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Part 2: On perspicaciousness (good judgment, perceptiveness), reasonableness, sagacity, savoir-faire, wisdom, and worldly wisdom


Kk k md pgb ly, gb a fi gbn gb gb e.
Instead of permitting defeat by a child in a game, an elder should resort to elderly wiles.
(An elder should protect his face and standing by all means available.)

K j k et ni di k j k in ni dn.
Whatever keeps one from being deaf to certain things keeps one from being happy.
(One should learn to turn a deaf ear to certain things for the sake of one's peace of mind.)

K e gbogbo ni t e ni lrn bn bn mi l fn n nkan.
It is not to every person who says Whoever has received some bounty from God should give to me that one gives alms.
(One should be judicious as to those to whom one shows kindness.)

K ni w nn-u kt mta dnrn?
What is there to wear in a pair of trousers bought at three for three hundred cowries, or three a penny?
(Much ado about a worthless thing.)

K ni fl y e lr gg? Ata ni y i.
What would a cap be doing atop the gg mushroom? Pepper will remove it.
(Superfluous adornments make no sense when one goes to battle or engages in strenuous work.)

K ni y al t t y gba lw? Ewr j wln?
What is the cloth-selling woman have to sell that she carries a whip in her hand?
Do goats eat woolen fabrics?
(One should not engage in meaningless or unnecessary activities.)

Kker egb n ngba ew iy; gb egb n gba gbs; til-w-tn-w egb n gba gn a.
A small sore calls for the balsam tree leaf; a big sore takes an gbs leaf; a huge ulcer calls for a whole bolt of cloth.
(Remedies must fit the complaint.)

Kk ni mm, we jp.
Learning is knowing, jp's proverb.
(To know, one must learn.) [79]

Kr-kr leku jaw; d-d ler b y.
Bit by bit the rat consumes the leather; gently gently the ant sloughs its skin.
(One should use caution in all one's enterprises.)

K s alml t s p tun yi; aldl nkan l st.
There is no yam-flower meal seller who will advertise her ware as fluffy; the dl seller alone speaks the truth.
(One puts the best face on one's own affairs.)
Compare K s als . . . [80]

K s als t ta gbok; gbogbo wn n ta oyin.
There is no snuff seller who will advertise her ware as awful; they all say they are selling honey.
(Everybody presents himself/herself in the best light.)
Compare K s alml . . .

K s ni t k m gbn-n k fran snu k w a t.
There is nobody who does not know the trick of putting meat in the mouth and making it disappear.
(Nobody is a complete fool.)

Kk l kk d or, tb or l kk d kk?
Was it the lump that first got to the head, or the head that first got to the lump?
(A chastisement for someone attempting to reverse the order of precedence.)

Kklyo: y t n tmi.
A rather small thing: this is enough for me.
(However small it is usually a child, one is glad to have it.)

Kr-kr l d If adit.
Very loud is the way one consults If for a deaf person.
(One should match one's actions to the circumstances; or one should err on the side of repetitiousness when one cautions an obstinate person.)

Kbr, k roko pre. n y t n l un b.
Kubr, let us go to the bush where small snails are picked. He said the last such trip he went on, he has not returned from it.
(When one has not recovered from the consequences of a venture, one is not ready to embark on another one.)


79. The anecdote connected with the proverb states that once jp (Tortoise and trickster) made a basket so speedily that people asked in astonishment how it did it, and it responded with the proverb.  [Back to text]