 

brulerez la chemise.) 

" Play with the fire and you ll burn your shirt." This proverb appears to be current 
wherever any form of the patois prevails." [Mauritius,] 

220. Nion doightpas jamain mange calalou. (Avec un seul doigt on ne peut jamais manger 

du calalou.) 



" You can t eat calalou with one flnger."i [HaytL] V* 



221. Nhommemort, zhebes ka lever douvantlapoteli. ([Quand] unhomme Lest] morte, 1 herbe 

pousse [lit. : s leve] devaiit sa porte.) 
" When a man is dead, the grass grows tall before his door." [Trinidad.] 

222. Nououi chouval pou bailie zoffici6 mont6. (Nourir des chevaux pour les donner d monter 

aux officiers.) 
" Feed horses for officers to ride." To be the victim of one s own foolish liberality." 

[Martinique.] 

223. * Oimso soulie save" si bas tini trou. (Le soulier seul sait si le baa a un trou.) 

"The shoe only knows whether the stockings have holes."? [Guyane.] 

224. Oti tini zos tini chien. (Ou il y a des os il y a des chiens.) 

4i Wherever there are bones, there are dogs." Meaning that when one is rich, one has 
plenty of friends. "[Martinique.] 

225. Ou f ache avec gan chemin, que cote ou va passe ? (Vous vous f achez avec le grand 

chemin, de quel cot6 irez-vouz?) 
" If you get angry with the high road, what way will you go ?" [Hayti.] )( 

226. Ou fait semblant mourir, moin fait semblant enterrer ou. (Faites semblant de mourir, 

et moi je f erai semblant de vous enterrer.) 
" You pretend to die ; and I ll pretend to bury you." * [Hayti.] ./ 

227. Ou saute, ou tomb6 la menme. (Vous sautez, vouz tombez tout de meme.) 

" You jump, but you come down all the same." 4 [Martinique.] 

228. *Ou y en a charogne, y en a carencro. (Ou il a charogne, il y a des busards.) 

" Wherever there s carrion, there are buzzards." 5 [Louisiana.] 

229. Ous poncor travesser laivi er ; pas jirez raaman caiman. (Vous n avez pas encore tra- 

vers6 la riviere ne jurez [maudissez] pas la maman du caiman.) 

"You haven t crossed the river yet; don t curse at the crocodile s mother." 6 
[Trinidad.] 

1 The West Indian calalou is made almost precisely like our aombo-soup. The word is of 
African origin according to Turiault. 

2 In the Martinique dialect it is : (Test sou?ie qui save si bas tini trou. In the Trinidad patois : 
Ce soulier tout-set qui save si bas tini trou (Thomas). In Louisiana Creole : Cist soulier nek 
connin si bas gagnin trou. " Nek," compound from French ne . . . que " only." 

s Said to those who relate improbable stories of woe." 

* Just so high as you jump, so great the fall. The higher our ambition, the greater the 
peril of failure. 

5 This is one of several Instances of the Creole adoption of English words. The name 
* carrion-crow " has been applied to the buzzard in Louisiana from an early period of its 
American history. 

e " Don t halloo till you re out of the wood I " 



28 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

230. Padon pas ka gue"ri bosse. (" Pardon " ne gu6rit pas la bosse.) 

"Asking pardon doesn t cure the bump." i [Martinique.] 

231. Paler pas rimede. (Parler n est pas un rem6de.) 

" Talking is no remedy." In Creole the word signifies medicine as well as remedy. 
[Trinidad.] 

232. Paler touop ka lever chein nans domi. (Trop parler [c est 90 qui] eveille le chien en 

dormi.) 
" Talking too much arouses the dog from sleep." 2 [Trinidad. } 

233. Paouoles pas tini couler. (Les paroles n ont pas de couleur.) 

" Words have no color." This is generally said to people who stare a speaker out 
of countenance. [Trinidad] 

234. Paouoles pas coute cher. (Les paroles ne content pai cher.) 

" Words are cheap." In Martinique the phrase ia Paouoles pas chdge: (" Words are no 
weight to carry.") [Trinidad] 

235. *Parole trop fort, machoir gonfle. (Par la parole trop forte, la machoir est gonfiee.) 

" By talking too loud the jaw becomes swelled." s [Louisiana.] 

236. Pas fote langue qui fair bef pas ?a paler. (Ce n est pas a f aute de langue que le boeuf ne 1 

sait pas parler.) 
"It isn t for want of tongue that the ox can t talk." [Trinidad.] 

237. Pas jou moin bien change 1 , moin ka rencontre n^nneine moins. (Ce n est pas le jour que 

je suis bien change que je vais rencontrer ma marraine.) 

" It isn t on the day I am greatly changed " [when I am most unfortunate] " that I 
am going to meet my godmother." [Martinique.] 

238. Pas menme jou ou mange te ou vini enfle. (Ce n est pas le mgrne jour que vous mangez 

que vous vous trouvez enfle"). 
It isn t the same day you eat that you find yourself puffed up." * [Martinique] 

239. Pauve moune bail dejeuner nans quior. (Les pauvres gens vous donnent a dejeuner 

dans leurs coeurs). 
" Poor folks give breakfast with their hearts." [Hayti] 

24:9. * Pis faibe toujou tini to. (Le plus f aible a tou jours tort). 
" The weakest is always in the wrong." [Martinique.] 

241. * Piti a piti, zozo fait son nid. (Petit a petit, 1 oiseau fait son nid.) 
" Little by little the bird builds its nest."- [Louisiana ] 

1 In the Creole of Guyana this proverb exists in a very curious form : Ago pa gum maleng, 
"the excuse doesn t cute the hurt." M. Alfred de Saint-Quentin in his work upon this 
remarkably fantastic and melodious Creole dialect, says that Ago is the only word of purely 
African origin he has been able to find in the Guyana patois. On the Gold coast ago! is a 
warning cry : " Take care I clear the way ! " The Guyana slaves retained the word in a dif 
ferent sen?e. Trie no,cr ro who accidentally jostles anybody, still exclaims Ago! but it now 
means " Beg- pardon," or " Excuse me ! " 

2 Talkinir too freelv about our projects helps our enemies to thwart our bones. 

3 Literally : " Word too stronar, jaw swelled up." Seems to imply the indirect rather than 
the direct consequence of using violent language viz., a severe beating from the person 
abused. 

4 That is to say that the worst results of folly do not alwa7s manifest themselves when 
expected. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 29 

242. Piti pas coutS so moman, li ka mori gran so!6 midi. (Petit qui n ecoute pas sa maman 

meurt au grand soleil de midi). 
44 Little boy who won t listen to his mother dies under the noonday sun." i [Guyana. ] 

243. Plis vaut mi6 vous pitit gagne larhime qui vous arrace son nez. (II vaut mieux laisser 

votre enfant morveux que de lui arracher le nez). 
" Better let your child be snotty, than pull his nose off ." [Mauritius.] 

244. Pou manje. tou bon ; pou pale pas tou parole. (Pour manger, tout estbon ; pour parler, 

pas toute parole). 

4i Anything is good enough to eat; but every word is not good enough to be spoken." 2 
[Guyane.] 

245. Poule pas ka vante bouillon yo. (Les poules ne van tent pas leur [propre] bouillon.) 

44 The chickens don t brag about their own soup;" i. e. chicken-soup. [Martinique.] 

246. Poule qui gante ga meme qui fine ponde. (La poule qui chante est celle-la meine qui a 

pondu). 
" It s the cackling hen that has laid the egg." [Mauritius.] 

247. Poule qui fere des dizefs zame s touye". (La poule qui fait deux oeufs n est jamais tu6e). 

44 The hen that lays two eggs is never killed." [Mauritius.] 

248. * Pranne garde vaut mie passe mande pardon. (Prendre garde vaut mieux que demandre 

pardon.) 
41 It is better to take care beforehand than to ask pardon afterward." [lauisiana.] 

249. Ptit lasoif ptit coco, grand lasoif grand coco. (Petite soif , petit coco ; grande soif , grand 

coco.) 
44 Little thirst, a little cocoa-nut; big thirst, a big cocoa-nut."-* [Mauritius.] 

250. Ptit mie tombe, ramasse li ; Chretien tombe, pas ramasse li. (Quand une petite mie 

tombe, on la ramasse ; quand un Chretien tombe, on ne le ramasse pas [i. e., on ne 1 aide 
pas a serelever].) 

" If a little crumb falls, it is picked up ; if a Christian falls, he is not picked up." 
[Hayti.] 

251. * Quand bois tombe, cabri monte. (Quand 1 arbre tombe, le cabri monte.) 

41 When the tree falls, the kid can climb it." ^[Louisiana. ] 

252. Quand boudin mode, ce pas 6pi bell plimme yo ka plein li. (Quand le ventre crie, ce 

n est pas avec de beaux habits qu oa le remplit.) 

4 When your stomach gnaws you, it isn t with fine clothes that you can nil it." 
[Martinique. ] 

1 All Creole mothers are careful to keep their children from reckless play in the sun, 
which is peculiarly treacherous in those latitudes where the dialect is spoken. Hence the 
proverb, applicable to any circumstance in which good advice is reluctantly received. 

2 In. +he iMartinique dialect : Tputt mange, touttpaaule pas bon pou di. [Turiault.] 

a The sound of the French eu is rarely preserved in Creole. L heure becomes there; peu, 
becomes pe. The Creole-speaking negro says, Yonne, de, tois, quote, nef, instead of 4 un, deux, 
trois, quatre, neuf." 

4 Like the old- country saying: 4 Big horse, big feed." The cocoa-nut shell was formerly 
the slave s drinking cup in Mauritius. 

& This saying has quite a variety of curious applications. The last time I heard it, a 
Creole negress was informing me that the master of the house in which she worked was lying- 
jit the point of death: "pauve diabe!" I asked after the health of her mistress. Ah! 
Madame se porte bien : mais . . . quand bois tombe cabri monte," she replied, half in French, 
half IP. her own patois; signifying that after the husband s death, wife and children would 
find themselves reduced to destitution. 

e Literally "feathers" * plimm," plumes. Adopted from a Creole version of one of 
Laf ontaine s fables. 



30 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

253. *Quand boyaux grogn<, bel evite pas fait y<5 p6. (Quand lea boyaux grognent, un bels 

habit ne leur fait pas se taire ; lit., ne leur fait pas paix.) 
" When the bowels growl a fine coat won t make them hold their peace."* [Louisiana.} 

254. Quand cannari pas boul pou ou, ou done janmain dScouvri li. (Quand le Dot ne bout 

pas pour vous, vous ne devez jamais le decouvrir.) 
" When the pot won t boil for you, you must never take the lid off." 2 [Martinique.] 

255. Quand canon cause, fisil honte". (Quand le canon parle, le fusil a honte.) 

" When the cannon speaks, the gun is ashamed." [Mauritius. ] 

256. Quand diabe alle lamesse li caciette so laquee. (Quand le diable va d la messe, il cache 

sa queue.) 
" When the Devil goes to mass he hides his tail." [Mauritius.] 

257. Quand diabe vou!6 prend vous li cause bondie av vous. (Quand le diable veut vous 

prendre il vous parle de Bon Dieu.) 

" When the devil wants to get hold of you, he chats to you about God." Lit.: "He 
talks Good God to you." [Mauritius.] 

258. Quand done vous bourique vous pas bisoin gu6tte so labride. (Quand on vous donne un 

ane, vous ne devez pas regarder sa bride.) 

"When somebody gives you a donkey, you musn t examine the bridle." Never look 
a gift-horse in the mouth. [Mauritius.] 

259. Quand femme leve so robe diabe guette so lazambe. (Quand une femme releve sa robe 

le diable regarde sa jambe.) 
" When a woman lifts her dress, the devil looks at her leg." [Mauritius.] 

260. Quand gagne larmoire napas quette coffe. (Quand on a 1 armoire on ue regarde pas lea 

coffre.) 
"As soon as one gets a clothes-press, one never looks at the trunk."s [Mauritius.] 



1 The words pe, pe, in Creole are distinguishable only by their accentuation. Peur (fear) ;. 
peu (a little) ; paix (peace, or " hush ") ; peut (can), all take the form pe or pe in various Creole 
dialects. Ipas ni pe sepent; "he is not afraid of snakes." Sometimes one can guess the 
meaning only by the context, as in the Martinique saying : Pe bef pe coca oef. " Few oxen, 
little ox-dung;" i.e., "little money, little trouble." The use of "pe" for pere (father), 
reminds us of a curious note in the Creole studies of the brothers Saint-Quentin (See BIBLIO 
GRAPHY). In the forests of Guiana there is a bird whose song much resembles that of eur 
Louisiana mockinsr-bird. but which is far more sonorous and solemn. The Creole negroes 
call it ZOZO MONPE (Poiseau mon-pere), lit., "The my-father bird." Now mmpl is the Creole 
mame for a priest ; as if we should say " a my-father " instead of " a priest." The bird s song, 
powerful, solemn, far-echoing through the great aisles of the woods by night, suggested the 
chant of a monpe. a "ghostly father;" and its name might be freely translated by "the 
priest-bird." 

2 " Watched pot never boils." The canari was a clay pot as the following Creole refrain 
testifies: 

Ya pas bouillon pou vous, macommere ; 
Canari cased dans dif6 (bis), 
Bouillon renvers6 dans dife 
Ya pas bouillon pou vous, macommere 

Canari casse dans dif6. 

[" There s no soup for you, my arossipping friend ; the pot s broken in the fire ; the soup is 
spilled in the fire/ etc.] 

s A wooden chest or trunk is the first desideratum of the negro housewife. As soon 
as the family is able to purchase a clothes-press, or (as we call it in Louisiana) " armoire, 
it is considered quite a prosperous household by Mauritian colored folk. The chest, 
Baissac tells us, is the clothes-press of the poor. "After the bed comes the chest, and next 
the accordeonl" 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 31 

261. Quand lamort vim, vous pense vous lavie. (Quand la mort vient, vous pensez a votre 

vie.) 
44 It s when death comes that you think about your life." [Mauritius. } 

262. Quand lebras trop courte, napaa zoinde. (Quand les bras son trop courts, ils no se 

rejoignent pas.) 
4 When one s arms are too short, they won t go round."i [Mauritius.} 

263. Quand lecie tombe, tout mouces va maille. (Quand le ciel tombera, toutes les mouchea 

seront prises.) 
"When the 8ky falls all the flies will be caught."2 [Mauritius. ] 

264. * Quand ii gagnin kichose dans so latete, ce pas dans so lapie. (Quand il a quelque 

chose dans sa te"te, ce n est pas dans son pied.) 
44 When he gets something into his head, it isn t in his foot."s [Louisiana.} 

265. Quand lipied gliss6, restant sivr6. (Quand le pied glisse, le reste suit.) 

" When the foot slips the rest follows." [Mauritius.} 

266. Quand maite chante, negue danse ; quand conome siffte, negue saut. (Quand le 

maitre chante, le negre danse ; quand 1 econome siffle, le ndgre saute.) 

44 When the master sings the negro dances ; but when the overseer only whistles, the 
negro jumps." A relic of the old slave-day Creole folklore. [Louisiana.} 

267. Quand milatt tini yon vie chouvral yo dit negress pas manman yo. (Quand les mulatres 

ont un vieux cheval ils disent quo les ndgresses ne sont pas leurs meres.) 

44 As soon as a mulatto is able to own an old horse, he will tell you that his mother 
wasn t a nigger." [Martinique.} 

268. * Quand napas maman, tet6 grand-maman. (Quand n a pas sa mere, on tete sa grand- 

mere.) 
41 When one has no mother, one must be suckled by one s grandmother." 

[Louisiana.} 

269. Quand ou tini malh6 eepent mole 1 ou pa lakhe. (Quand vous Stes dansle malheur le 

serpent vous mord par la queue.) 
44 When you re in ill-luck, a snake can bite you even with its tail." [Martinique.} 

270. Quand ou mang6 evec guiabe, quimbS cuille ou longue. (Quand vous mangez arec 

lediable, tenez votre cuillere longue.) 
44 When you eat with the devil, see that your spoon is long." [Martinique.} 

271. * Quand patate tchuite, faut mange li. (Quand la patate est cuite, il faut la manger.) 

44 When the sweet potato is cooked, it must be eaten."* [Louisiana.} 

272. Quand poul ou tini ze\ pas mette li dans canari. (Quand votre poule pond des oeufs 

ne la mettez pas dans le pot.) 
44 When your hen is laying, don t put her in the pot."5 [Martinique.} 

1 It is needless to undertake what we have not ability to carry out. 

2 Said to those who talk hopefully of impossibilities. 

3 Refers to obstinacy. A man may be compelled to move his feet, but not to change his 
resolve. 

This differs a little from the spelling adopted by Gottschalk in his Bamboula 4 Quand 
patate-la couite ma va mange li" The proverb is used in the sense of our saying : " Strike the 
iron while it s hot." 

6 Like our saying about killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. 



32 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

273. Quand prend trop boucoup, li glisse". (Quand on prend trop [lit. : " trop beaucoup "], 

eelaglisse. 
44 Grab for too much, and it slips away from you." [Mauritius.} 

274. Quand vente crie 1 zoreyes sourde. (Quand le ventre crie, les oreilles sont sourdes.) 

41 When the belly cries, the ears are deaf." [Mauritius.] 

275. Quand vente faim, siprit vini. (Quaud le ventre a faim, 1 esprit vient.) 

44 An empty stomach brings wit ;" lit.: When the stomach is empty, wit comes."i 

[Mauritius.] 

276. Quand vous guette lahaut vous lizies vine pitit. (Quand vous regardez en haut, vos 

yeux rapetissent.) 
44 When you look overhead, your eyes become small." [Mauritius.] 

277. Quand yo bailie outgte bef pou mange", n a pas peur zieux li. (Quand on vous donne 

uue tete de boauf a manger n ayez pas peur de ses yeux.) 
44 When you are given an ox s head to eat, don t be afraid of his eyes." [Hayti ] 

278. Quiquefois wou plante zharicots rouze ; zharicots blancs qui pousse. (Quolquefois vous 

plantez dea haricots rouges, et ce sont des haricots blancs qui poussent.) 

41 Sometimes you sow red beans, and white beans grow." "The best-laid plans of 
mice and men gang aft a-gley." [Mauritius.] 

279. Quand yon batiment casse c,a pas empeche les zautt navigue. (Qiiand un batiment est 

eass6, ca n empeehe pas les autres de naviguer.) 

41 When a ship is broken (wrecked), the accident does not prevent others from sailing." 2 
[Martinique.] 

280. Qui me":e zefs nans calenda ouoches? (Qui a mele 1 (mis) des oeufs dans la calinda des 

roches [pierres.] ? ) 

44 What business have eggs in the calinda i. e. dance of stones ?" ( Calinda, said to be 
derived from the Spanish que linda / 4 how beautiful ! " ) 3 [ Trinidad.] 

281. Kann seVice bai ll mal dos. (Rendre service donne mal au dos.) 

44 Doing favors gives one the back-ache." [Martinique.] 

282. *Ratte mange canne, zanzoli mouri innocent. (Le rat mange la canne-[a-sucre], le 16zard 

en meurt.) 
41 Tis the rat eats the cane ; but the lizard dies for it." * [Louisiana.} 

283. Ravett pas janmain asses f ou pou li alle lapote pouleille. (Le ravet n est jamais assez 

f ou pour aller a la porte du poulailler ) 

44 The cockroach is never silly enough to approach the door of the hen-house." 
( Martinique. ] 

1 Wit, that is, "mother-wit" common-sense. 

2 There is a Portuguese proverb to the same effect : " Shipwrecks have never deterred 
navigation." 

3 The author of Les Bambous mentions the belt, caleinda, guiouba and biguine, slave-dances 
of Martinique. Danse yon caleinda marre (to dance the calinda or caleinda tied up) meant to 
receive a whipping. 

*ThU proverb is certainly of West Indian origin, though I first obtained it from a Loui- 
sianiaa. In consequence of the depredations committed by rats in the West-Indian cane- 
fields, it is customary after the crop has been taken off, to fire the dry cane tops and leaves. 
The blaze, spreading over the fields, destroys many rats, but also a variety of harmless 
lizards and other creatures. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 33 

284. *Ravette pas jamain tini raison douvant poule. (Le ravet n a jamais raison devant la 

poule.) 

" Cockroach is never in the right where the fowl is concerned" (lit.: before the fowl.)i 
[Trinidad.] 

285. Rasiers tini zorei es. (Les [rosiers?] buissons ont des oreilles.) 

" Bushes have ears." [ Trinidad .] 

286. *Rond6 service, bailie chagrin. (Rendre service donne du chagrin.) 

" Doing favors brings sorrow." [Louisiana. ] 

287. Roce ente te , rue s quand t6ti cause av li, li le ponde . (La roche est entete e, mais quand 

le tetu lui parle, elle repond.) 

" The rock s hard-headed ; but when the stone-hammer speaks to him, he answers" 
[Tetu means an obstinate person, also a stone- hammer.! 2 [Mauritius.] 

288. Sac vide pas ka tienne douboutt. (Un sac vide ne pent pas se tenir debout.) 

"An empty sack cannot stand up." One cannot work with an empty stomach. 

[Martinique. ] 

289. Sepent dit li pas rhai mounn-la qui cue li ; c est ga qui dit, " Mi sepent !" (Le serpent 

dit qu il ne hait pas la personne qui le tue ; que c est celle qui dit, u Voild le serpent !") 
" The snake says he doesn t hate the person who kills him, but the one who calls out, 
Look at the snake ! " [Martinique.] 

290. Serin derobe ; maille bengali. (Le serin se derobe ; prenez le bengali.) 

" When the canary can t be found, take the bengalee." When you can t find what 
you like, be content with what you can get." [Mauritius.] 

291. Si coulev oule viv, li pas prouminee grand-chimin. (Si la couleuvre veut vivre, elle ne 

se promene pas dans le grand chemin). 
" If the snake cares to live, it doesn t journey upon the high-road." [Guyana] 

292. Si couleve pas te fonte,3 f emmes se pouend li fair ribans jipes. (Si la couleuvre n etait 

pas effrontee, lesfemmes la prendraient pour en faire dea rubans de jupes). 
" If the snake wasn t spunky, women would use it for petticoat strings." [Trinidad.] 

293. Si crapaud die ous caiman tini mal ziex, coer-li. (Si le crapaud vous dit que le caiman a 

mal aux yeux, croyez-le). 
" If the frog tells you the alligator has sore eyes, believe him !" 4 [Trinidad.] 

294. Si jipon ou k alle bien, pas chache mette kilott nhornme ou. (Si votre jupon vous va 

bien, ne cherchez pas a mettre la culotte de votre mari.) 
" If your petticoat fits you well, don t try to put on your husband s breeches." 

[Martinique] 

1 1 find this proverb in every dialect I have been able to study. In Martinique Creole the 
words vary slightly : " Douvant poule ravett pas ni raison." 

2 This is another example 01 double-puuuing, of which we have already had a specimen 
in Prov 163. 

*Fonte (for effronte) has quite an extensive meaning- in Creole. It may refer to the impu 
dence ot a badly-brought-up child, or to the over-familiarity on the part of an adult ; but it 
mav also refer to hitrh spirit, plucic, independence of manner. A colored mother once told 
me I should be surprised to see howfonte her son had become since he had been going to 
school. She meant, of course, that the lad was growing " smart," active, plucky. 

* Similarity of h-ibi^ and of experience is necessary to guarantee thetrustwortniness of 
testimony regarding those we do not know. 



34 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

295. * Si lamer t6 touilli, poissons sr< tchuite. (Si la mer bouillait, les poissons seraient 
cults). 
" If the sea were to boil, the fishes would be cooked." [Louisiana.] 

396. Si lasavane t ka pate nous ee connaitt trop desigret. (Si la savanne parlait, nous 
connaitrions trop de secrets). 
"If the fields could talk, we should know too many secrets." i - [Martinique.] 

297. Si 16phant pas t6 sav6 boyaux li gouous, 11 pas se vale calebasses. (Si 1 elephant n avait 
pas su qu il avait de gros boyaux, il n aurait pas a vale des calebasses). 

"If the elephant didn t know that he had big guts, he wouldn t have swallowed 
calabashes." [ Trinidad.] 

298 * " Si-moin-te-connaitt pas janmain douvant; li toujou dele. (Si-je-ravais-su n est 
jamais devant ; il vient toujours derriere.) v 

4 If-I-had-only-Jcnown is never before one ; he always comes behind." [Martinique. 

299. Si moin t6gagnin moussa, moin t6 mang6 gombo. (Si j avais du moussa, je mangerais du 

gombo). 

41 If I had some moussa^ I would eat some gombo." If I had the necessary I could 
enjoy the superfluous." \ Martinique.] 

300. Si te pas gagne soupe nens moune, moune ka touff6. (S il n y avait pas de soupirs dans 

le monde, le mondeetoufferait). 

14 If there were no sighing in the world, the world would stifle."3 [Quoted by Alphonse 
Daudet.] 

301. Si zannoli te bon viann, li s6 pas ka drive lassous bale. (Si le lezard 6tait bon a manger 

[lit.: bonne viande], il ne se trouverait point sous une bailie.) 
" If the lizard were good to eat, it would never be found under a tub."* [Martinique. ] 

302. Soleil couch6 ; malber pas jamain couche. (Le soleil se couche ; le malheur ne se couche 

jamais.) 
* 4 The sun sets ; misfortune never sets." [Hayti. ] 

303. * Soleil leve Id ; li couche IsL (Le soleil se leve la ; il se couche 1&.) 

41 Sun rises there [pointing to the east] ; he sets there" [pointing to the west] s 
[Louisiana.] 

304. Souliers faraud, mes domage z mtes manze lipieds. (Les souliera sont elegants, mais 

c est dommage qu ils mangent les pie Js.) 
4k Shoes are fine things ; but it s a pity they bite one s feet."6 Mauritius ] 



1 " If walls had ears," etc. 

2 Mousse is a word used in Martinique for hominy, or a sort of corn-mush which is used to 
thicken gombo-soup. In Louisiana boiled rice is similarly used. 

s I found this proverb cite I in Daudet s article on Tourgueneff in the November Century 
[1883]. The accentuation was incorrect. Noun, or moune, Creole form of French monde, is 
generally used to signify people in general folks not the world. A 

4 Thomas gives us a briefer Trinidad version : Si zandoli te bon mane, le passe lea drive (il ne 
se trouverait pas) : " If a lizard were good meat, it wouldn t easily be found." 

s A proverb common to all the dialects. In uttering it, with emphatic gesture, the 
negro signifies that there Is no pride which will not be at last brought down, no grandeu* 
which will not have an end. 

e M. Baissac tells us, in a very amusing way, how this proverb originated at the time of 
the negro emancipation in Mauritius, when 30.000 pairs of new shoes were distributed. 
Another saying, equally characteristic, was 4l Lhere li entre dans vous lacase, souliers dans 
lipieds / There li dans grand cimin, souliers dans mougoirs ": (When he enters your house, his 
shoes are on his feet; but once he is on the public road, they are in his handkerchief.) 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 35 

305. * Tafla toujou die la v6rlt6. (Le tafla flit tou jours la ve>it<. 

"Tafla always tells the truth."* [Louisiana.} 

306. Tambou tini grand train pace endidans li vide. (Le tambour va [lit : tientl grand train 

parcequ il est vide en dedans.) 
"The drum makes a great fuss because it is empty inside."2-[rrinuZod.1 

307. Tamp6e ka gagnen malhers ka doublons pas sa gueri. (Un 4 tamp<e achete desmal- 

heurs que les doublons ne peuveut pas guerir.) 
"A penny buys troubles that doubloons cannot cure." [Trinidad.} 

308. * " Tant-pis " n a pas cabane. (" Tant-pis " n a pas de cabane.) 

" So-much-the-worse " has no cabin. "3 [Louisiana.] 

309. Temps moune connaite 1 aute nans grand jou, nans nouite yeaux pas Wso^n ohandelle 

pou clairer yeaux. (Quand on connait quelqu un [lit : un autre] dans Je grana jour, 
dans la nuit on n a pas besoin d une chandelle pour s Sclairer.) 

44 When one person knows another by broad daylight, he doesn t need a candle to 
recognize him at night."* [Trinidad.] 

310. * Temps present gagnin assez comrne ya avec so quenne. (Le temps present en a assez 

comme 9a avec le sien.) 
44 The present has enough to do to mind its own affairs."5 [Louisiana ] 

311. * Ti chien, ti codon. (Petit chien, petit lien.) 

44 A little string for a little dog." [Martinique ] 

312. Ti hache coup6 gouaus bois. (line petite h*che coupe un grand arbre.) 

44 A little axe cuts down a big tree." [Martinique ] 

313. Ti moun connaitt couri, yo pas coanaitt serre". (Les enf ants lit : 44 le petit monde" 

savent courir; ilsne sa vent pas se cacher.) 
44 Children (little folk) know how to run; they do not know how to hide." [Martinique.} 

314. Tig m6, chien ka prend pays. (Quand le tigre est mort, le chien prend le pays.) 

44 When the tiger is dead, the dog takes [rules] the country." [Martinique.} 

315. Toti se vole si li te tini plimm. (Le tortue volerait si elle avait des ailes.) 

44 The tortoise would fly it it had win^s."* 5 I Martinique.] 



1 Tafla is the rum extracted from sugar-cane. 44 In vino veritas." 

2 In Louisiana Creole, faire di-train is commonly used iu the sense of making a great 
noise, a bi* fuss. An old riegro-servaut might often bo heard reproving the children of the 
hou^e i n some such fashion as this : 4 Ga fpouki tape fait tou di-train la ? Toule pe f- pas fait 
ton di-train inoditoi!" (Here, what are you making all that noise tor? are you gomg to 
keep qus-jt? -musn t make so much noise, I tell you !") 

3 Tais proverb is the retort for the phrase: 44 So much the worse for you." Sometimes 
one might hear a colored servant for example, warning the children of the house to keep 
out of the kitchen, which in Creole residences usually opens into the great court-yard where 
the little onws p ay: Eh, pitis ! fautpas rester Id : vous ka casser tout! ( vk Hey I little ones, musn t 
stay there: you ll break everything!") If the father or mother should then exclaim 4k Tant 
pis pour euxf" so much the worse for them if they do break everything, you would hear the 
old worn in reply : " Tant- pis n a pas cabane!" 44 So-much-the-worse has no cabin" i.e., 
nothiner to lose. She believes in an ounce of prevention rather than a pound of cure. 

4 When a person has once given us positive evidence of his true character, we do not 
need any information as to what that person will do under certain circumstances. 

5 Literally the proverb is almost untranslateable. It is cited to those who express need 
less apprehension of future misfortune. 4k Mo va daanin mnlhe"^(I am going to have 
trouble.) " Ale, ale! ct&relt.emv* present Qignin a^sez comme ja auec so qutiitie," (Ah, my 
dear I the present has enough trouble of its own.) 

" Pigs might fly," etc. 



36 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

316. Tout bois re" bois : 
Main mapou 
Pas cajou. 

(Tout bois c estdubois; 
Mais ie mapou 
N est pas de 1 acajou.) 
"All wood is wood; but mapou wood isn t mahogany (cedar) "i [Trinidad.] 

317 * Tout fa c est commerce Man Lison. (Tout fa c est affaire de Maraan Lison.) 
" All that s like Mammy Lison s doings."2 [Louisiana.] 

318. Tout fa qui pote" z^pron pas maquignon. (Tout homme qui porte eperons n est pas 

maquignon.) 
"Everybody who wears spurs isn t a jockey." All is not gold that glitters. 

[Martinique.] 

319. Toutt cabinett tini maringouin. (Tout cabinet contient des maringouins.) 

" Every bed-chamber has its mosquitoes in it." Equivalent to our own proverb; A 
skeleton in every closet. [Martinique.] 

330. * Toutt joue c est joue ; mais casee bois dans bonda macaque fa pas joue. (Tout 
[fagon de] jouer c est jouer; mais ce n est pas jouer que de casser du bois dansle 
derriere du macaque.) 
s [Martinique.} 

331. *.Toutt jour c est pas dimanche. (Tous les jours ne sont pis le dimanche.) 
" Every day isn t Sunday." Louisiana. 

333. Tou jwe sa jwe 1 ; me bwa lazore sa pa jvve. (Tout [facon de] jouer c est jouer ; mais 
enf oncer du bois dans 1 oreille n est pas j ouer.) 
All play is play ; but poking a piece of wood into one s car isn t play." [Guyane.] 

833. *Tout macaque trouve so piti joli. (Tout macaque trouve son petit joli.) 
" Every monkey thinks its young one pretty." [Louisiana ] 

324. Toutt milett ni grand zaureilles. (Tout les mulcts ont des gran des oreilles.) 

"All mules have big ears." Equivalent to our proverb: "Birds of a leather flock 
together." Martinique. 

1 Thomas translates cajou, by "cedar." Acajou in French, signifies mahogany, as it does 
also in Louisiana Creole. There is an old song, of which the refrain is : 

Cher bijou 
Dicajou, 
Mo laiwin vow 
("My darling mahogany jewel, I love you I ") 

2 "Whenever a thing 13 badly done, this saying- is used; commerce in the Creole 
Signifying almost the re verse of what it does in French. Who that traditional Man Lison 
was, j. have never been able to find out. 

s This ridiculous observation is unsuitable for translation. Nevertheless we have an 
English, or pern ips an American, proverb equally vulgar, which may have inspired, or been 
derived from, the Creole one. In the Enplish saying, the words " joking " and "provoking" 
are used as rhymos. The moral is precisely similar to that of No. 333. 

In old days the Creole story-teller would always announce his intention of beginning 
a tale by the exclamation " Tlm-tim /" whereupon the audience would shout in reply, 
" Bois sec ;" and the story-teller would cry again, " Cassez-li," to which the chorus would add 
" . . . . dans tchu (bonda) macaque" Thus the story-teller intimated that he had no inten 
tion of merely yofcfnff. out- intended to tell the whole truth and nothing else "a real good 
story " tois fois bonne conte! 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 37 

825.* Tontt mounn save ?a qui ka boul nens canari yo. (Toute personne sait ce qui bout 
flans son canari [marmite].) 

" Everybody knows what boils in his own pot " 1. e., knows his own business 
best.i [ Martinique. ] 

8?C. Traval pas mal ; ce ziex qui capons. f(Le travail ne fait pas du mal ; c est les yeux qui 
sont capons I laches].) 
" Work doesn t hurt ; tis the eyes that are cowards." [Miuritim.] 

327. Trop gratte bourle. (Trop gratter brule [cuit].) 

" Too much scratching brings smarting." [Mauritius.] 

328. Trop proft ere ve" poche. (Trop de profit crdve la poche.) 

"Too much profit bursts one s pockets." ~l Martinique .] 

329. Tropp bijou, gade-mange" vide. (Trop de bijoux, garde-manger vide.) 

"Too much Jewelry, empty cupboard." [Martinique.] 

S30. Vente enfle, mouces zaune te* pique li. (Le ventre enfle", les mouches jaunes 1 ont pique".)* 
[Mauritius] 

331. Vide ene bouteye pour rempli laute, qui li? (Vider une bouteille pour en remplir une 

autre, qu est-ce?) 
" What s the good of emptying one bottle only to fill another ?"3 [Mauritius.] 

332. * Vie cannari ka fe" bon bouillon. (Les vieux pots font les bonnes soupes.) 

" It athe old pot that makes the good soup." [Martinique. ] 

333. Vie" ccq, zene poule. (Vieux coq, jeune poule.) 

"An old cock, a young hen." [Mauritius.] 

334. Vole pas ainmein voue canmarade yo pote sac. (Les voleurs n aiment pas voir leurs 

camarades portant le sacs.) 
" Thieves do not like to see their comrades carrying the bags."-* [Martinique.] 

335. Vous napas va montr6 vie" zaco fdre grimaces. (Vous ne montrerez pas d un vieux 

singe d faire des grimaces.) 
" You can t teach an old monkey how to make faces."5 [Mauritius.] 

336. Voye" chein, chein voye lakhe li. (Envoyez le chien, et le chien envoie sa queue.) 

" Send dog, and dog sends his tail." Refers to those who obey orders only by 
proxy. [Trinidad ] 



i In Thomas s Trinida d version : " Tout moune connaite ca qiti ka bom nans canari yeaux." In 
Louisiana Creole : Chakin connin fa kape bouilli dans so chodiere." Canari is sometimes used 
in our Creole, but rarely. I have only heard it in oid songs. The iron pot (chodiere) or tin 
utensil has superseded the canari 

2 This proverb is scarcely suitable for English translation; but the forcible and pict 
uresque ironv of it will bj appreciated in M. Baissac s explanatory note: "Comment se 
Vexpliquer autrementen dehors du mariage. 

s Same (signification as Prov. 138. 

4 Probably truer to human nature than our questionable statement concerning " honor 
among thieves." Mr. Bisrelow, in his contribution to Harper s Magazine, cited a similar 
proverb in the Haytian dialect. 

5 "Teach your granny to suck eggs." 



38 LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 

337. Yo ka quimb^i chritiens pa langue yo, bef pa cone yo. (On prend lea Chretiens par 

la langue, les bcsufs par lea cornes.) 

" Christians are known by their tongues, oxen by their horns." (Literally, are taken 
by or caught by.) {Martinique.} 

338. Yon doegt pas sa pouend pice. (Un seul doigt ne peut pas attraper des puces." 

" One finger can t catch fleas." [Martinique.] 

339. * Yon lanmain dou6 lav 6 laute. (Fne main doit laver 1 autre.) 

" One hand must wash the other." You must not depend upon others to get you 
out of trouble. [Martinique^ 

340. Yon mauvais paole ka blesse" plis qu coupd roche. (Une mauvaise parole blosse plus 

qu un coup-de-pierre.) 
* A wicked word hurts more than a blow from a stone." [Martinique.] 

341. Zaco malm, li-meme t6 montre noir coment voler. (La singe est malin; c est lui qui a 

montre" au noir comment on vole.) 

"The monkey is sly; it was he that first taught the black man how to steal." 
[Mauritius. ] 

i Quimbe is a verb of African origin. It survives in Louisiana Creole as tchombe or 
chomuo : 

Caroline, zoliefemme, 
Chombo moin dans collet. 

[" Caroline, pretty woman ; put your arm about my neck !" lit. : " take me by the 
neck."] 

There are other African words used by the older colored women, such as macaye, mean- 
ng to eat at all hours; and Ouende, of which the sense is dubious. But the Congo verbfifa, 
to kiss; and the verbs souye, to flatter; pougaU, to abuse violently; and such nouns as 
*aff (glutton), yche or iche (baby), which are preserved in other Creole dialects, are appar 
ently unknown in Louisiana to-day. 

In Chas. Jeannest s work, Quatre Annees an Congo [Paris: Charpentier, 1883], I find a 
scanty vocabulary of words in the Fiot dialect, the native dialect of many slaves imported 
into Louisiana and the West Indies. In this vocabulary the word ouenda is translated by 
* partir pour." I fancy it also signifies " to be absent, and that it is synonymous with our 
Louisiana African-Creole ouende, preserved in the song- : 
Ouende, ou-nde, macaya ; 

Mo pas, harassed macaya ! 
Ouende, ouende, macaya ; 

Mo bois bon divin, macaya! 
Ouende, ou?n ie, macaya; 

Mo mang6 bon poule\ macaya! 
Ouentle, ouende, macaya;.. etc. 

This is on e of the very few songs with a purely African refrain still sung in New Orleans. 
The theme seems to be that, the master and mistress of a house being absent, some slave 
is encouraging a slave-friend to eat excessively, to "stuff himself" with wine, chicken, 
etc. "They are gone, friend: eat, fill yourself; I m not a bit ashamed; stuff yourself! 
I m drinking good wine; stuff yourself ! I m eating good chicken; gorge yourself," etc. 
Here ouende seems to mean " they are out ; they are gone away," therefore there is no 
danger. 

There is another Creole song with the same kind of double refrain, but the meaning of 
the African words I have not been able to discover. 

Nicolas, Nicolas, Nicolas, ou dindin ;" 
Nicolas, Nicolas, Nicolas marche ouaminon: 
Quand li marcb6 

Ouarasi. ouarasa ! 
Quand li march6 

Ouarasi, ouara*a! 

[" Nicholas, etc., you area turkey-cock! Nicholas walks ouaminon: when he walks, it is 
ournsi, owarosa."] The idea is obvious enough; viz.: that Nicholas struts like a turkey- 
cock ; but the pr ecise signification of the three italicised words I have failed to learn. 



LITTLE DICTIONARY OF CREOLE PROVERBS. 39 

343. Zaco napas ;?u6tte so laque"e; li guette pour son camarade. (Le singe ne regarde pas sa 
queue ; il regarde celle de son voisin.) 
41 Monkey never watches his own tail ; he watches his neighbor s." [Mauritius.] 

343. *Zaffaire ca qui sotte, chien mang6 dine" yo. (Des choses [qui appartiennent] aux sots 

les chiens font leur diner.) 
" Dogs make their dinner upon what belongs to fools." [Louisiana.] 

344. *Z ffe" cabritt pa zaff6 mouton. (L affaire de la chdvre n est pas 1 affaire du mouton.) 

" The goat s business is not the sheep s affair." 1 [Martinique.] 

345. Zaff6re qui fine pass6 narien ; laute qui pour vini qui li 1 (L affaire passe u n est rien ; 

c est 1 affaire a venir qui est le hie.) 
" What s past is nothing; it s what s to come that s the rub." [Mauritius.] 

346. Zamais b6f senti so corne trop iourd. (Jainais le boeuf ne sent ses cornes trop lourdes.) 

"The ox never finds his horns too heavy to carry." [Mauritius.] 

347. Zames disel dire li sale. (Le sel ne dit jamais qu il est sale.) 

" The salt never says that it is salty." True virtue never boasts. [Mauritius.] 

348. Zaureille pas tini couv eti. (Les oreilles n ont pas de couvcrtune.) 

" There is no covering for the ears." [Martinique.! 

349. Zie bake" brile zi6 neg. (Les yeux du blanc brule les yeux du negre.) 

" The white man s eyes burn the negro s eyes." 2 [Martinique.] 

350. Zie rouge pas bou!6 savann. (Les yeux rouges ne brulent pas la savane.) 

"Red eyes can t burn the savannah." A better translation might be: "Red eyes 
can t start a prairie-fire." The meaning, is that mere anger avails nothings 
[Martinique.] 

351. Zoure napas ena lente>ement. (Les jurons n ont paa d enterrement.) 

"Curses don t make funerals." [Mauritius.] 

353. Zozo paillenqui crie la-haut, coudevent vini. (Le paille-en-cul crie la-haut, le coup de 
vent vient.) 
"When the tropic-bird screams overhead, a storm-wind is coming." [Mauritius.] 

1 Seems to be the same in all Creole dialects, excepting that the rabbit is sometimes 
substituted for the sheep. 

2 3eke is translated by blanc in Turiault s work ; but the witty author of Les Bambous writes : 
Neg se dit pour esclave, et beke pour maitre. Therefore perhaps a more correct translation 
would be : " The master s eyes burn the slave s eyes." The phrase recalls a curious refrain 
which used to be sung by Louisiana field-hands : 

Tout, tout, pays blanc Danie qui commande, 

Danie qui commande fa / 

Danie qui commande. 

[" All, all the country white " (white-man s country) ; "Daniel has so commanded," etc. I 
do not know whether the prophet Daniel is referred to. 

3 In the G-uyane patois, they gay : " <?a qui gade gran ooi ye k6le pa brdle ye. 1 ( Celui qui regards 
IBS grands bois avec des yeux coftres ne les brule pas,) 



INDEX TO VARIOUS DIALECTS. 



I.-PRO VERBS IN THE CREOLE OF FRENCH GUYANA :-60, 233, 343, 344, 291, 323. 

II. IN THE CREOLE OF HAYTI:-11, 36, 47, 51, 61, 63, 77, 78, 87, 88, 96, 100, 115, 116, 117, 120, 
139, 145, 153, 173, 190, 220, 235, 226, 239, 250, 277, 302. 

III. IN THE CREOLE OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA :- 23, 34, 40, 57, 67, 86, 89, 90, 95, 
97, 99, 107, 112, 123, 130, 134, 137, 148, 157, 159, 162, 166, 171, 185, 186, 198, 203, 204, 308, 209, 228, 
235, 241, 248, 251, 253, 264, 367, 268, 271, 282, 286, 295, 303, 305, 308, 310, 317, 321, 323, 343. 

IV. IN THE CREOLE OF MARTINIQUE :-l, 3, 4, 5, 10, 18, 20, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 36, 37, 41,42, 
43, 49, 50, 52, 56, 58, 59, 63, 66, 75, 76, 83, 84, 85, 91, 92, 93, 94, 10 1, 133, 133, 149, 150, 151, 152, 154, 
160, 164, 175, 188, 189, 199, 202, 205, 206, 207, 210, 211, 213, 233, 224, 227, 230, 237, 238, 240, 245,253, 
254, 287, 269, 270, 273, 279, 281, 283, 288, 289, 294, 296, 298, 299, 301, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 318, 319, 
320, 324, 325, 328, 332, 334, 337, 338, 339, 340, 344, 348, 349, 350. 

V. IN THE CREOLE OF MAURITIUS : 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 16, 17, 19, 22, 25, 33, 38, 44, 45, 46, 48, 
53, 54, 55, 65, 68, 69, 70, 71, 73, 73, 98, 101, 103, 105, 106, 108, 109, 114, 118, 134, 125, 126, 137, 128, 
139, 131, 136, 138, 143, 155, 156, 161, 163, 165, 167, 168,169, 170, 173, 174, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 183, 
183, 191, 195, 196, 197, 300, 313, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 243, 243, 347, 249, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 
260, 261, 262, 263, 265, 273, 274, 275, 276, 278, 287, 290, 304, 326, 337, 330, 331, 335, 341, 343, 345, 346, 
347, 351, 352. 

VI. IN THE CREOLE OF TRINIDAD : 12, 13, 15, 21,27, 35, 39, 64, 74, 79,80,81, 83,103, 110,111, 
113, 119, 121, 132, 135, 140, 141, 143, 144, 145, 153, 181, 184, 187, 192, 193, 194, 201, 231, 229, 231, 233, 
233, 234, 23(5, 280, 284, 283, 293, 293, 297, 306, 307, 309. 316, 336. 



INDEX TO SUBJECTS OF PROVERBS. 



ACOMA-TBEE. 1. 

ADVISERS. 101, 143. 

ALLIGATOR (or Crocodile). 198, 239, 293. 

ARMS 262. 

ARRACK. 46, 305. 

" AVOCADO." 5. 

BAG, SACK, "MACONTB." 51, 115, 388. 

BAGASSE. 14. 

" BALAOU." 210. 

BEANS. 278. 

BEARD. 10. 

BED.-32, 182. 

BELLY.-39, 44, 252, 253, 274, 275, 330. 

BENGALEE. 200. 

BIG AND LITTLE. 249, 311, 313. 

BIRD. 154, 241. 

BLOWS. 19. 

"BONDA."-34, 49, 330. 

BORROWERS. 138, 190, 331. 

BROOM. 16. 

BOUNDARY. 183 (note). 

BUZZARDS. 228, 

41 CALALOU." 220 (note). 

" CALINDA." 280 (note). 

CALABASH.-96, 116, 117, 297. 

CANARY. 290. 

CANNON. 255. 

CAT.-70, 71, 72, 73, 85, 86, 151, 171, 200. 

CHARACTER. 309. 

CHEESE. 215. 

CHEST. 260. 

CHICKEN, OR HEN. 80, 125, 150, 245, 246, 247, 

272 283. 

- CHILDREN.-15, 48, 184, 187, 193, 242, 243, 313. 
CHRISTIAN. 250, 337. 
CLOTHES-PRESS. 260. 
COAL. 69. 

COCK.-29, 102, 129, 173, 333. 
COCKROACH. 65, 283, 284. 
CODFISH. 205. 
COON.-133. 
CONSPIRACY. 100. 
CONTENTMENT. 208. 
CORN. 136. 
COWARD. 7, 132. 
CURSES 351. 



CRAB. 75, 111. 199. 

DEVIL. 9, 82, 149, 256, 257, 259, 270. 

DOG.-28, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 118, 119, 137, 

152, 201, 314, 336, 343. 
DONKEY. 167, 258. 
DUCK.-43, 66, 128. 
DRAWEES.- 113, 136. 
DRUM. 61, 78, 306. 
EARS. 74, 107, 285, 348. 
EATING. 45, 194, 238. 
EGGS. 13, 56, 128, 129, 150, 247, 280. 
ELEPHANT 297. 
EYES -58, 183, 276, 293, 326, 350. 
PAT PEOPLE. 144. 
FAULTS.- 213. 
FAVORS. -281, 286. 
FEVER. 211. 

FINE CLOTHES. -6, 23, 252, 253. 
FIREFLY. 84. 
FISHES.-295. 
FLEAS. 328. 
FLY. 11, 20, 263. 
FLOUR. C5, 69. 
FOOT. 33, 50, 264, 2*5. 
FRIENDS. 127. 
FROG. 34, 79, 113, 166 293. 
U AB. 25, 27. 
GIFTS. 258, 277. 

GOAT. 40. 59, 60, 61, 62, 03, 175, 190, 206, 251, 344. 
GOD. -30, 31, 257. 
GODMOTHER. 237. 
GOMBO. 147, 299. 
GOOD ACTIONS 42, 53. 
GOOD FORTUNE. 35. 
GOOSE. 43. 
GUN. 255. 
HARE 3, 191. 
HEART.-58,174,212. 
HIGHWAY. 139, 224, 226, 291. 
HORSE. 9 1, 107, 109, 167, 204, 206, 323. 
HOG. 97, 176. 
HOUSEKEEPING. 32. 
HUSBAND. 195, 294. 
IDLENESS.-34, 35, 140, 141, 180. 
" IF-I-ONLY-KNBW." 298. 

ITCH. 178. 



INDEX TO SUBJECTS OF PROVERBS. 



JEWELRY.- 329. 
KICKS. 105. 
KNIFE. 76, 139. 
LAGNIAPPE. 157. 
" LANGOUTI. " 6. 
LARD. 53. 

LEECH.-217. 

LIANA. 218. 

LIZARD.-282, 301. 

" MAN LISON." 317. 

MANURE. 216. 

MARRIAGE. 118, 179, 195, 196. 197, 215. 

MASTER AND SLAVE. 2Q6, 349. 

MAT. 98. 

MEADOWS. 21, 296, 350. 

MILLET. 47. 

MISERY. 162, 207. 

MISFORTUNE. 192, 302. 

MONEY. 125, 168, 169, 170, 307. 

MONKEY. 2, 4, 5, 12, 108, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 

207, 320, 323, 335, 341, 342, 350. 
MOSQUITO. 198, 214, 319. 
MOTHERS. 2, 4, 5, 184, 187, 193, 243, 
MOUNTAINS. 174, 212. 
MOURNING. 121, 124, 134. 
MOUSSA. 299 (note). 
MUD. 155. 

MULATTO. 204, 206, 267. 
MULE. 107, 169, 324. 
NEEDLE AND THREAD. 143. 
OUANGA. 100. 

Ox. 20, 21, 22, 81, 160, 236, 277, 346. 
PADDLE. 6. 

" PALIACA BIRDS." 177. 
PANTALOONS. 292. 
PARTNERSHIP. 52. 
PETTICOAT. 294. 
PETTICOAT STRINGS. 292. 
POT OR KETTLE. 3, 8, 64, 254, 325. 382. 
POVERTY. 163, 239. 
PRESENT AND THE FUTURE. 310, 344. 
PUDDLE. 155. 
PUMPKIN. 76, 96. 
RABBIT. 40, 164. 
RAGS. 145. 

RAIN. 22, 81, 165, 166, 192, 352. 
RAT. 85, 287, (musk-rat) 200. 
RIGHT AND WRONG. 213, 240, 284. 
RUNNING AWAY. 33, 103. 
SABRE. 18. 
SALT. 347, 



SEA. 295. 

SECRETS. 296. 

SERPENT, OR SNAKE. 24, 189, 269, 289, 291, 292. 

SHEEP. 59, 175. 

SHINGLES. 17, 156. 

SHOES. 83, 223, 304. 

SIGHING. 300. 

SKILLET. 53. 

SLEEP. 45, 98. 

SLOW AND SURE. 131, 241. 

SNAILS. 108, 165. 

u So MUCH THE WORSE." 308. 

SPURS. 318. 

SPOON. 77, 270. 

SPRING. 148. 

STARING. 235. 

STICK. 18, 201, 209. 

STUAN GERS. IM. 

SUGAR. 38. 

SULKING. 44. 

SUN. 302, 303. 

SUNDAY. 95, 325. 

SWEET POTATO. 271. 

TAIL. 12, 20, 36, 81, 167, 336, 342. 

TALKING. 37, 74, 104, 112, l.U, 135, 146, 161, 164,. 

202, 231, 232, 234, 235, 244, b40. 
TEETH. 30, 120, 121, 122, 194. 
THANKS. 203. 
"TAZABD." 210. 
TIGER. 314. 
TIYON. 23. 

TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW.U, 153, 210. 
TONGUE. 79, 104, 161, 236. 
Too MUCH OF A THING. 228, 229, 273, 327. 
TORTOISE. 99, 191, 315. 
TROPIC- BIRD. 352. 
TURKEY. 205. 
VALET. 36. 
VETIVERIA. 156, 195. 
VISITING. 77. 
WANT (AND WASTE). 41. 
WAR. 158, 159. 
WATER. 114, 121, 130, 131, 148. 
WEEK OF FOUR THURSDAYS. 57. 
WHITE MAN. 26, 349. 
WOMAN. 9, 23, 48, 65, 259, 294. 
WOODLICE. 116, 117. 
WORK. 132, 141. 
YAM. 181. 
ZAMBA. 78. 



LA CUISINE CREOLE. 



A compilation of many original Creole and other valuable recipes 
obtained from noted Southern housewives, with a number of chefs cTceuvre 
from leading chefs, who have made New Orleans famous for its cuisine. 



Published by WILL H. COLEMAN, 

70 ASTOR HOUSE, HEW YORK. 



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