Wolof Proverbs

The Wolof people are a West African ethnic group found in northwestern Senegal, Gambia and southwestern coastal Mauritania.

Much soup is better than much broth.

The song of the stomach is hard to hear.

The voice of truth is easily known.

He who swaddles the wolf will be barked at by the dog.

Man should take as companion one older than himself.

If you love the children of others,
you will love your own even better.

He who loses his enemy, weeps not for him.

Before shooting, one must aim.

The tree which is not taller than you are cannot shade you.

Although you have many provisions, you will see the end of them.

The best words give no food.

Seeing excites to knowing.

Before cooking, one must have provisions.

When the mouse laughs at the cat, there is a hole.

The hunter who pierces the tree has not shot well.

When you see the palm tree, the palm tree has seen you.

If you meet with those who quarrel, you may take one side,
but at least speak the truth.

Shaving is better than plucking hair.

The heir thanks nobody but the sudden death.

If you rise too early, the dew will wet you.

He who has no mother sucks his grandmother.

The partridge loves peas, but not those which go into the pot with it.

When a man eats, his own beard moves and not another’s.

Everything that has feathers flies, except the ostrich.

Though the wolf be lean, he can contend with a goat.

The sun is the king of torches.

The house roof fights with the rain, but he who is sheltered ignores it.

Lies, however numerous, will be caught by truth when it rises up.

The children of the same mother do not always agree.

To love the king is not bad, but a king who loves you is better.

Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse.

If you know the beginning well, the end will not trouble you.

Two eyes see better than one.

He who rises early finds the way short.

If the child robs when he begins to walk,
he will plunder a sheepfold when he grows older.

A shepherd strikes not his sheep.

There are people who place a basket
on your head to see what you carry.

You know not what man's stomach can contain.

A subjectless king is no king.

The bird can drink much, but the elephant drinks more.

One boat does not load another.

Trust not a woman: she will tell you what she
has just told her companion.

He who runs away and escapes is clever.

Toasted seeds jump, but they always
fall towards their companions.

If the bird drinks not at the stream,
it knows its own watering place.

To go where there is no road is better than
to remain without doing anything.

One walks on the serpent's tracks when it is no longer there.

He who wears too fine clothes, shall go about in rags.

He who crosses the sea is wet.

What the child says, he has heard at home.

The split tree still grows.

The child looks everywhere and often sees nothing.

A woman who has lost her rival has no sorrow.

One cannot part two fighting bulls.

The dog that has left the house has no master.

The best words give no food.

The frog enjoys itself in water, but not in hot water.

The first who speaks of lawsuit is not always right.

A good action is better than a bad action.

He who has no ears, hears not.

Before one replies, one must be present.

The cup finds not out its master's death.

Without fingers the hand would be a spoon.

Curiosity often leads men into bitterness.

No one should say that which he knows not.

All the flowers of a tree do not produce fruit.

If the dog is not at home, he barks not.

We go quickly where we are sent when
we take interest in the journey.

An elephant can do nothing to a tamarind tree,
except it be to shake it.

One walks on the serpent's tracks when it is no longer there.

Know yourself better than he does who speaks of you.

He who loves money must labor.

All that one cuts falls to the ground, except the melon.

If the dog is not at home, he barks not.

One must talk little and listen much.

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