Why did the Albanian cross the road?

'The only true people's test of a coin is whether you can toss it. So, does the euro have heads and tails?'
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The Independent Online

It's time for another helping of Albanian proverbs, I think.

It's time for another helping of Albanian proverbs, I think.

If you have not come across them before, you should know that Albanian proverbs are not at all like ours. Our proverbs tend to be very businesslike and practical ("Look before you leap", "Don't count your chickens before they've hatched" and so on), but Albanian proverbs, although at first sight very evocative, tend not to yield any meaning under the microscope. Still, nobody ever got rich by inventing vodka (an old Albanian proverb, as it happens), so let's just provide a rich random selection for you and see what you make of them.

Pluck a mushroom at dawn but don't eat it before breakfast.

There is only one thing more unsettling in a young man than much foolishness, and that is much wisdom.

We talk about hot-air balloons as if there were such a thing as a cold-air balloon.

The euro is all very well, but you can't pick your teeth with it.

You can get every flavour of chewing gum, except chewing-gum flavour.

If one side of a pair of scissors cuts, what does the other side do?

Always stand on the handle of a rake and you will never go to hospital.

You can't tell a dead dentist by his teeth.

A toy ship is real enough to a mouse.

To say that you can understand why people are making a violent protest but that you do not condone it is only another way of condoning it.

An auctioneer would talk a lot slower if he was selling his own property.

A people that tamely buried its dead underground could never have invented the Pyramids.

To put it another way, not many Egyptians flock to northern Europe to come and look at our ancient barrows.

The only true people's test of a coin is whether you can toss it. So, does the euro have heads and tails?

There are some people who, even when they are the only customers in a pub, are still incapable of catching the barman's eye.

Did Madame Tussaud have a wax effigy of Monsieur Tussaud on show?

Three people to be wary of: a man who believes in the wild beast of Bodmin, a woman who believes in true love, and a Liberal Democrat.

We all say that we would like to read our own obituary, but we don't mean that at all; what we mean is that we would all like to write our own obituary.

All children can imitate the noise of a gun firing a bullet. What they can't do is imitate the sound of a bullet landing. That's why they think violence is so much fun.

A shadow is only the absence of sunlight, but a silence is a noise in its own right.

We are all on the far side of the horizon to someone else.

(There are many variants on this old Albanian proverb, such as:

"Nobody in the world has heard of you, except for the few who have," and:

"Seek not to find what posterity thinks. You are posterity."

The idea seems to be that we are all equally significant or insignificant in the long run.

Cf another Albanian proverb:

"In some other galaxy, someone has just come up with the theory that there may be intelligent life on Earth, and only we know that they are wrong.")

All the above are taken from the 'Great Big Book of Albanian Proverbs', new 2000 edition

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