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Title: "Gombo Zhèbes" - Little Dictionary of Creole Proverbs
Author: Hearn, Lafcadio, 1850-1904
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  Transcriber’s Notes:

  Small capitals in the original work are here represented in ALL
  CAPITALS. Italic text has been transcribed between underscores, as in

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  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1885, by
  in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.



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 for a basis, but also comprising occasionally “losé,
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 filé,”
“gombo févi,” and “gombo aux herbes,” or as our colored cook calls it,
“gombo zhèbes”--for she belongs to the older generation of Creole
_cuisinières_, 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_:--the modern patois is becoming more and
more Frenchified, and will soon be altogether forgotten, not only
throughout Louisiana, but even in the Antilles. It still, however,
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 “Creole”: they call it _gombo_, for
some mysterious reason which I have never been able to explain
satisfactorily. 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:--_Ça ou ka palé là, chè, c’est nèg:--Ça pas
Créole!_ (“_What you talk is ‘nigger,’ my dear:--that isn’t Creole!_”)
In like manner a young Creole negro or negress of New Orleans might tell
an aged member of his race: “_Ça qui to parlé ça pas Créole: ça 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 “gombo” has perhaps even more varieties than there are
preparations of the esculents above referred to;--the patois has
certainly its gombo févi, its gombo filé, its “gombo zhèbes”--both
written and unwritten. A work like Marbot’s “Bambous” would deserve to
be classed with the pure “févi”;--the treatises of Turiault, Baissac,
St. Quentin, Thomas, rather resemble that fully prepared dish, in which
crabs seem to struggle with fragments of many well-stewed meats, all
strongly seasoned with pepper. The present essay at Creole folklore, can
only be classed as “gombo zhèbes”--(_Zhèbes çé feuil-chou, cresson,
laitie, bettrav, losé, 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 contributed by
him. The sources of the other proverbs will be found under the head of
Creole 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
not always elegant, 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 naïve 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. 161, 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 themselves, 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 found 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 accentuation. 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 _cabritt_; another _cabrite_, 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 was the
French “_r_” pronounced in former days; it was either totally
suppressed, as in the word “fòce” (_force_), or exchanged for a vowel
sound, as in _bouanche_ (for _branche_). The delicate and difficult
French sound of _u_ was changed into _ou_; the sound _en_ was simplified
into _é_; 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
_lanmou_, _canmarade_, _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, adulterated with
Malgache and Chinese words)--the true article is either suppressed or
transformed into a prefix or affix of the noun, as in _femme-la_ “the
woman,” or _yon lagrimace_, 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; participles 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 Créoles,” rich
in pictures of the old French colonial life. The foreign philological
reviews 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
set an example. _Gouïe passé, difil sivré_:--let the needle but pass,
the thread will follow.

  L. H.


☞ 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.

  BRUYÈRE (LOYS)--“Proverbes Créoles de la Guyane Française.” (In
  l’Almanach des Traditions Populaires, 1883. Paris: Maisonneuve et

  BAISSAC (M. C.)--“Étude sur le Patois Créole Mauricien.” Nancy:
  Imprimerie Berger-Levrault & Cie., 1880.

  MARBOT--“Les Bambous.” Fables de La Fontaine travesties en Patois
  Créole 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.

  TURIAULT (J.)--“Étude sur le Langage Créole de la Martinique.”
  (Extrait du Bulletin de la Société Académique.) Brest: Lefournier,

  DE ST.-QUENTIN (AUGUSTE)--Introduction à l’Histoire de Cayenne, suivie
  d’un Recueil de Contes, Fables, et Chansons en Créole. Notes et
  Commentaires par Alfred de St.-Quentin. Étude sur la Grammaire Créole
  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,

Little Dictionary of Creole Proverbs.

[_Most of the proverbs quoted in Martinique are current also in
Guadeloupe, only 90 miles distant. All proverbs recognized in Louisiana
are marked by an asterisk (*). The indications,_ MAURITIUS, GUYANA,
MARTINIQUE, HAYTI, _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 tombé toutt mounn di: C’est bois pourri. (Quand l’Acoma est
tombé, tout le monde dit: C’est du bois pourri.)

  “When the Acoma has fallen everybody says: ‘It’s only rotten

  [1] 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.

2. A fòce macaque caressé yche li ka touffé li. (À force de caresser son
petit le macaque l’étouffe.)

  “The monkey smothers its young one by hugging it too much.”--[_Mart._]

3. Aspère[2] iéve dans marmite avant causé. (Attendez que le lièvre 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._]

  [2] Evidently a creolization of the Spanish _esperar_.

4. Avant bois[3] d’Inde té pòté graine, macaque té nouri yche yo. (Avant
que l’arbre d’Inde portâit des graines, les macaques nourissaient leurs

  “Before the Indian tree (?) bore seed the monkeys were able to nourish
  their young.”--[_Martinique._]

  [3] The word bois (wood) is frequently used in Creole for the tree
  itself; and pié-bois (“foot of the wood”) for the trunk or stump. “Yon
  gouòs pié-bois plis facile déraciné qu’mauvais l’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 I 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--whether the mango, or China-berry. No tree is generally
  recognized by that name in Louisiana.

5. Avant zabocat macaque ka nouri yche li. (Avant qu’il y eût des
avocados, les macaques nourissaient leurs petits.)

  “The monkey could nourish its young, before there were any

  [4] 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

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

  “Well dressed to-day; only a langouti[5] tomorrow.”--[_Mauritius._]

  [5] The langouti was the garment worn about the loins by male slaves
  in Mauritius--who were wont to labor otherwise naked. In Creole both
  _caser_ and _taper_ signify “to put on,” with the difference that
  _caser_ generally refers to good clothes. In colloquial French _tapé_
  means “stylishly dressed,” “well-rigged-out,” etc.

7. Azourdi soûle bon temps, dimain pagayé. (Aujourd’hui soûl de plaisir,
demain la pagaye.)

  “To-day drunk with fun, to-morrow the paddle.” Allusion to slavery

8. Azourdi tout marmites dibout làhaut difé. (Aujourd’hui toutes les
marmites sont debout sur le feu.)

  “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

9. Azourdi tout femmes alle confesse, més lhére zautes tourne léglise
dìabe zétte encore pécé av zautes. (Aujourd’hui toutes les femmes vont à
confesse; mais quand elles reviennent de l’église le diable leur jette
encore des péchés.)

  “All the women go to confession now-a-days; but they no sooner return
  from church, than the devil piles more sins upon

10. Babe canmarade ou pris difé, rousé ta ou. (Quand la barbe de ton
camarade brûle, arrose la tienne.)

  “If you see your neighbor’s beard on fire, water your

  [6] “Take example by the misfortune of others.” I much doubt the
  Creole origin of any proverb relating to the _beard_. 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 quenne_ instead of _ta ou_. The
  Spanish origin of the Creole _quenne_ is obvious.

11. Babiez mouche, babiez viande. (Grondez les mouches, grondez la

  “Scold the flies, scold the meat.”--[_Hayti._]

12. Badnèn bien èpis macaque; main pouèngâde manyèn lakhé 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. Baggïe qui fair ziex fair nez. (Les choses qui font [mal aux] yeux,
font [mal au] nez.)

  “What troubles the eyes affects the nose.”[7]--[_Trinidad._]

  [7] I believe there is an omission in Thomas’ version, and that the
  Creole ought to read: “_Baggaie qui fair mal ziex fair mal nez._”
  _Baggaie_ has a hundred meanings: “thing,” “affair,” “business,”
  “nonsense,” “stuff,” etc.

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

  “Much bagasse and little juice.” (The bagasse is the refuse of the
  cane, after the sap has been extracted.)--[_Mauritius._]

15. Baignèn iches moune; main pas lavez dêïer zoreîes yeaux. (Baignez
les enfants des autres [lit: du monde]; mais ne les lavez pas derrière
les oreilles.)

  “Bathe other people’s children; but don’t wash behind their
  ears.”--That is to say: Do not be servile in obsequiousness to

16. Balié nef, balié prope. (Un 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._]

17. Bardeaux[8] couvert tout. (Les bardeaux couvrent tout.)

  “Shingles cover everything.”--Family roofs often cover a multitude of
  sins. [_Mauritius._]

  [8] 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.

18. Báton pas fò passé[9] sabe. (Le bâton n’est pas plus fort que le

  “The stick is not stronger than the sabre.”--[_Martinique._]

  [9] _Passé_--_lit_: “past”--therefore synonymous with “beyond.” Word
  for word the translation would be:--“The stick is not strong beyond
  the sword.” But the Creole generally uses “plis....passé” instead of
  the French plus....que (“more than”). “Victorine li plis zolie passé
  Alphonsine”--Victorine is more pretty than Alphonsine. The Creole
  _passé_ is really adverbial; bearing some semblance to the old English
  use of the word “passing,” as in “_passing_ strange,” “_passing_

19. Batté rendé zamés fére mal. (Les coups rendus ne font jamais de

  “Blows returned never hurt.”--Vengeance is sweet.--[_Mauritius._]

20. Bef pas bousoin lakhê li yon sel fois pou chassé mouche. (Le bœuf
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

  [10] 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.

21. Bef pas jamain ka dîe savane, “Meçi!” (Le bœuf ne dit jamais à la
savane, “Merci!”)

  “Ox never says ‘Thank you,’ to the pasture.”[11]--[_Trinidad._]

  [11] 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.

22. Béfs laquée en lére, mauvés temps napas loin. (Les bœufs ont la
queue en l’air, le mauvais temps n’est pas loin.)

  “When the oxen lift their tails in the air, look out for bad

23. * Bel tignon[12] pas fait bel négresse. (Le beau tignon ne fait pas
la belle negresse.)

  “It isn’t the fine head-dress that makes the fine

  [12] The Louisiana _tiyon_ or _tignon_ [_tiyon_ is the true Creole
  word] is the 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
  chinoise_, _tiyon Créole_, etc. An old New Orleans ditty is still
  sung, of which the refrain is:--

    Madame Caba!
      Tiyon vous tombé!
    Madame Caba,
      Tiyon vous tombé!

  “Madame Caba, your tiyon’s falling off!”

24. Bénéfice ratt, c’est pou sèpent. (Le bénéfice du rat, c’est pour le

  “The rat’s gains are for the serpent.”--[_Martinique._]

25. Bon bagout çappe la vie. (Bon bagou sauve la vie.)

  “Good gab saves one’s life.”--[_Mauritius._]

26. Bon blanc mouri; mauvais rêté. (Le bon blanc meurt; le mauvais
[méchant] reste.)

  “The good white man dies; the bad remains.”--[_Hayti._]

27. Bon-bouche ka gagnin chouvals à crédit. (La bonne bouche[13] obtient
des chevaux à credit.)

  “Fair words buy horses on credit.”--[_Trinidad._]

  [13] That is to say: _la bonne langue_;--“the good tongue gets horses
  on credit.”

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

  “A good dog never gets a good bone.”--Creole adaptation of an old
  French proverb.--[_Martinique._]

29. Bon coq chanté dans toutt pouleillé. (Un bon coq chante dans tout
[n’importe quel] poulailler.)

  “A good cock crows in any henhouse.”--Meaning that force of character
  shows itself under all circumstances.--[_Martinique._]

30. Bondié baille nouèsett pou ça qui pas ni dent. (Le Bon Dieu donne
des noisettes à celui qui n’a pas de dents.)

  “God gives nuts to people who have no teeth.” Originally an Oriental
  proverb; adopted into Creole from the French. As we say: “A fool for

31. Bon-Guè ka baille ti zouèseau dans bois mangé, jigé sì li pas ké
baille chritien mangé. (Le Bon Dieu donne à manger aux petits oiseaux
qui sont dans les bois; jugez s’il ne donnera pas à manger à un

  “God gives the little birds in the wood something to eat; judge for
  yourself, then, whether he will not give a Christian something to

  [14] Such a conversation as the following may not unfrequently be
  heard among the old colored folk in New Orleans:--

  --“Eh! Marie! to papé travaï jordi?”


  --“Eh, ben! comment to fé pou vive, alors?”

  --“_Ah!....ti zozo li ka boi, li ka mangé, li pas travaï toujou!_”

  [“Hey, Marie!--Ain’t you going to work to-day?” “I?--no!” “Well then,
  how do you manage to live?” “_Ah!....little bird drinks, little bird
  eats, little bird doesn’t work all the same!_”]

32. Bon lilit, bon ménaze. (Bon lit, bon ménage.)

  “Where there’s a good bed, there’s good housekeeping.”--[_Mauritius._]

33. Bon piè sauvé mauvais cò. (Un bon pied sauve un mauvais corps.)

  “A good (swift) foot saves a bad (weakly) body.”--Like our proverbial
  refrain: “He that fights and runs away,” etc.[15]--[_Martinique._]

  [15] Or like the Old Country saying “Better a good run than a bad

34. * Bon-temps fait crapaud manqué bounda. (Le bon temps fait manquer
de derrière au crapaud.)

  “Idleness leaves the frogs without buttocks.”--[_Louisiana._]

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

  “Good fortune is never hunch-backed.” (Same proverb in Martinique
  dialect, and in that of Louisiana.)[16]--[_Trinidad._]

  [16] In Creole _bon temps_ most generally signifies “idleness,” and is
  not always used in a pleasant sense. Prov. 35 is susceptible of
  several different applications.

36. Bon valett ni lakhé coupé. (Le bon valet a la queue coupée.)

  “The good servant’s tail is cut off.”--Reference to the condition of a
  dog whose tail is cut off: he can’t wag his tail, because he has no
  tail to wag![17]--[_Martinique._]

  [17] The good servant does not fawn, does not flatter, does not affect
  to be pleased with everything his master does--he may emulate the dog
  in constant faithfulness, not in fawning.

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

38. Boucoup disic dans cannes, més domaze marmites napas nous. (Beaucoup
de sucre dans les cannes, mais par malheur nous ne sommes pas les

  “Plenty of sugar in the canes; but unfortunately we are not the
  boilers.”--Said when dishonesty is discovered in the management of

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

  “The belly has no ears.”--[_Trinidad._]

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

  “He-goat makes the gombo; but Rabbit eats it.”[18]--[_Louisiana._]

  [18] This proverb is founded upon one of the many amusing Creole
  animal-fables, all bearing the title: _Compè Bouki épis Compè Lapin_
  (“Daddy Goat and Daddy Rabbit”.) The rabbit always comes out
  victorious, as in the stories of Uncle Remus.

41. Ça ou jété jòdi épis piè, ou ramassé li dimain épis lanmain. (Ce que
vous rejetez aujourd’hui avec le pied, vous le ramasserez demain avec la

  “What you push away from you to-day with your foot, you will pick up
  to-morrow with your hand.”[19]--[_Martinique._]

  [19] “Waste not, want not.”

42. Ça ou pédi nen fè ou va trouvé nen sann. (Ce que vous perdez dans le
feu, vous le retrouverez dans la cendre.)

  “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,”

43. * Ça qui bon pou zoie, bon pou canard. (Ce qui est bon pour l’oie,
est bon pour le canard.)

  “What is good for the goose is good for the duck.”--[_Martinique._]

44. Ça qui boudé manze boudin. (Celui qui boude mange du boudin.)

  “He who sulks eats his own belly.” That is to say, spites himself. The
  pun is untranslatable.[20]--[_Mauritius._]

  [20] _Boudin_ in French signifies a pudding, in Creole it also
  signifies the belly. Thus there is a double pun in the patois.

45. Ça qui dourmi napas pensé manzé. (Qui dort ne pense pas à manger.)

  “When one sleeps, one doesn’t think about eating.”[21]--[_Mauritius._]

  [21] “_Qui dort, dine_,” is an old French proverb.

46. Ça qui fine goûté larac zamés perdi son goût. (Celui qui a goûté
l’arac n’en oublie jamais le goût.)

  “He who has once tasted arrack never forgets the

47. Ça qui gagné piti mil dehors, veillé laplie. (Celui qui a un peu de
mil dehors veille la pluie.)

  “He who has [would raise] a little millet out of doors, watches for

48. Ça qui gagne zoli fille gagne coudeçapeau. (Celui qui a une jolie
fille reçoit des coups de chapeau.)

  “He who has a pretty daughter receives plenty of

49. Ça qui mangé zé pas save si bonda poule fait li mal. (Ceux qui
mangent des œufs ne savent pas si le derrière de la poule lui fait mal.)

  “Those who eat eggs don’t know whether the chicken

  [22] 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.

50. Ça qui ni bon piè prend douvant. (Celui qui a bon pied prend le

  “He who is swift of foot takes the lead.” Force of character always
  brings its possessor to the front.--[_Mart._]

51. Ça qui pas bon pou sac pas bon pour maconte. (Ce qui n’est pas bon
pour le sac, n’est pas pour le maconte.)

  “What is not fit for the bag, is not fit for the

  [23] _Waïá_ in Trinidad Creole. _Maconte_ is probably from the Spanish
  _macóna_, a basket without handles. The Haytian maconte is a sort of
  basket made of woven grass, and used for carrying all kinds of
  articles. It is strapped to the shoulders.

52. Ça qui prend zassocié prend maite. (Celui qui prend un associé prend
(se donne) un maître.)

  “He who takes a partner takes a master.”--[_Martinique._]

53. Ça qui ti bien fére, zamés ti mal fére. (Ce qui est bien fait, n’est
jamais mal fait.)

  “What’s rightly done is never wrongly done.”--That is to say: Never
  regret anything done for a good motive.--[_Mauritius._]

54. Ça qui tine poélon qui cone so prix lagresse. (C’est celui qui tient
le poêlon qui connaît le prix de la graisse.)

  “It’s the one who holds the skillet that knows the cost of

55. Ça qui touyé son lecorps travaille pour levéres. (Celui qui tue son
propre corps, travaille pour les vers.)

  “He who kills his own body, works for the worms.” Applicable to those
  who injure their health by excesses.--[_Mauritius._]

56. Ça qui vlé couvé, couvé su zè yo. (Ceux qui veulent couver, qu’elles
couvent leurs propres œufs.)

  “Let those who want to hatch hatch their own eggs.”--That is, let
  everybody mind his or her own business.--[_Martinique._]

57. * Ça va rivé dans semaine quatte zheudis. (Cela va arriver dans la
semaine de quatre jeudis.)

  “That will happen in the week of four Thursdays.”[24]--[_Louisiana._]

  [24] Ironically said to those who make promises which there is no
  reason to believe will ever be fulfilled.

58. Ça ziè pas vouè khè pas fè mal. (Ce que les yeux ne voient pas, ne
fait pas de mal au cœur.)

  “What the eyes don’t see never hurts the heart.”[25]--[_Martinique._]

  [25] _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.”

59. Cabritt[26] boué, mouton sou. (Quand la chèvre boit, c’est le mouton
qui est soûl.)

  “When the goat drinks, they say the sheep is drunk.”--Meaning that the
  innocent are made to suffer for the guilty.--[_Martinique._]

  [26] _Cabri_ in French signifies a kid; in Creole it signifies either
  a kid or a goat--more generally the latter. The word was originally
  spelled with a final _t_; 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.

60. Cabritt li ka monté roche, li descende. (Chèvre qui a monté un
rocher doit en descendre.)

  “The goat that climbs up the rocks must climb down

61. Cabritt pas connaitt goumé,[27] mais cui li batte la charge. (La
chèvre ne sait pas le battre; mais son cuir [sa peau] bat la charge.)

  “The goat does not know how to fight; but his hide beats the

  [27] _Goumé_, or in some dialects, _goumein_, is said by Turiault to
  be a verb of African origin--_Étude sur la langage Créole_, page 142.
  Still we have the French word _gourmer_, signifying to curb a horse,
  also, to box, to give cuffs.

62. Cabritt qui pas malin pas gras. (La chèvre qui n’est pas maligne
n’est pas grasse.)

  “The goat that isn’t cunning never gets fat.”--[_Martinique._]

63. Cabrite qui pas malin mangé nen pié morne. (La chèvre qui n’est pas
maligne, mange au pied du morne.)

  “The foolish goat eats at the foot of the hill.”--[_Hayti._]

64. Canari vlé rîe chôdier. (Le canari [le pot] veut rire de la
chaudière [la marmite].)

  “The clay-pot wishes to laugh at the iron pot.”[28]--[_Trinidad._]

  [28] “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 cassé dans difé._”

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

  “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 lì baingnein i lè trouvé pou lì nagé. (Le
canard n’a pas de l’eau pour se laver, et il veut trouver assez pour

  “The duck hasn’t enough water to wash with, and he wants enough to
  swim in.”--Refers to those who live beyond their

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

  “The coward lives a long time.”[29]--[_Louisiana._]

  [29] The word _capon_ is variously applied by Creoles as a term of
  reproach. It may refer rather to stinginess, hypocrisy, or
  untruthfulness, than to cowardice. We have in New Orleans an ancient
  Creole ballad of which the refrain is:

    Alcée Leblanc
    Mo di toi, chère,
    _To trop capon
    Pou payé menage!_
    C’est qui di ça,--
    Ça que di toi chère,
    Alcée Leblanc!

  In this case the word evidently refers to the niggardliness of
  _Alcée_, who did not relish the idea of settling $500 or perhaps
  $1,000 of furniture upon his favorite quadroon girl. The song itself
  commemorates customs of slavery days. Those who took to themselves
  colored mistresses frequently settled much property upon them--the
  arrangement being usually made by the mother of the girl. Housekeeping
  outfits of this character, constituting a sort of dowry, ranged in
  value from $500 to even $2,500; and such dowries formed the foundation
  of many celebrated private lodging houses in New Orleans kept by
  colored women. The quadroon housekeepers have now almost all

68. * Çaquéne senti so doulére. (Chacun sent sa douleur.)

  “Everybody has his own troubles.”--[_Mauritius._]

69. Çarbon zamés va done la farine. (Le charbon jamais ne donnera de

  “Coal will never make flour.”--You can’t wash a negro

70. Çatte boire dilhouile enbas latabe. (Le chat boit l’huile sous la

  “Cat’s drinking the oil under the table.”--People are making fun at
  your expense, though you don’t know it.--[_Mauritius._]

71. Çatte noir apéle larzent.[30] (Un chat noir présage [appelle] de

  “A black cat brings money (good luck.)”--[_Mauritius._]

  [30] This is certainly of English origin.

72. Çatte qui éna matou fére lembarras. (La chatte qui a un matou fait
ses embarras.)

  “The she-cat who has a tom-cat, puts on airs.”--[_Mauritius._]

73. Çatte qui fine bourle av difé pére lacende. (Le chat qui s’est brûlé
avec le feu, a peur de la cendre.)

  “When a cat has been once burned by fire, it is even afraid of

74. Causer cé manger zoreîes. (Causer, c’est le manger des oreilles.)

  “Conversation is the food of the ears.”--[_Trinidad._]

75. C’est bon khé crâbe qui lacause li pas tini tête. (C’est à cause de
son bon cœur que le crabe n’a pas de tête.)

  “It is because of his good heart that the crab has no

  [31] Implies that excessive good nature is usually indicative of
  feeble reasoning-power.

76. * C’est couteau qui connaite ça qui dans cœur geomon. (C’est le
couteau qui sait ce qu’il y a dans le cœur du giromon.)

  “It’s the knife that knows what’s in the heart of the

  [32] This proverb exists in five Creole dialects. In the Guyana patois
  it is slightly different: _Couteau oûnso connain quior iniam_ (le
  couteau seul connaît le cœur de l’igname.) “It’s only the knife knows
  what’s in the heart of the yam.”

77. C’est cuiller qui allé lacail[33] gamelle; gamelle pas jamain allé
lacail cuiller. (C’est la cuiller qui va à la maison de la gamelle;
jamais la gamelle ne va à la maison de la cuiller.)

  “Spoon goes to bowl’s house; bowl never goes to spoon’s

  [33] _Caïe_ 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.”

78. C’est douvant tambou nion connaitt Zamba. (C’est devant le tambour
qu’on reconnaît Zamba.)

  “It’s before the drum one learns to know Zamba.”--[_Hayti._]

79. C’est langue crapaud[34] qui ka trahî crapaud. (C’est la langue du
crapaud qui le trahit.)

  “It’s the frog’s own tongue that betrays him.”--[_Trinidad._]

  [34] 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 “gwoonouïlle.” But in Louisiana there is a
  word used for frog, a delightful and absolutely perfect onomatopœia:
  OUAOUARON (wahwahron).

I think the prettiest collection of Creole onomatopœia made by any
folklorist is that in Baissac’s _Étude sur le Patois Créole 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.

80. C’est lhé vent ka venté, 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

  “It’s when the wind is blowing that folks can see the skin of a
  fowl.”--True character is revealed under adverse

81. C’est nans temps laplîe béf bisoèn lakhé lì. (C’est dans le temps de
pluie que le bœuf a besoin de sa queue.)

  “It’s in the rainy season that the ox needs his tail.”--(See
  Martinique proverb No. 20.) [_Trinidad._]

82. C’est pas toutt les-jou guiabe n’empòte you pauve nhomme. (Ce n’est
pas tous les jours que le diable emporte un homme pauvre.)

  “It isn’t every day that the devil carries off a poor

83. Cé souliers tout-sêl qui save si bas tinî 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

84. Chaque bêtè-à-fè clairé pou nânme yo. (Chaque mouche-à-feu éclaire
pour son âme.)

  “Every fire-fly makes light for its own soul;” that is to say, “Every
  one for himself.”--[_Martinique._]

85. Chatt pas là, ratt ka baill[35] bal. (Absent le chat, les rats
donnent un bal.)

  “When the cat’s away the rats give a ball.”--[_Martinique._]

  [35] _Baïll_ (to give) affords example of a quaint French verb
  preserved in the Creole dialect,--_bailler_. It can be found in
  MOLIÈRE. Formerly a Frenchman would have said, “_Bailler sa foi,
  bailler sa parole._” It is now little used in France, except in such
  colloquialisms as, “_Vous me la baillez belle!_”

86. * Chatte brilé pair di feu. (Le chat brûlé 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 mordé petite li jusque nen zos. (La chienne ne mord
jamais ses petits jusqu’à l’os.)

  “The bitch never bites her pups to the bone.”--[_Hayti._]

89. * Chien jappé li pas mordé. (Le chien qui jappe ne mord pas.)

  “The dog that yelps doesn’t bite.”--[_Louisiana._]

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

  “Dogs do not eat dogs.”--[_Louisiana._]

91. Chien qui fé caca dans chimin li blié, mais ça qui tiré pas blié.
(Le chien qui fait caca sur le chemin, oublie; mais celui qui l’en ôte,
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 fòte à caïe maitè li. (Le chien a la gueule forte
dans la maison de son maître.)

  “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 quatre pattes mais 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 rété nen zécurie, milett nen savane. (Le cheval reste dans
l’écurie, le mulet dans la savane.)

  “The horse remains in the stable, the mule in the

  [36] Each one must be content with his own station. Here the mule
  seems to represent the slave; the horse, the master or overseer.

95. * Cila qui rit vendredi va pleuré 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

96. Ciramon[37] pas donne calabasse. (Le giraumon ne donne pas la

  “The pumpkin doesn’t yield the calabash.”--[_Hayti._]

  [37] I give the spelling _Ciramon_ as I find it in Mr. Bigelow’s
  contributions to _Harper’s Magazine_, 1875. (See BIBLIOGRAPHY.)
  Nevertheless I suspect the spelling is wrong. In Louisiana Creole we
  say _Giromon_. The French word is _Giraumon_.

97. * Cochon conné sir qui bois l’apé frotté. (Le cochon sait bien sur
quel arbre [bois] il va se frotter.)

  “The hog knows well what sort of tree to rub himself

  [38] In most of the Creole dialects several different versions of a
  popular proverb are current. A friend gives me this one of proverb 97:
  _Cochon-marron conné enhaut qui bois li frotté._ (“The wild hog knows
  what tree to rub himself upon.”) _Marron_ is applied in all forms of
  the Creole patois to _wild_ things; _zhèbes marrons_ signifies “wild
  plants.” The term, _couri-marron_, or _nègue-marron_ formerly
  designated a runaway slave in Louisiana as it did in the Antilles.
  There is an old New Orleans saying:

    “_Après yé tiré canon
    Nègue sans passe c’est nègue-marron._”

  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 clipt 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-cimarrón_,
  as it still is in some parts of Cuba.

98. Coment to tale to natte faut to dourmi. (Comment tu étends ta natte
il faut que tu te couches.)

  “As you spread your mat, so must you lie.”--[_Mauritius._]

99. * Compé Torti va doucement; mais li rivé coté bîte pendant Compé
Chivreil apé dormi. (Compère Tortue va doucement; mais il arrive au bût
pendant que Compère Chevreuil dort.)

  “Daddy Tortoise goes slow; but he gets to the goal while Daddy Deer is

  [39] Based upon the Creole fable of _Compère Tortue_ and _Comperè
  Chevreuil_, rather different from the primitive story of the Hare and
  the Tortoise.

100. Complot plis fort passé ouanga.[40] (Le complot est plus fort que

  “Conspiracy is stronger than witchcraft.”--[_Hayti._]


    Di moin si to gagnin nhomme!
      Mo va fé ouanga pou li;
    Mo fé li tourné fantôme
      Si to vlé 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
  vouè, touè Adèle_, from which the above lines are taken, the wooer
  threatens to get rid of a rival by _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
  _grigri_, 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 promising her daughter a charm
  to prevent the white lover from forsaking her; _Pou tchombé li na fé
  grigri_--“We shall make a _grigri_ to keep him.”

101. Conseillére napas payére. (Le donneur de conseil n’est pas le

  “The adviser is not the payer.” That is to say, the one who gives
  advice has nothing to lose.--[_Mauritius._]

102. Coq çanté divant la porte, doumounde vini. (Quand le coq chante
devant la porte quelqu’un vient.)

  “When the cock crows before the door, somebody is

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

103. Cououì pas laide, temps lafôce pas là. (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

104. Coup de langue pis mauvais piqú sèpent. (Un coup de langue est plus
mauvais qu’une piqûre de serpent.)

  “A tongue-thrust is worse than a serpent’s sting.”--[_Martinique._]

105. Coudepìed napas empéçe coudecorne. (Les coups de pied n’empêchent
pas les coups de corne.)

  “Kicking doesn’t hinder butting.” There is more than one way to
  revenge oneself.--[_Mauritius._]

106. Coupé son nenez, volor so figuire. (Couper son nez, c’est voler sa

  “Cutting off one’s nose is robbing one’s face.”--[_Mauritius._]

107. * Coupé zoré 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

  [42] This seems to me much wittier than our old proverb: “You can’t
  make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

108. Couroupas dansé, zaco rìé. (Le couroupas [colimaçon] danse le singe

  “Monkey laughs when the snail dances.”[43]--[_Mauritius._]

  [43] Probably had its origin in a Creole _conte_. Same applications as
  Proverbs 236, 263, 315.

109. Çouval napas marce av bourique. (Le cheval ne marche pas avec

  “The horse doesn’t walk with the ass.”--Let each keep his proper

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

111. Crabe pas mâché, li pas gras;--li mâche touop, et li tombé nans
chôdiér. (Le crabe ne marche pas, il n’est pas gras; il marche trop, et
il tombe dans la chaudière).

  “The crab doesn’t walk, he isn’t fat; he walks too much, and falls
  into the pot.”--[_Trinidad._]

112. * Craché nen laire, li va tombé enhaut vou nez. (Crachez dans
l’air, il vous en tombera sur le nez).

  “If you spit in the air, it will fall back on your own

  [44] 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 proverb in the Mauritian dialect.

113. Crapaud pas tini chímise, ous vlé li pôte caneçon. (Le crapaud n’a
pas de chemise, et vous voulez qu’il porte caleçon).

  “The frog has no shirt, and you want him to wear

114. Cresson content boire dileau. (Le cresson aime à boire l’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

115. Croquez maconte ou oueti[45] main ou ka rivé. (Accrochez votre
maconte où vous pouvez l’atteindre avec la main [lit. où vôtre main peut

  “Hang up your _maconte_ where you can reach it with your

  [45] The Martinique dialect gives both _oti_ and _outi_ for “où”:
  “where.” Mr. Bigelow gives the curious spelling _croquez_. The word is
  certainly derived from the French, _accrocher_. In Louisiana Creole we
  always say _’croché_ for “hang up.” I doubt the correctness of the
  Haytian spelling as here given: for the French word _croquer_ (“to
  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.

116. D’abord vous guetté poux de bois mangé bouteille, croquez calabasse
vous haut. (Quand vous voyez les poux-de-bois manger les bouteilles,
accrochez vos calabasses [en] haut).

  “When you see the woodlice eating the bottles, hang your calabashes
  out of their reach.”[46]--[_Hayti._]

  [46] Mr. Bigelow is certainly wrong in his definition of the origin of
  the word which he spells _queté_. It is a Creole adoption of the
  French _guetter_, “to watch:” and is used by the Creoles in the sense
  of “observe,” “perceive,” “see.” Other authorities spell it _guêtte_,
  as all verbs ending in “ter” in French make their Creole termination
  in “té.” 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 _çappe_, from _échapper_, is used as an equivalent for

117. D’abord vous guetté poux de bois mangé canari, calebasse pas capabe
prend pied. (Quand que vous voyez les poux-de-bois manger les marmites,
les calebasses ne peuvent pas leur résister).

  “When you see the wood-lice eating the pots, the calabashes can’t be
  expected to resist.”[47]--[_Hayti._]

  [47] The saliva of the tropical woodlouse is said to be powerful
  enough to affect iron.

118. Dans mariaze liciens, témoins gagne batté. (Aux noces des chiens,
les témoins ont les coups.)

  “At a dog’s wedding it’s the witnesses who get hurt.”--[_Mauritius._]

119. Dêïèr chein, cé “chein”; douvant chein, cé “Missier Chein.”
(Derrière le chien, c’est “chien,” mais devant le chien, c’est “Monsieur
le Chien.”)

  “Behind the dog’s back it is ‘dog;’ but before the dog it is ‘Mr.

120. Dent mordé langue. (Les dents mordent la langue.)

  “The teeth bite the tongue.”--[_Hayti._]

121. Dents pas ka pôté dëî. (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._]

122. Dent pas khé (“Dents pas cœur”--Les dents ne sont pas le cœur).

  “The teeth are not the heart.” A curious proverb, referring to the
  exposure of the teeth by laughter.[48]--[_Martinique._]

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

123. * Di moin qui vous laimein, ma di vous qui vous yé. (Dites moi qui
vous aimez, et je vous dirai qui vous êtes.)

  “Tell me whom you love, and I’ll tell you who you

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

  “The water that sleeps kills people.”[49]--[_Mauritius._]

  [49] “Still waters run deep.” The proverb is susceptible of various
  applications. Everyone who has sojourned in tropical, or even
  semi-tropical latitudes knows the deadly nature of stagnant water in
  the feverish summer season.

125. Dimounde qui fére larzent, napas larzent qui fére dimounde. (Ce
sont les hommes qui font l’argent, ce n’est pas l’argent qui fait les

  “It’s the men who make the money; ’tisn’t the money that makes the

126. Divant camrades capabe largué quilotte. (Devant des camarades on
peut lâcher sa culotte.)

  “Before friends one can even take off one’s breeches.”--[_Mauritius._]

127. Divant tranzés faut boutonné canneçon. (Devant des étrangers il
faut boutonner son caleçon.)

  “Before strangers one must keep one’s drawers

128. Dizéfs canard plì gros qui dizéfs poule. (Les œufs de cane sont
plus gros que les œufs de poule.)

  “Ducks’ eggs are bigger than hens’ eggs.”--Quantity is no guarantee of

129. Dizéfs coq, poule qui fére. (Les œufs de coq, c’est la poule qui
les fait.)

  “It’s the hen that makes the cock’s eggs.”--[_Mauritius._]

130. * Dolo toujou couri larivière. (L’eau va toujours à la rivière.)

  “Water always runs to the river.”--[_Louisiana._]

131. Doucement napas empéce arrivér. (Aller doucement n’empêche pas

  “Going gently about a thing won’t prevent its being

  [50] Literally: “Gently doesn’t prevent arriving.” One can reach his
  destination as well by walking slowly, as by making frantic haste.

132. Fair pou fair pas mal. (Faire pour faire n’est pas [mauvais]

  “It is not hard to do a thing for the sake of doing

133. Faut janmain mett racounn[51] dans loge poule. (Il ne faut jamais
mettre un raton dans la loge des poules.)

  “One must never put a ’coon into a henhouse.”--[_Martinique._]

  [51] 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 meaning--_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.

134. Faut jamais porté déil avant défint dans cerkeil. (Il ne faut
jamais porter le deuil avant que le défunt soit dans le cercueil.)

  “Never wear mourning before the dead man’s in his

  [52] Don’t anticipate trouble: “Never bid the devil good morrow till
  you meet him.” “Don’t cross a bridge until you come to it.”

135. Faut páoûoles môr pou moune pè vivre. (Il 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

136. Faut pas cassé so maïe avant li fine mir. (Il ne faut pas casser
son maïs avant qu’il soit mûr.)

  “Musn’t pluck one’s corn before it’s ripe.”--[_Mauritius._]

137. * Faut pas marré tayau[53] avec saucisse. (Il ne faut pas attacher
le chien-courant (taïant) avec des saucisses.)

  “Musn’t tie up the hound with a string of sausages.”--[_Louisiana._]

  [53] Adopted from old French “_taïaut_” (tally-ho!) the cry of the
  huntsman to his hounds. The Creoles have thus curiously, but forcibly,
  named the hound itself.

138. Fére éne tourou pour boucé laute. (Il fait un trou pour en boucher
un autre.)

  “Make one hole to stop another.” “Borrow money to pay a

139. Gambette ous trouvé gan chemin, nen gan chemin ous va pède 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

  [54] I cannot discover the etymology of this word, according to the
  meaning given by Mr. Bigelow. The ordinary French signification of
  _gambette_ is “red-shank”--_Totanus caledris_.

140. Gens bon-temps kállé dîe gouvênér 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

141. * Gens fégnants ka mandé travâï épîs bouche; main khèrs yeaux ka
pouier Bondié pou yeaux pas touver. (Les gens fainéants demandent avec
leurs bouches pour du travail; mais leurs cœurs 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._]

142. Gens qui ka ba ous conseî gagnen chouval gouous-boudin nans
lhouvênaïe, nans carême pas ka rider ous nouri li. (Les gens qui nous
donnent conseil d’acheter un cheval à gros-ventre pendant l’hivernage,
ne veulent point vous aider à le nourrir pendant le carême.)

  “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.”[55]--[_Trinidad._]

  [55] This is J. J. Thomas’ translation, as given in his “Theory and
  Practice of Creole Grammar.” _Lhouvênaïe_ is a word which does not
  exist in our Louisiana patois. Does it come from the Spanish
  _llover_--“to rain”? or is it only a Creole form of the French
  _hivernage_? _Carême_, of course means Lent; whether the dry season in
  Trinidad is concomitant with the Lenten epoch, or whether the Creoles
  of the Island use the word to signify any season of scarcity, I am
  unable to decide.

143. Gouïe passé difil sivré. (Où l’aiguille passe, le fil suivra.)

  “Where the needle passes thread will follow.”[56]--[_Mauritius._]

  [56] When a strong man has opened the way, feebler folks may safely

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

  “Fat has no feeling.”[57]--[_Trinidad._]

  [57] There 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.

145. Haillons mié passé tout nu. (Les haillons sont mieux que de rester
tout nu.)

  “Rags are better than nakedness.” “Half-a-loaf’s better than no

146. Haï moune; main pas ba yeaux pañèn pou châïer dleau. (Hais les
gens; mais ne leur donne pas des paniers pour charrier de l’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 gaté. (Jardin loin, gombo gâté.)

  “When the garden is far, the gombo is spoiled.”[58]--[_Martinique._]

  [58] 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, etc.

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

  [59] 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.

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

  “The devil never sleeps.”--[_Martinique._]

150. Janmain nous ne pas douè ladans quiou poule compté zè. (Il ne faut
jamais [nous ne devons jamais] compter les œufs dans la derrière de la

  “We should never count the eggs in the body of the hen.”-(The Creole
  proverb is, however, less delicate.)--[_Martinique._]

151. Jouè epis chatt ou trappé 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. * Joué épis chien ou trappé pice. (Jouez avec les chiens, vous
aurez des puces.)

  “Play with the dogs, and you will get fleas.”[60]--[_Martinique._]

  [60] This seems to be a universal proverb. In Louisiana we say: _Jouè
  evec, ‘tichien_, etc.

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

  “To-day for you; to-morrow for me.”[61]--[_Hayti._]

  [61] Current also in Louisiana: _Jordi pou vou_, etc.: “Your turn
  to-day; perhaps it may be mine to-morrow.”

154. La oti zouèseau ka fé niche yo, c’est la yo ka couché. (Où les
oiseaux font leur nids, là ils se couchent.)

  “Where the birds build their nests, there they

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

  “The mud laughs at the puddle.”--Like our: “Pot calls kettle

156. Lacase bardeaux napas guétte la case vitivére. (La maison [couverte
de] bardeaux ne regarde point la case couverte de vetiver.)

  “The house roofed with shingles doesn’t look at the hut covered with

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

  “Lagniappe is lawful booty.”[62]--[_Louisiana._]

  [62] _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_.

158. Laguer vêti pas ka pouend viéx nègues nans cabarets. (La guerre
avertie ne prend pas de vieux négres dans les cabarets.)

  “Threatened war doesn’t surprise old negroes in the

  [63] Proverbs 158-9 are equivalent to our “Forewarned is forearmed.”

159. * Laguerre vertie pas tchué beaucoup soldats. (La guerre avertie ne
tue pas beaucoup de soldats.)

  “Threatened war doesn’t kill many soldiers.”--[_Louisiana._]

160. Lakhé bef dit: Temps allé, temps vini. (La queue du bœuf dit: Le
temps s’en va, le temps revient.)

  “The ox’s tail says: Time goes, time comes.”[64]--[_Martinique._]

  [64] 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_).

161. Lalangue napas lézos. (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._]

162. * Lamisère à deux, Misère et Compagnie. (La misère à deux, c’est
Misère et Compagnie.)

  “Misery for two, is Misery & Co.”[65]--[_Louisiana._]

  [65] Refers especially to a man who marries without having made proper
  provision for the future. The Creole does not believe in our reckless
  proverb: “What will keep one, will keep two.” _Non, non, chèr,
  lamisère à deux, Misère & Cie.!_

163. Lapauveté napas éne vis, més li éne bien gros coulou. (La pauvreté
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: Boué toutt, mangé 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

  [66] Founded upon a celebrated Creole fable: see Prov. 40 (_note_).

165. Laplie tombé, couroupas va sourti. (La pluie tombe, les colimaçons
vent sortir.)

  “It is raining; snails will be out presently.”--[_Mauritius._]

166. * Laplie tombé, ouaouaron chanté. (Quand la pluie va tomber, les
grenouilles chantent.)

  “When the rain is coming, the bull-frogs sing.”--[_Louisiana._]

167. Laquée bourique napas laquée çouval. (Une queue d’âne 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.--[_Mauritius._]

168. Larzan bon, més li trop cère. (L’argent est bon, mais il est trop

  “Money’s good; but it’s too dear.”--[_Mauritius._]

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

  “Money isn’t to be found in a mule’s hoof.”--[_Mauritius._]

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

  “Money has no blood relations.”--There is no friendship in

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

  “The cat’s tail takes time to grow.”--[_Louisiana._]

172. Lepé dit aimé ous pendant li ronge doighte ous. (La lépre dit
qu’elle vous aime pendant qu’elle vous ronge les doigts.)

  “The leprosy says it loves you, while it is eating your

173. L’hére coq çanté, li bon pour marié. (Quand le coq chante, il est
bon à marier.)

  “When the cock begins to crow, he is old enough to get

174. Lhére lamontagne bourlé, tout dimounde coné; lhére léquére bourlé,
qui coné? (Quand la montagne brûle, tout le monde le sait; quand le cœur
brûle, qui le sait?)

  “When the mountain burns, everybody knows it; when the heart burns,
  who knows it?”--[_Mauritius._]

175. Li allé l’ecole cabritt, li ritouné mouton. (Il est allé à l’école
[comme un] cabri; il est revenu mouton.)

  “He went to school a kid, and came back a sheep.”[67]--[_Martinique._]

  [67] The allusion to the overgrown and shy schoolboy, who has lost the
  mischievous playfulness of his childhood, is easily recognizable.
  Creole planters of the Antilles generally sent their sons to Europe to
  be educated.

176. Li fine vendé so coçon. (Il a vendu son cochon.)

  “He has sold his pig.”[68]--[_Mauritius._]

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

177. Li laçasse zozos pariaca. (Il chasse aux oiseaux à paliaca.)

  “He’s hunting paliaca-birds.”[69]--[_Mauritius._]

  [69] _Paliaca_ is the Mauritian term for the brightly-colored kerchief
  there worn by all young negresses in lieu of hats or bonnets, like the
  old time Louisiana _tiyon_. “He is hunting for paliaca-birds”
  therefore means, “He is running after the colored girls.”

178. Li manque lagale pour gratté. (Il [ne] manque [que] de gale pour se
gratter. [Lit. In good French: Il 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.[70]--[_Mauritius._]

  [70] We have a singular expression in Louisiana: “_Li metté mantec
  dans so faillots._ (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.

179. Li pour marié; més qulquefois bague mariaze glisse dans lédoight.
(Il doit se marier; mais quelquefois la bague de mariage glisse du

  “He is to be married, they say; but sometimes the marriage-ring slips
  from one’s finger.”[71]--[_Mauritius._]

  [71] “There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.”

180. Li soule bontemps. (Il se soûle de bon temps.)

  “He is drunk with doing nothing.”--[_Mauritius._]

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

  “The yam-vine ties the yam.”[72]--[_Trinidad._]

  [72] In Martinique Creole the proverb is: _Còde gnâme marré gnâme._
  “Code” (_corde_) signifying the same as _liane_, the long cord-like
  stalk of the creeper. Folks are sometimes caught fast in the snares
  they set for others, just as the yam is tied with its own stalk.

182. Lilit pour dé 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. Lizié napas éna balizaze. (Les yeux n’ont pas de frontière.)[73]

  “Eyes have no boundary.” Equivalent to the English saying: “A cat may
  look at a king.”--[_Mauritius._]

  [73] The Mauritian Creoles have adopted a marine word in lieu of the
  French term _frontière_. “Balizaze” is the Creole form of the French
  _balisage_, from _balise_, a sea mark, buoy--word adopted in our own
  nautical technology. The term completely changes its meaning as well
  as its spelling in Creole.

184. Macaque caresser iche li touop, lì fourrer doègt nans ziex li. (Le
macaque, en caressant trop son petit, lui a fourré le doigt dans l’œil.)

  “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.”[74]--[_Louisiana._]

  [74] Allusion to the old fable about the monkey, who after putting his
  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_.

186. * Macaque dit si so croupion plimé ças pas gàdé lezautt. (Le
macaque dit que si son croupion est plumé, ça ne régarde pas les

  “Monkey says if his rump is bare, it’s nobody’s

  [75] Allusion to the callosities of the monkey. Plimé 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.

187. * Macaque pas jamain ka dîe ìche li laide. (Le macaque ne dit
jamais que son petit est laid.)

  “Monkey never says its young is ugly.”[76]--[_Trinidad._]

  [76] 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._

188. Macaque save qui bois li monté; li pas monté zaurangé. (Le macaque
sait sur quel arbre il doit monter; il ne monte pas sur l’oranger.)

  “The monkey well knows what tree to climb; he doesn’t climb an orange

  [77] Because the orange tree is thorny.

189. Magré sèpent ni ti ziè li ka voué clè bien. (Bien que le serpent
ait de petits yeux, il voit très-clair.)

  “Though the serpent has little eyes, he sees very

190. Maite cabrite mandé li; ous pas capabe di li plainda. (Le maître du
cabrit le demande; vous ne pouvez pas vous en plaindre.)

  “The kid’s owner asks for it; you can’t blame him.”[78]--[_Hayti._]

  [78] Mr. Bigelow, in _Harper’s Magazine_, explains the use of this
  proverb by a creditor to a debtor.

191. Maladie vine làhaut iéve; li alle làhaut tourtie. (La maladie vient
sur le lièvre; elle part [s’en va] sur la tortue.)

  “Sickness comes riding upon a hare; but goes away riding upon a

192. Mal hé pas ka châger con lapliè. (Lit: Le malheur ne se charge pas
comme la pluie.)

  “Misfortune doesn’t threaten like rain.”[79]--[_Trinidad._]

  [79] _Le temps se charge_, in French signifies that it is clouding up,
  threatening rain--lit: “loading up.” Misfortune does not threaten
  before it falls.

193. Mamans ka fair iches, main pas khèrs yeaux. (Les mères font les
enfants, mais non pas leurs cœurs.)

  “Mothers make children; but not children’s hearts.”--[_Trinidad._]

194. Manger yon fois pas ka rìser dents. (Manger une fois n’use pas les

  “Eating once doesn’t wear out the teeth.”--[_Trinidad._]

195. Mari napas trouvé dans vétivére. (Un mari ne se trouve pas dans le

  “You won’t find a husband in the _vetiver_.”[80]--[_Mauritius._]

  [80] The delightfully fragrant grass, well-known to pharmaceutists as
  the _Andropogon muricatus_ or _Vetiveria odorata_ is used in Mauritius
  to thatch cabins with. A broad border of this grass is usually planted
  around each square of sugar-cane. It grows tall enough to conceal a
  man, or a couple of lovers holding a rendezvous. Hence the wholesome

196. Mariaze napas pariaze; ménaze napas badinaze. (Le mariage n’est pas
un pari; le ménage n’est pas un badinage.)

  “Marriage is no trifling wager, and housekeeping is no

197. Marié éne boutéye vide. (Epouser une bouteille vide.)

  “Marry an empty bottle.”--Meaning to marry a girl without a

198. * Maringouin perdi so temps quand li piqué caïman. (Le maringoin
perd son temps quand il pique le caïman.)

  “The mosquito loses his time when he tries to sting the

  [81] Ripost to a threat--as we would say: “All that has as little
  effect on me as water on a duck’s back!”

199. Marré conm yon paqué crabe. (Amarré comme un paquet de crabes.)

  “Tangled up, or tied up, like a bundle of crabs.”--Said of people
  notoriously clumsy.[82]--[_Martinique._]

  [82] Anyone who has ever seen a heap 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

200. Mégue coment çatte qui manze lérats-misqué. (Maigre comme un chat
qui mange des rats musqués.)

  “Thin as a cat that lives on musk-rats.”--[_Mauritius._]

201. Même baton qui batte chein nouèr-là, pé batte chein blanc-là. (Le
même bâton qui bat le chien noir peut battre le chien blanc.)

  “The same stick that beats the black dog can beat the

  [83] As one should observe: “I’ve whipped better men than you.”

202. Menti ça pas si mal conm palé 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 couté arien. (“Merci” ne coûte rien.)

  “Thanks cost nothing.”--[_Louisiana._]

204. * Metté milâte enhaut choual, li va dî négresse pas so maman.
(Mettez un mulâtre [en haut] sur un cheval--il [va dire] dira qu’une
négresse n’est pas sa maman.)

  “Just put a mulatto on horseback, and he’ll tell you his mother wasn’t
  a negress.”[84]--[_Louisiana._]

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

205. Mié vaut mangé lamori ou, qu’codeinne leszautt. (Il vaut mieux de
manger [de] la morue [qui est] à vous que le coq-d’Inde aux autres.)

  “Better to eat one’s own codfish than another person’s

206. Milatt ka batt, cabritt ka mò. (Les mulâtres se battent, ce sont
les cabrits qui meurent.)

  “When the mulattoes get to fighting, the goats get

  [85] The feeling of the black to the mulatto is likewise revealed in
  the following dicton:--Nègue pòté maïs dans so lapoche pou volé
  poule;--milatt pòté cordon dans so lapoche pou volé choual;--nhomme
  blanc pòté larzan dans so lapoche pou trompé fille. (Le nègre porte du
  maïs dans sa poche pour voler des poules;--le mulâtre porte un cordon
  dans sa poche pour voler des chevaux;--l’homme blanc porte de l’argent
  dans sa poche pour tromper les filles.)

  “The 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.]

207. Misè fè macaque mangé piment. (La misère force le macaque à manger
du piment.)

  “Misery makes the monkey eat red pepper.”--[_Martinique._]

208. * “Mo bien comm mo yé,” parole rare. (“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

209. * Mo va pas prêté vous bâton pou cassé mo latête. (Je ne vais vous
prêter un bâton pour me casser la tête.)

  “I’m not going to lend you a stick to break my head

210. Moin ainmein plis yon balaou jòdi là qu’taza dimain. (J’aime mieux
un balaou aujourd’hui qu’un tazard demain.)

  “I’d rather have horn-fish to-day, than mackerel

  [86] “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 _l’aiguillette de mer_, hornfish [?].

211. Moin pas ka prend dithé pou fiève li. (Je ne veux pas prendre du
thé pour sa fièvre.)

  “I don’t propose to drink tea for his fever.”[87]--[_Martinique._]

  [87] 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.

212. Montagnes zamés zoinde, domounde zoinde. (Les montagnes ne se
rencontrent jamais, les hommes se rencontrent.)

  “Mountains, only, never meet; men meet.”--We are certain to encounter
  friends and enemies under the most unlikely

213. Mounn ouè défaut les-zautt, yo pas ni zié pou ta yo. (Les gens
voient les défauts des autres, ils n’ont pas d’yeux pour les leurs.)

  “Folks see the faults of others; they have no eyes for their

  [88] 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 modifications; for example,
  instead of “putting the cart before the horse,” the Mauritian negro
  _mette çarette divant milét_, puts the cart before the _mule_--an
  animal with which he is more familiar.

214. Moustique pitit; més lhére li çanté vous zoréye 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

215. Napas éna fromaze qui napas trouve so macathia. (Il n’y a pas de
fromage qui ne trouve son pain bis.)

  “There’s no cheese but what can find brown bread.”[89]--[_Mauritius._]

  [89] 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.

216. Napas rémié fimié sec. (Ne remuez pas le fumier sec.)

  “Don’t stir up dry manure.”--Said to those who desire to resurrect
  forgotten scandal.--[_Mauritius._]

217. Napas vous sangsie qui a monté làhaut moi. (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.--[_Mauritius._]

218. Napas vous laliane darzent qui a monté làhaut 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

  [90] Said by young girls to those whose advances are disagreeable.
  _Khè lanmou pas ka sauté_ (“heart-of-love does not yet leap”) would be
  the more polite response of a Martinique girl.

219. * Napas zoué av difé; wou a boulé vous çimise. (Ne jouez pas avec
le feu; vous vous brûlerez la chemise.)

  “Play with the fire and you’ll burn your shirt.” This proverb appears
  to be current wherever any form of the patois

220. Nîon doight pas jamain mangé calalou. (Avec un seul doigt on ne
peut jamais manger du calalou.)

  “You can’t eat calalou with one finger.”[91]--[_Hayti._]

  [91] The West Indian _calalou_ is made almost precisely like our
  _gombo_-soup. The word is of African origin according to Turiault.

221. Nhomme mort, zhèbes ka lever douvant lapôte li. ([Quand] un homme
[est] mort, l’herbe pousse [lit.: s’élève] devant sa porte.)

  “When a man is dead, the grass grows tall before his

222. Nououi chouval pou baille zofficié monté. (Nourir des chevaux pour
les donner à monter aux officiers.)

  “Feed horses for officers to ride.” To be the victim of one’s own
  foolish liberality.--[_Martinique._]

223. * Oîmso soulié savé si bas tini trou. (Le soulier seul sait si le
bas a un trou.)

  “The shoe only knows whether the stockings have

  [92] In the Martinique dialect it is: _C’est soulié qui save si bas
  tini trou_. In the Trinidad patois: _Cé soulier tout-sél qui save si
  bas tini trou_ (Thomas). In Louisiana Creole: _C’est soulier nek
  connin si bas gagnin trou_. “Nek,” compound from French _ne ...

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

  “Wherever there are bones, there are dogs.” Meaning that when one is
  rich, one has plenty of friends.--[_Martinique._]

225. Ou faché avec gan chemin, que côté ou va passé? (Vous vous fachez
avec le grand chemin, de quel côté irez-vouz?)

  “If you get angry with the high road, what way will you

226. Ou fait semblant mourir, moin fait semblant enterrer ou. (Faites
semblant de mourir, et moi je ferai semblant de vous enterrer.)

  “You pretend to die; and I’ll pretend to bury you.”[93]--[_Hayti._]

  [93] Said to those who relate improbable stories of woe.

227. Ou sauté, ou tombé la menme. (Vous sautez, vouz tombez tout de

  “You jump, but you come down all the same.”[94]--[_Martinique._]

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

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

  “Wherever there’s carrion, there are buzzards.”[95]--[_Louisiana._]

  [95] 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.

229. Ous pôncor travesser läivïèr;--pas jirez maman caïman. (Vous n’avez
pas encore traversé la rivière--ne jurez [maudissez] pas la maman du

  “You haven’t crossed the river yet; don’t curse at the crocodile’s

  [96] “Don’t halloo till you’re out of the wood!”

230. Padon pas ka guéri bosse. (“Pardon” ne guérit pas la bosse.)

  “Asking pardon doesn’t cure the bump.”[97]--[_Martinique._]

  [97] In the Creole of Guyana this proverb exists in a very curious
  form: _Ago pa guéri maleng_.--“the excuse doesn’t cure 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!--clear the way!” The
  Guyana slaves retained the word in a different sense. The negro who
  accidentally jostles anybody, still exclaims _Ago!_--but it now means
  “Beg pardon,” or “Excuse me!”

231. Pâlér pas rimède. (Parler n’est pas un reméde.)

  “Talking is no remedy.” In Creole the word signifies medicine as well
  as _remedy_.--[_Trinidad._]

232. Pâler touop ka lever chein nans dômi. (Trop parler [c’est ce qui]
éveille le chien endormi.)

  “Talking too much arouses the dog from sleep.”[98]--[_Trinidad._]

  [98] Talking too freely about our projects helps our enemies to thwart
  our hopes.

233. Pâoûoles pas tini coulèr. (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. Pâoûoles pas couté cher. (Les paroles ne coûtent pas cher.)

  “Words are cheap.” In Martinique the phrase is _Paoûòles pas châge_:
  (“Words are no weight to carry.”)--[_Trinidad._]

235. * Parole trop fort, machoir gonflé. (Par la parole trop forte, la
machoir est gonflée.)

  “By talking too loud the jaw becomes swelled.”[99]--[_Louisiana._]

  [99] Literally: “Word too strong, 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.

236. Pas fôte langue qui fair bef pas sa pâler. (Ce n’est pas à faute de
langue que le bœuf ne sait pas parler.)

  “It isn’t for want of tongue that the ox can’t talk.”--[_Trinidad._]

237. Pas jou’ moin bien changé, moin ka rencontré nénneine moins. (Ce
n’est pas le jour que je suis bien changé que je vais rencontrer ma

  “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 mangé tè ou vini enflé. (Ce n’est pas le même jour
que vous mangez que vous vous trouvez enflé).

  “It isn’t the same day you eat that you find yourself puffed

  [100] That is to say that the worst results of folly do not always
  manifest themselves when expected.

239. Pauve moune bail déjeuner nans quior. (Les pauvres gens vous
donnent à déjeuner dans leurs cœurs).

  “Poor folks give breakfast with their hearts.”--[_Hayti._]

240. * Pis faibe toujou tini tò. (Le plus faible a toujours tort).

  “The weakest is always in the wrong.”--[_Martinique._]

241. * Piti à piti, zozo fait son nid. (Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son

  “Little by little the bird builds its nest.”--[_Louisiana._]

242. Piti pas coûté so moman, li ka mori gran solé midi. (Petit qui
n’écoute pas sa maman meurt au grand soleil de midi).

  “Little boy who won’t listen to his mother dies under the noonday

  [101] 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.

243. Plis vaut mié vous pitit gagne larhime qui vous arrace son nez. (Il
vaut mieux laisser votre enfant morveux que de lui arracher le nez).

  “Better let your child be snotty, than pull his nose

244. Pou manje, tou bon; pou pâlé pas tou parole. (Pour manger, tout est
bon; pour parler, pas toute parole).

  “Anything is good enough to eat; but every word is not good enough to
  be spoken.”[102]--[_Guyane._]

  [102] In the Martinique dialect: _Toutt mangé, toutt paaule pas bon
  pou di._--[_Turiault._]

245. Poule pas ka vanté bouillon yo. (Les poules ne vantent pas leur
[propre] bouillon.)

  “The chickens don’t brag about their own soup;” i.e.

246. Poule qui çanté ça méme qui fine pondé. (La poule qui chante est
celle-là même qui a pondu).

  “It’s the cackling hen that has laid the egg.”--[_Mauritius._]

247. Poule qui fére dè[103] dizèfs zamés touyé. (La poule qui fait deux
œufs n’est jamais tuée).

  “The hen that lays two eggs is never killed.”--[_Mauritius._]

  [103] The sound of the French _eu_ is rarely preserved in Creole.
  _L’heure_ becomes _lhère_; _peu_, becomes _pè_. The Creole-speaking
  negro says, _Yonne_, _dé_, _tois_, _quate_, _nèf_, instead of “un,
  deux, trois, quatre, neuf.”

248. * Pranne garde vaut miè passé mandé pardon. (Prendre garde vaut
mieux que demander pardon.)

  “It is better to take care beforehand than to ask pardon

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

  “Little thirst, a little cocoa-nut; big thirst, a big

  [104] Like the old country saying: “Big horse, big feed.” The
  cocoa-nut shell was formerly the slave’s drinking cup in Mauritius.

250. Ptit mie tombe, ramassé li; Chrétien tombe, pas ramassé li. (Quand
une petite mie tombe, on la ramasse; quand un Chrétien tombe, on ne le
ramasse pas [i.e., on ne l’aide pas à se relever].)

  “If a little crumb falls, it is picked up; if a Christian falls, he is
  not picked up.”--[_Hayti._]

251. * Quand bois tombé, cabri monté. (Quand l’arbre tombe, le cabri

  “When the tree falls, the kid can climb it.”--[105][_Louisiana._]

  [105] 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 at the point of
  death: “_pauve diabe!_” I asked after the health of her mistress.
  “_Ah! Madame se porte bien; mais . . . quand bois tombé cabri monté_,”
  she replied, half in French, half in her own patois; signifying that
  after the husband’s death, wife and children would find themselves
  reduced to destitution.

252. Quand boudin mòdè, cé pas épi bell plimm[106] yo ka plein li.
(Quand le ventre crie, ce n’est pas avec de beaux habits qu’on le

  “When your stomach gnaws you, it isn’t with fine clothes that you can
  fill it.”--[_Martinique._]

  [106] Literally “feathers”--“_plimm_,” _plumes_. Adopted from a Creole
  version of one of Lafontaine’s fables.

253. * Quand boyaux grogné, bel évite pas fait yé pé. (Quand les boyaux
grognent, un bel habit ne leur fait pas se taire; lit., ne leur fait pas

  “When the bowels growl a fine coat won’t make them hold their

  [107] The words _pè_, _pé_, in Creole are distinguishable only by
  their accentuation. _Peur_ (fear); _peu_ (a little); _paix_ (peace, or
  “hush”); _peut_ (can), all take the form _pè_ or _pé_ in various
  Creole dialects. _Ipas ni pè sépent_: “he is not afraid of snakes.”
  Sometimes one can guess the meaning only by the context, as in the
  Martinique saying: _Pè bef pè caca bef_. “Few oxen, little ox-dung;”
  i.e. “little money, little trouble.” The use of “_pè_” for _père_
  (father), reminds us of a curious note in the Creole studies of the
  brothers Saint-Quentin (See BIBLIOGRAPHY). In the forests of Guiana
  there is a bird whose song much resembles that of our Louisiana
  mocking-bird, but which is far more sonorous and solemn. The Creole
  negroes call it ZOZO MONPÉ (_l’oiseau mon-père_), lit., “The my-father
  bird.” Now _monpè_ is the Creole name 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 _monpè_, a “ghostly father;” and its name
  might be freely translated by “the priest-bird.”

254. Quand cannari pas bouï pou ou, ou donè janmain découvri li. (Quand
le pôt ne bout pas pour vous, vous ne devez jamais le découvrir.)

  “When the pot won’t boil for you, you must never take the lid

  [108] “Watched pot never boils.” The _canari_ was a clay pot as the
  following Creole refrain testifies:

    Ya pas bouillon pou vous, macommère;
        Canari cassé dans difé (bis).
        Bouillon renvèrsé dans difé
    Ya pas bouillon pou vous, macommère
        Canari cassé dans difé.

  [“There’s no soup for you, my gossipping friend; the pot’s broken in
  the fire; the soup is spilled in the fire,” etc.]

255. Quand canon causé, fisil honté. (Quand le canon parle, le fusil a

  “When the cannon speaks, the gun is ashamed.”--[_Mauritius._]

256. Quand diabe alle lamesse li caciétte so laquée. (Quand le diable va
à la messe, il cache sa queue.)

  “When the Devil goes to mass he hides his tail.”--[_Mauritius._]

257. Quand diabe voulé prend vous li cause bondié 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 guétte so labride. (Quand
on vous donne un âne, 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 léve so robe diabe guétte so lazambe. (Quand une femme
relève sa robe le diable regarde sa jambe.)

  “When a woman lifts her dress, the devil looks at her

260. Quand gagne larmoire napas quétte côffe. (Quand on a l’armoire on
ne regarde pas le coffre.)

  “As soon as one gets a clothes-press, one never looks at the

  [109] 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 accordeon!”

261. Quand lamôrt vini, vous pense vous lavie. (Quand la mort vient,
vous pensez à vôtre vie.)

  “It’s when death comes that you think about your

262. Quand lébras trop courte, napas zoinde. (Quand les bras son trop
courts, ils ne se rejoignent pas.)

  “When one’s arms are too short, they won’t go

  [110] It is needless to undertake what we have not ability to carry

263. Quand lécie tombé, tout mouces va maillé. (Quand le ciel tombera,
toutes les mouches seront prises.)

  “When the sky falls all the flies will be

  [111] Said to those who talk hopefully of impossibilities.

264. * Quand li gagnin kichose dans so latête, cé pas dans so lapiè.
(Quand il a quelque chose dans sa tête, ce n’est pas dans son pied.)

  “When he gets something into his head, it isn’t in his

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

265. Quand lipièd glissé, restant sivré. (Quand le pied glisse, le reste

  “When the foot slips the rest follows.”--[_Mauritius._]

266. Quand maite chanté, nègue dansé; quand ’conome sifflé, nègue sauté.
(Quand le maître chante, le nègre danse; quand l’économe siffle, le
nègre saute.)

  “When the master sings the negro dances; but when the overseer only
  whistles, the negro jumps.”--A relic of the old slave-day Creole

267. Quand milatt tini yon vié chouvral yo dit nègress pas manman yo.
(Quand les mulâtres ont un vieux cheval ils disent que les négresses ne
sont pas leurs mères.)

  “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, tété grand-maman. (Quand on n’a pas sa mère,
on tete sa grand-mère.)

  “When one has no mother, one must be suckled by one’s

269. Quand ou tini malhé sépent mòdé ou pa lakhè. (Quand vous êtes dans
le malheur le serpent vous mord par la queue.)

  “When you’re in ill-luck, a snake can bite you even with its

270. Quand ou mangé evec guiabe, quimbé cuillè ou longue. (Quand vous
mangez avec le diable, tenez votre cuillère longue.)

  “When you eat with the devil, see that your spoon is

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

  “When the sweet potato is cooked, it must be

  [113] This differs a little from the spelling adopted by Gottschalk in
  his _Bamboula_--“_Quand patate-la couite ma va mangé li._” The proverb
  is used in the sense of our saying: “Strike the iron while it’s hot.”

272. Quand poul ou tini zé, pas mette li dans canari. (Quand votre poule
pond des œufs, ne la mettez pas dans le pot.)

  “When your hen is laying, don’t put her in the

  [114] Like our saying about killing the goose that laid the golden

273. Quand prend trop boucoup, li glissé. (Quand on prend trop [lit.:
“trop beaucoup”], cela glisse.)

  “Grab for too much, and it slips away from you.”--[_Mauritius._]

274. Quand vente crié zoréyes sourde. (Quand le ventre crie, les
oreilles sont sourdes.)

  “When the belly cries, the ears are deaf.”--[_Mauritius._]

275. Quand vente faim, siprit vini. (Quand le ventre a faim, l’esprit

  “An empty stomach brings wit;”--lit.: When the stomach is empty, wit

  [115] _Wit_, that is, “mother-wit”--common-sense.

276. Quand vous guétte làhaut vous liziés vine pitit. (Quand vous
regardez en haut, vos yeux rapetissent.)

  “When you look overhead, your eyes become small.”--[_Mauritius._]

277. Quand yo baille ou tête bef pou mangé, n’a pas peur zieux li.
(Quand on vous donne une tête de bœuf à manger n’ayez pas peur de ses

  “When you are given an ox’s head to eat, don’t be afraid of his

278. Quiquefois wou plante zharicots rouze; zharicots blancs qui poussé.
(Quelquefois vous plantez des haricots rouges, et ce sont des haricots
blancs qui poussent.)

  “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 bâtiment cassé ça pas empêché les zautt navigué. (Quand
un bâtiment est cassé, ça n’empêche pas les autres de naviguer.)

  “When a ship is broken (_wrecked_), the accident does not prevent
  others from sailing.”[116]--[_Martinique._]

  [116] There is a Portuguese proverb to the same effect: “Shipwrecks
  have never deterred navigation.”

280. Qui mêlé zefs nans calenda oûoches? (Qui a mêlé (mis) des œufs dans
la calinda des roches [pierres.]?)

  “What business have eggs in the calinda--_i.e._ dance--of stones?”
  (_Calinda_, said to be derived from the Spanish _que linda!_--“how

  [117] The author of _Les Bambous_ mentions the _bèlè_, _caleinda_,
  _guiouba_ and _biguine_, slave-dances of Martinique. _Dansé yon
  caleinda marré_ (to dance the _calinda_ or _caleinda_ tied up) meant
  to receive a whipping.

281. Rann sévice baïll mal dos. (Rendre service donne mal au dos.)

  “Doing favors gives one the back-ache.”--[_Martinique._]

282. * Ratte mangé canne, zanzoli mouri innocent. (Le rat mange la
canne-[à-sucre], le lézard en meurt.)

  “’Tis the rat eats the cane; but the lizard dies for

  [118] This proverb is certainly of West Indian origin, though I first
  obtained it from a Louisianian. 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.

283. Ravett pas janmain asséz fou pou li allé lapòte pouleillé. (Le
ravet n’est jamais assez fou pour aller à la porte du poulailler.)

  “The cockroach is never silly enough to approach the door of the

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_.)[119]--[_Trinidad._]

  [119] I 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._”

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

  “Bushes have ears.”--[_Trinidad._]

286. * Rendé service, baille chagrin. (Rendre service donne du chagrin.)

  “Doing favors brings sorrow.”--[_Louisiana._]

287. Roce entété, més quand téti cause av li, li répondé. (La roche est
entêtée, mais quand le têtu lui parle, elle répond.)

  “The rock’s hard-headed; but when the stone-hammer speaks to him, he
  answers.”--[_Têtu_ means an obstinate person, also a

  [120] This is another example of double-punning, of which we have
  already had a specimen in Prov. 163.

288. Sac vide pas ka tienne douboutt. (Un sac vide ne peut pas se tenir

  “An empty sack cannot stand up.” One cannot work with an empty

289. Sèpent dit li pas rhaï mounn-la qui cué li; c’est ça qui dit, “Mi
sèpent!” (Le serpent dit qu’il ne hait pas la personne qui le tue; que
c’est celle qui dit, “Voilà 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 dérobé; maille bengali. (Le serin se derobe; prenez le

  “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 oûlé viv, li pas prouminée grand-chimin. (Si la couleuvre
veut vivre, elle ne se promène pas dans le grand chemin).

  “If the snake cares to live, it doesn’t journey upon the

292. Si coulève pas té fonté,[121] femmes sé pouend li fair ribans
jipes. (Si la couleuvre n’était pas effrontée, les femmes la prendraient
pour en faire des rubans de jupes).

  “If the snake wasn’t spunky, women would use it for petticoat

  [121] _Fonté_ (for _effronté_) has quite an extensive meaning in
  Creole. It may refer to the impudence of a badly-brought-up child, or
  to the over-familiarity on the part of an adult; but it may also refer
  to high spirit, pluck, independence of manner. A colored mother once
  told me I should be surprised to see how _fonté_ her son had become
  since he had been going to school. She meant, of course, that the lad
  was growing “smart,” active, plucky.

293. Si crapaud dîe ous caïman tini mal ziex, coèr-li. (Si le crapaud
vous dit que le caïman a mal aux yeux, croyez-le).

  “If the frog tells you the alligator has sore eyes, believe

  [122] Similarity of habits and of experience is necessary to guarantee
  the trustworthiness or testimony regarding those we do not know.

294. Si jipon ou k’allé bien, pas chaché mette kilott nhomme ou. (Si
votre jupon vous va bien, ne cherchez pas à mettre la culotte de votre

  “If your petticoat fits you well, don’t try to put on your husband’s

295. * Si lamèr té bouilli, poissons sré tchuite. (Si la mer bouillait,
les poissons seraient cuits).

  “If the sea were to boil, the fishes would be cooked.”--[_Louisiana._]

296. Si lasavane té ka palé nous sé connaitt trop désigret. (Si la
savanne parlait, nous connaîtrions trop de secrets).

  “If the fields could talk, we should know too many

  [123] “If walls had ears,” etc.

297. Si léphant pas té savé boyaux li gouous, li pas sé valé calebasses.
(Si l’éléphant n’avait pas su qu’il avait de gros boyaux, il n’aurait
pas avalé des calébasses).

  “If the elephant didn’t know that he had big guts, he wouldn’t have
  swallowed calabashes.”--[_Trinidad._]

298. * Si-moin-tè-connaitt pas janmain douvant; li toujou deïè.
(Si-je-l’avais-su n’est jamais devant; il vient toujours derrière.)

  “‘_If-I-had-only-known_’ is never before one; he always comes

299. Si moin té gagnin moussa, moin té mangé gombo. (Si j’avais du
moussa, je mangerais du gombo).

  “If I had some _moussa_[124] I would eat some gombo.” If I had the
  necessary I could enjoy the superfluous.--[_Martinique._]

  [124] _Moussa_ 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.

300. Si té pas gagné soupé nens moune, moune ka touffé. (S’il n’y avait
pas de soupirs dans le monde, le monde étoufferait).

  “If there were no sighing in the world, the world would
  stifle.”[125]--[_Quoted by Alphonse Daudet._]

  [125] I found this proverb cited in Daudet’s article on Tourguèneff in
  the November _Century_ [1883]. The accentuation was incorrect. _Moun_,
  or _moune_, Creole form of French _monde_, is generally used to
  signify people in general--_folks_--not the world.

301. Si zannoli té bon viann, li sè pas ka drivé lassous baïe. (Si le
lézard était bon à manger [lit.: bonne viande], il ne se trouverait
point sous une baille.)

  “If the lizard were good to eat, it would never be found under a

  [126] Thomas gives us a briefer Trinidad version: _Si zandoli té bon
  viâne, le pas sé ka drivé_ (il ne se trouverait pas): “If a lizard
  were good meat, it wouldn’t easily be found.”

302. Soleil couché; malbèr pas jamain couché. (Le soleil se couche; le
malheur ne se couche jamais.)

  “The sun sets; misfortune never sets.”--[_Hayti._]

303. * Soleil levé là; li couché là. (Le soleil se lève là; il se couche

  “Sun rises there [pointing to the east]; he sets there.” [pointing to
  the west][127]--[_Louisiana._]

  [127] 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 grandeur which will not have an

304. Souliers faraud, més domage ziutes manze lipieds. (Les souliers
sont elegants, mais c’est dommage qu’ils mangent les pieds.)

  “Shoes are fine things; but it’s a pity they bite one’s

  [128] 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--“_Lhère li entré dans vous lacase, souliers dans
  lipieds; lhére li dans grand cimin, souliers dans mouçoirs_”:--(When
  he enters your house, his shoes are on his feet; but once he is on the
  public road, they are in his handkerchief.)

305. * Tafia toujou dîe la vérité. (Le tafia dit toujours la vérité.)

  “Tafia always tells the truth.”[129]--[_Louisiana._]

  [129] _Tafia_ is the rum extracted from sugar-cane. “_In vino

306. Tambou tini grand train pace endidans li vide. (Le tambour va [lit:
tient] grand train parcequ’il est vide en dedans.)

  “The drum makes a great fuss because it is empty

  [130] In Louisiana Creole, _faire di-train_ is commonly used in the
  sense of making a great noise, a big fuss. An old negro-servant might
  often be heard reproving the children of the house in some such
  fashion as this:--“_Ga!--pouki tapé fait tou di-train la?--Toulé
  pé?--pas fait tou di-train mo di toi!_” (“Here, what are you making
  all that noise for?--are you going to keep quiet?--musn’t make so much
  noise, I tell you!”)

307. Tampée ka gagnen malhèrs ka doublons pas sa gueri. (Un ‘tampée’
achète des malheurs 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.”[131]--[_Louisiana._]

  [131] This proverb is the retort for the phrase: “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 ones play: _Eh, pitis! faut pas restér là: vous ka casser
  tout!_ (“Hey! little ones, musn’t stay there: you’ll break
  everything!”) If the father or mother should then exclaim “_Tant pis
  pour eux!_”--so much the worse for them if they do break everything,
  you would hear the old woman reply: “_Tant-pis n’a pas
  cabane!_”--“So-much-the-worse has no cabin”--_i.e._, nothing to lose.
  She believes in an ounce of prevention rather than a pound of cure.

309. Temps moune connaîte l’aûte nans grand jou, nans nouîte yeaux pas
bisoèn chandelle pou clairér yeaux. (Quand on connait quelqu’un [lit: un
autre] dans le grand jour, dans la nuit on n’a pas besoin d’une
chandelle pour s’éclairer.)

  “When one person knows another by broad daylight, he doesn’t need a
  candle to recognize him at night.”[132]--[_Trinidad._]

  [132] 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.

310. * Temps present gagnin assez comme ça avec so quenne. (Le temps
present en a assez comme ça avec le sien.)

  “The present has enough to do to mind its own

  [133] Literally the proverb is almost untranslateable. It is cited to
  those who express needless apprehension of future misfortune. “_Mo va
  gagnin malhé_”--(I am going to have trouble.) “_Aïe, aïe!
  chère!--temps present gagnin assez comme ça avec so quonne._” (Ah, my
  dear! the present has enough trouble of its own.)

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

  “A little string for a little dog.”--[_Martinique._]

312. Ti hache coupé gouaus bois. (Une petite hache coupe un grand

  “A little axe cuts down a big tree.”--[_Martinique._]

313. Ti moun cònnaitt couri, yo pas cònnaitt serré. (Les enfants--lit:
“le petit monde”--savent courir; ils ne savent pas se cacher.)

  “Children (little folk) know how to run; they do not know how to

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

  “When the tiger is dead, the dog takes [rules] the

315. Tòti sé vole si li tè tini plimm. (Le tortue volerait si elle avait
des ailes.)

  “The tortoise would fly if it had wings.”[134]--[_Martinique._]

  [134] “Pigs might fly,” etc.


         Tout bois cé bois;
                Main mapou
                Pas ‘cajou.
         (Tout bois c’est du bois;
                Mais le mapou
                N’est pas de l’acajou.)

  “All wood is wood; but mapou wood isn’t mahogany

  [135] 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:

    _Chèr bijou
    Mo laimin vous_

  (“My darling mahogany jewel, I love you!”)

317. * Tout ça c’est commerce Man Lison. (Tout ça c’est affaire de Maman

  “All that’s like Mammy Lison’s doings.”[136]--[_Louisiana._]

  [136] Whenever a thing is badly done, this saying is used;--_commerce_
  in the Creole signifying almost the reverse of what it does in French.
  Who that traditional _Man Lison_ was, I have never been able to find

318. Tout ça qui poté zépron pas maquignon. (Tout homme qui porte
éperons n’est pas maquignon.)

  “Everybody who wears spurs isn’t a jockey.” All is not gold that

319. Toutt cabinett tini maringouin. (Tout cabinet contient des

  “Every bed-chamber has its mosquitoes in it.”--Equivalent to our own
  proverb: A skeleton in every closet.--[_Martinique._]

320. * Toutt joué c’est joué; mais cassé bois dans bonda macaque--ça pas
joué. (Tout [façon de] jouer c’est jouer; mais ce n’est pas jouer que de
casser du bois dans le derrière du macaque.)

  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  [137]--[_Martinique._]

  [137] This ridiculous observation is unsuitable for translation.
  Nevertheless we have an English, or perhaps an American, proverb
  equally vulgar, which may have inspired, or been derived from, the
  Creole one. In the English saying, the words “joking” and “provoking”
  are used as rhymes. The moral is precisely similar to that of No. 322.

  In old days the Creole story-teller would always announce his
  intention of beginning a tale by the exclamation “_Tim-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 intention of merely “_joking_,” but intended
  to tell the whole truth and nothing else--“a real good story”--_tois
  fois bonne conte!_

321. * Toutt jour c’est pas dimanche. (Tous les jours ne sont pas le

  “Every day isn’t Sunday.”--[_Louisiana._]

322. Tou jwé sa jwé; me bwa là zòrè sa pa jwé. (Tout [façon de] jouer
c’est jouer; mais enfoncer du bois dans l’oreille n’est pas jouer.)

  “All play is play; but poking a piece of wood into one’s ear isn’t

323. * Tout macaque trouvé so piti joli. (Tout macaque trouve son petit

  “Every monkey thinks its young one pretty.”--[_Louisiana._]

324. Toutt milett ni grand zaureilles. (Tout les mulets ont des grandes

  “All mules have big ears.”--Equivalent to our proverb; “Birds of a
  feather flock together.”--[_Martinique._]

325. * Toutt mounn save ça qui ka bouï nens canari yo. (Toute personne
sait ce qui bout dans son canari [marmite].)

  “Everybody knows what boils in his own pot”--i.e., knows his own
  business best.[138]--[_Martinique._]

  [138] In Thomas’s Trinidad version: “_Tout moune connaite ça qui ka
  bouï nans canari yeaux_.” In Louisiana Creole: “_Chakin connin ça kapé
  bouilli dans so chodière_.” _Canari_ is sometimes used in our Creole,
  but rarely. I have only heard it in old songs. The iron pot
  (_chodière_) or tin utensil has superseded the _canari_.

326. Travaï pas mal; cé ziex qui capons. (Le travail ne fait pas du mal;
c’est les yeux qui sont capons [lâches].)

  “Work doesn’t hurt;--‘tis the eyes that are cowards.”--[_Mauritius._]

327. Trop gratté bourlé. (Trop gratter brûle [cuit].)

  “Too much scratching brings smarting.”--[_Mauritius._]

328. Trop profi crévé poche. (Trop de profit crève la poche.)

  “Too much profit bursts one’s pockets.”--[_Martinique._]

329. Tropp bijou, gàde-mangé vide. (Trop de bijoux, garde-manger vide.)

  “Too much jewelry, empty cupboard.”--[_Martinique._]

330. Vente enflé, mouces zaune té pique li. (Le ventre enflé, les
mouches jaunes l’ont piqué.)[139]

  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  --[_Mauritius._]

  [139] This proverb is scarcely suitable for English translation; but
  the forcible and picturesque irony of it will be appreciated in M.
  Baissac’s explanatory note: “_Comment se l’expliquer autrement, en
  dehors du mariage?_”

331. Vide éne boutéye 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

  [140] Same signification as Prov. 138.

332. * Vie cannari ka fé bon bouillon. (Les vieux pots font les bonnes

  “It’s the old pot that makes the good soup.”--[_Martinique._]

333. Vié coq, zène poule. (Vieux coq, jeune poule.)

  “An old cock, a young hen.”--[_Mauritius._]

334. Volè pas ainmein vouè canmarade yo pòté sac. (Les voleurs n’aiment
pas voir leurs camarades portant le sacs.)

  “Thieves do not like to see their comrades carrying the

  [141] Probably truer to human nature than our questionable statement
  concerning “honor among thieves.” Mr. Bigelow, in his contribution to
  _Harper’s Magazine_, cited a similar proverb in the Haytian dialect.

335. Vous napas va montré vié zaco fère grimaces. (Vous ne montrerez pas
à un vieux singe à faire des grimaces.)

  “You can’t teach an old monkey how to make

  [142] “Teach your granny to suck eggs.”

336. Voyé chein, chein voyé 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._]

337. Yo ka quimbé[143] chritiens pa langue yo, bef pa còne yo. (On prend
les Chrétiens par la langue, les bœufs par les cornes.)

  “Christians are known by their tongues, oxen by their horns.”
  (Literally, are taken by or caught by.)--[_Martinique._]

  [143] _Quimbé_ is a verb of African origin. It survives in Louisiana
  Creole as _tchombé_ or _chombo_:

    _Caroline, zolie femme,
    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
  _macayé_, meaning to eat at all hours; and _Ouendé_, of which the
  sense is dubious. But the Congo verb _fifa_, to kiss; and the verbs
  _souyé_, to flatter; _pougalé_, to abuse violently; and such nouns as
  _saff_ (glutton), _yche_ or _iche_ (baby), which are preserved in
  other Creole dialects, are apparently unknown in Louisiana to-day.

  In Chas. Jeannest’s work, _Quatre Années au 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 _ouendé_, preserved in
  the song:

    _Ouendé, ouendé, macaya_;
        Mo pas, ’barassé, _macaya_!
    _Ouendé, ouendé, macaya_;
        Mo bois bon divin, _macaya_!
    _Ouendé, ouendé, macaya_;
        Mo mangé bon poulé, _macaya_!
    _Ouendé, ouendé, macaya_;..etc.

  This is one 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
  _ouendé_ 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 marché ouaminon:
          Quand li marché
              _Ouarasi, ouarasa!_
          Quand li marché
              _Ouarasi, ouarasa!_

  [“Nicholas, etc., you are a turkey-cock! Nicholas walks _ouaminon_:
  when he walks, it is _ouarasi, ouarasa_.”] The idea is obvious enough;
  viz.: that Nicholas struts like a turkey-cock; but the precise
  signification of the three italicised words I have failed to learn.

338. Yon doègt pas sa pouend pice. (Un seul doigt ne peut pas attraper
des puces.)

  “One finger can’t catch fleas.”--[_Martinique._]

339. * Yon lanmain douè lavé laute. (Une main doit laver l’autre.)

  “One hand must wash the other.”--You must not depend upon others to
  get you out of trouble.--[_Martinique._]

340. Yon mauvais paòle ka blessé plis qu’coupd’roche. (Une mauvaise
parole blesse plus qu’un coup-de-pierre.)

  “A wicked word hurts more than a blow from a stone.”--[_Martinique._]

341. Zaco malin, li-méme té montré noir coment voler. (La singe est
malin; c’est lui qui a montré au noir comment on vole.)

  “The monkey is sly; it was he that first taught the black man how to

342. Zaco napas guétte so laquée; li guétte pour son camarade. (Le singe
ne regarde pas sa queue; il regarde celle de son voisin.)

  “Monkey never watches his own tail; he watches his

343. * Zaffaire ça qui sotte, chien mangé dìné yo. (Des choses [qui
appartiennent] aux sots les chiens font leur dîner.)

  “Dogs make their dinner upon what belongs to fools.”--[_Louisiana._]

344. * Zaffé cabritt pa zaffé mouton. (L’affaire de la chèvre n’est pas
l’affaire du mouton.)

  “The goat’s business is not the sheep’s affair.”[144]--[_Martinique._]

  [144] Seems to be the same in all Creole dialects, excepting that the
  rabbit is sometimes substituted for the sheep.

345. Zaffére qui fine passé narien; laute qui pour vint qui li!
(L’affaire passée n’est rien; c’est l’affaire à venir qui est le hic.)

  “What’s past is nothing; it’s what’s to come that’s the

346. Zamais béf senti so corne trop lourd. (Jamais le bœuf ne sent ses
cornes trop lourdes.)

  “The ox never finds his horns too heavy to carry.”--[_Mauritius._]

347. Zamés disel dire li salé. (Le sel ne dit jamais qu’il est salé.)

  “The salt never says that it is salty.” True virtue never

348. Zaureille pas tini couv éti. (Les oreilles n’ont pas de

  “There is no covering for the ears.”--[_Martinique._]

349. Zié beké brilé zié nèg. (Les yeux du blanc brûlent les yeux du

  “The white man’s eyes burn the negro’s eyes.”[145]--[_Martinique._]

  [145] _Béké_ is translated by _blanc_ in Turiault’s work; but the
  witty author of _Les Bambous_ writes: _Nèg_ se dit pour _esclave_, et
  _béké_ pour maître. 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--Danié qui commandé,
          Danié qui commandé ça!
          Danié qui commandé._

  [“All, all the country white” (white-man’s country); “Daniel has so
  commanded,” etc.] I do not know whether the prophet Daniel is referred

350. Zié rouge pas boulé savann. (Les yeux rouges ne brûlent pas la

  “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 nothing.[146]--[_Martinique._]

  [146] In the Guyane patois, they say: “_Ça qui gadé gran boi yé kôlé
  pa brûlé yé_.” (_Celui qui regarde les grands bois avec des yeux
  colères ne les brûle pas._)

351. Zouré napas ena lentérement. (Les jurons n’ont pas d’enterrement.)

  “Curses don’t make funerals.”--[_Mauritius._]

352. Zozo paillenqui crié là-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


  I.--PROVERBS IN THE CREOLE OF FRENCH GUYANA:--60, 223, 242, 244, 291,

  II.--IN THE CREOLE OF HAYTI:--11, 26, 47, 51, 61, 63, 77, 78, 87, 88,
  96, 100, 115, 116, 117, 120, 139, 145, 153, 172, 190, 220, 225, 226,
  239, 250, 277, 302.

  86, 89, 90, 95, 97, 99, 107, 112, 123, 130, 134, 137, 147, 148, 157,
  159, 162, 166, 171, 185, 186, 198, 203, 204, 208, 209, 228, 235, 241,
  248, 251, 253, 264, 266, 268, 271, 282, 286, 295, 303, 305, 308, 310,
  317, 321, 323, 343.

  IV.--IN THE CREOLE OF MARTINIQUE:--1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 18, 20, 24, 28, 29,
  30, 31, 33, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43, 49, 50, 52, 56, 58, 59, 62, 66, 75,
  76, 82, 84, 85, 91, 92, 93, 94, 104, 122, 133, 149, 150, 151, 152,
  154, 160, 164, 175, 188, 189, 199, 202, 205, 206, 207, 210, 211, 213,
  222, 224, 227, 230, 237, 238, 240, 245, 252, 254, 267, 269, 270, 272,
  279, 281, 283, 288, 289, 294, 296, 298, 299, 301, 311, 312, 313, 314,
  315, 318, 319, 320, 324, 325, 328, 329, 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, 32, 38, 44, 45, 46, 48, 53, 54, 55, 65, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73,
  98, 101, 102, 105, 106, 108, 109, 114, 118, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128,
  129, 131, 136, 138, 143, 155, 156, 161, 163, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170,
  173, 174, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 182, 183, 191, 195, 196, 197, 200,
  212, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 243, 246, 247, 249, 255, 256, 257,
  258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 265, 273, 274, 275, 276, 278, 287, 290,
  304, 326, 327, 330, 331, 333, 335, 341, 342, 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, 142,
  144, 146, 158, 181, 184, 187, 192, 193, 194, 201, 221, 229, 231, 232,
  233, 234, 236, 280, 284, 285, 292, 293, 297, 306, 307, 309, 316, 336.


  ADVISERS.--101, 142.
  ALLIGATOR (or Crocodile).--198, 229, 293.
  ARRACK.--46, 305.

  BAG, SACK, “MACONTE.”--51, 115, 288.
  BED.--33, 182.
  BELLY.--39, 44, 252, 253, 274, 275, 330.
  BIG AND LITTLE.--249, 311, 312.
  BIRD.--154, 241.
  “BONDA.”--34, 49, 320.
  BORROWERS.--138, 190, 331.
  BOUNDARY.--183 (note).

  “CALALOU.”--220 (note).
  “CALINDA.”--280 (note).
  CALABASH.--96, 116, 117, 297.
  CAT.--70, 71, 72, 73, 85, 86, 151, 171, 200.
  CHICKEN, OR HEN.--80, 125, 150, 245, 246, 247, 272, 283.
  CHILDREN.--15, 48, 184, 187, 193, 242, 243, 313.
  CHRISTIAN.--250, 337.
  COCK.--29, 102, 129, 173, 333.
  COCKROACH.--65, 283, 284.
  COWARD.--67, 132.
  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.
  DRAWERS.--113, 126.
  DRUM.--61, 78, 306.

  EARS.--74, 107, 285, 348.
  EATING.--45, 194, 238.
  EGGS.--13, 56, 128, 129, 150, 247, 280.
  EYES.--58, 183, 276, 293, 326, 350.

  FAT PEOPLE.--144.
  FAVORS.--281, 286.
  FINE CLOTHES.--6, 23, 252, 253.
  FLY.--11, 20, 263.
  FLOUR.--65, 69.
  FOOT.--33, 50, 264, 265.
  FROG.--34, 79, 113, 166, 293.

  GAB.--25, 27.
  GIFTS.--258, 277.
  GOAT.--40, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 175, 190, 206, 251, 344.
  GOD.--30, 31, 257.
  GOMBO.--147, 299.
  GOOD ACTIONS.--42, 53.

  HARE.--3, 191.
  HEART.--58, 174, 212.
  HIGHWAY.--139, 224, 226, 291.
  HORSE.--94, 107, 109, 167, 204, 206, 222.
  HOG.--97, 176.
  HUSBAND.--195, 294.

  IDLENESS.--34, 35, 140, 141, 180.


  KNIFE.--76, 139.

  LIZARD.--282, 301.

  “MAN LISON.”--317.
  MARRIAGE.--118, 179, 195, 196, 197, 215.
  MASTER AND SLAVE.--266, 349.
  MEADOWS.--21, 296, 350.
  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, 242.
  MOUNTAINS.--174, 212.
  MOURNING.--121, 124, 134.
  MOUSSA.--299 (note).
  MULATTO.--204, 206, 267.
  MULE.--107, 169, 324.


  OX.--20, 21, 22, 81, 160, 236, 277, 346.

  “PALIACA BIRDS.”--177.
  POT OR KETTLE.--3, 8, 64, 254, 325, 332.
  POVERTY.--163, 239.
  PUMPKIN.--76, 96.

  RABBIT.--40, 164.
  RAIN.--22, 81, 165, 166, 192, 352.
  RAT.--85, 287, (musk-rat) 200.
  RIGHT AND WRONG.--213, 240, 284.
  RUNNING AWAY.--33, 103.

  SERPENT, OR SNAKE.--24, 189, 269, 289, 291, 292.
  SHEEP.--59, 175.
  SHINGLES.--17, 156.
  SHOES.--83, 223, 304.
  SLEEP.--45, 98.
  SLOW AND SURE.--131, 241.
  SNAILS.--108, 165.
  “SO MUCH THE WORSE.”--308.
  SPOON.--77, 270.
  STICK.--18, 201, 209.
  SUN.--302, 303.
  SUNDAY.--95, 325.

  TAIL.--12, 20, 36, 81, 167, 336, 342.
  TALKING.--37, 74, 104, 112, 120, 135, 146, 161, 164, 202, 231, 232,
  234, 235, 244, 340.
  TEETH.--30, 120, 121, 122, 194.
  TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW.--41, 153, 210.
  TONGUE.--79, 104, 161, 236.
  TOO MUCH OF A THING.--228, 229, 273, 327.
  TORTOISE.--99, 191, 315.

  VETIVERIA.--156, 195.

  WANT (AND WASTE).--41.
  WAR.--158, 159.
  WATER.--114, 121, 130, 131, 148.
  WHITE MAN.--26, 349.
  WOMAN.--9, 23, 48, 65, 259, 294.
  WOODLICE.--116, 117.
  WORK.--132, 141.




A compilation of many original Creole and other valuable recipes
obtained from noted Southern housewives, with a number of _chefs
d’œuvre_ from leading _chefs_, who have made New Orleans famous for its

Published by WILL H. COLEMAN,



Transcriber’s Notes:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation have been retained.

Footnote [38]: The last paragraph lacks a closing quote mark; this has
not been changed, since it is not clear where the quote ends.

Prov. 139: gambette may be a misspelling of jambette (jack-knife) in
Bigelow’s work.

Prov. 177: zozos pariaca may be an error for zozos paliaca.

Changes made to the text:

  Footnotes have been moved to directly under the proverb they refer to.

  Obvious punctuation errors and missing punctuation have been corrected

  i.e. and i. e. have been standardised to i.e.

  Introduction: gomo filé changed to gombo filé

  Bibliography: Academique changed to Académique

  Prov. 4: nourish it young changed to nourish its young

  Footnote [12]: _tiyon_ the true changed to _tiyon_ is the true

  Footnote [14]: little bird does’nt changed to little bird doesn’t

  Prov. 49: Ceux qui mangent ne savent pas changed to Ceux qui mangent
  des œufs ne savent pas

  Prov. 54: le prix de la grasse changed to le prix de la graisse

  Prov. 82: qui le diable emporte changed to que le diable emporte

  Prov. 114: aime á boire changed to aime à boire

  Footnote [45]: _oti and outi_ changed to _oti_ and _outi_

  Prov. 117: resister changed to résister

  Prov. 127: etrangers changed to étrangers

  Prov. 172: li rouge changed to li ronge

  Prov. 204: his mother was’nt changed to his mother wasn’t

  Prov. 221: morte changed to mort

  Prov. 248: demandre changed to demander

  Prov. 253: ’evite changed to évite

  Prov. 260: les coffre changed to le coffre

  Prov. 268: Quand n’a pas changed to Quand on n’a pas

  Footnote [124]: Mousse changed to Moussa as in proverb

  Footnote [125]: _Moun_, _or moune_ changed to _Moun_, or _moune_

  Footnote [136]: _commeree_ changed to _commerce_

  Footnote [139]: Comment se l’expliquer autrement en dehors du mariage
  changed to Comment se l’expliquer autrement, en dehors du mariage? (as
  in the original text by Baissac)

  Footnote [143]: _ourasi, ouarasa_ changed to _ouarasi, ouarasa_ as in

  Prov. 344: Z ffé changed to Zaffé

  Prov. 349: brûle changed to brûlent

  Index to Dialects, III.: 267 changed to 266; IV.: 147 and 329
  inserted; V.: 333 inserted.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book ""Gombo Zhèbes" - Little Dictionary of Creole Proverbs" ***

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