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Part 5: On consistency; honesty, openness, plain speaking, reliability


b tnrn, okn tt k j; b ir t rk, ww n w.
Even if it is flimsy, the thread of truth never snaps; even though a lie might the girth of an rk tree, it inevitably crashes.
(Truth will inevitably triumph over lies.)

Ibi t a ti na m ba l br, a k br ibi t m b ti pn lgb.
What one should ask is where the prince was attacked and flogged; one does not ask where the prince got the welts on his side.
(When matters require urgent attention, one should not speak in riddles or prevaricate.)

Igb kann ld d.
It is in the same forest that a hunter hunts (or all hunters hunt).
(One should stick to that which one knows. Or, the manners and behaviors of members of a fraternity should be consistent and uniform.)

jk l b eb.
The oil pot is ever found in a sitting position.
(The constancy of the pot is worth emulating.)

kk k el gbn; e l d gbn ml.
The pot is no shelter for the snail; all it does is trap the snail.
(One should not try to pass off injury one is causing a person as some favor one is doing the person.)

Il ahun gba ahun; dd ahun gblej; ahn kl tn y dd nbd.
The tortoise's house is not large enough for it; the tortoise's porch is not large enough to receive visitors; the tortoise built its house and adds a porch at the rear.
(The miser never has enough to share with others.) [19]

l t a b r l b p.
The citizenry one goes abroad with is the one in whose ranks one remains.
(One should not desert one's colleagues midway through an enterprise.)

ml gbw lun gbt m; ta n e lr fn un?
The muslim fasts and swears he did not swallow his saliva; who is to corroborate his story?
(There is no point is paying attention to a claim that cannot be verified.)

ml sr j- k, n lrunn jr- un.
The muslim says something and thunder rumbles; he says the Almighty is corroborating his statement.
(Said of someone who claims a neutral evidence as support for his/her position.)

ml gbd tan ara wn j; m nkan yn.
Those who enter into a covenant must not betray one another; one person's counsel is not enough by itself.
(One must not break covenants.)

ppr g mje; b k b p mje ara k gb .
Seven thrifling bottles; fewer than seven and one cannot endure the thought.
(If a matter is really of no importance, one should not nevertheless dwell on it.)

rk t b gbbd, bb ni.
Whichever rk tree becomes involved in treachery gets felled.
(Whoever engages in treachery will be destroyed, no matter his or her status.)

Ir ni M jnkan gb; t ni ni o r o bi.
Breathe not a word of it to anyone denotes a lie; Ask anyone you please indicates the truth.
(It is a only a lie that one wants no witness to; one will gladly proclaim the truth.)


19. Ahun is the tortoise, and the designation is also applied to miserly people. The porch is the overhang of the shell above the tortoise's tail.  [Back to text]