Part 1

Arvo Krikmann

1. The Law of Folkloric Feedback and 'Type Thickets'

Once folkloristics abandons its presently prevailing context-oriented approaches and returns to studying folklore texts (I am convinced that it is bound to happen sooner rather than later), it will face numerous problems which have remained unsolved on the previous turn of spiral. One of them concerns the typological consistence and structure of folkloric genres. Below I will make an attempt to elucidate some aspects of the problem on the example of a single genre (proverbs) and a single notion (proverb type). Paremiology and paremiography thus far have used primarily printed proverb publications (and earlier manuscriptal collections) and/or archival manuscript material as their sources. Not many nations boast extensive folkloric archives. Two conceptions about the typological nature of proverbs have become dominant, partly due to the nature of source material:

(1) Proverbs are clichés, always used in fixed, settled form. This viewpoint is most expressively manifest in the works of G. Permiakov (for example, 1968: 9 ff.; 1970: 9 ff.; 1979: 11 ff.). John Lyons (1971: 177), one of his contemporaries, has also grouped proverbs together with some other types of expressions under the category of 'ready-made' utterances, maintaining that such expressions "permit no extension or variation". Similarly, I. Galperin (1971: 179–181) has argued that proverbs are variable primarily as a result of writers' (sic!) individual modification and paraphrasing, as opposed to 'their fixed form (the traditional model)', which is considered invariable.

(2) The Finnish school, whose main objective was to ascertain the original form, time and place of origin and distribution routes of folkloric units as distinctive types (rune song types, fairy tale-types, etc.), believed that the diachronic development of folkloric units could be traced in the variation of texts. Folkloristic studies grown out from or influenced by the Finnish school still support the view that proverbs, like any folklore types, appear in actual language usage as variants, but the variation is limited and in principle the typological landscape is discrete. According to this conception tradition as such resembles a thin forest, where trees are branched and the branches of some neighbouring trees might even be intertwined, but it is clear (or at least it is possible to determine) where each branch stems from.

Kaiser und Abt (1923), a monograph by Walter Anderson, is one of the fundamental works on the Finnish method, which is significant for elucidating the history of the folk tale type AT 922, but also for formulating the law of folkloric feedback (or self-regulation, or stability), das Gesetz der Selbstberichtigung, which, in essence, is briefly the following. Variations of folk tales are surprisingly undeviating from certain limits and the story will never change beyond recognition, even if its lifespan is very long and its circulation wide. According to Anderson, it is caused by the fact that the narrator has generally heard the tale from not one but from many different narrators, and has also heard it on various occasions from the same narrator; all random fluctuations which might drastically differ from the basic story are thereby suppressed, and the tale reassumes its basic form, 'flows back to its original streambed'.

Chapter 3 in the book Sissevaateid folkloori lühivormidesse I (Krikmann 1997) discusses the peculiarities of the law of folkloric feedback in proverbs and draws attention to the special paradoxical status of proverb lore on the background of other folklore:

Certainly, the problem is not the different size (productivity) of typological units: as a rule, a typologically discrete paremic landscape also consists of the sc. cities, towns, boroughs, villages and single farms, it is a common knowledge for all paremiologists. The problem is when we discover that we are dealing with a metropolis consisting of, say, three concentric zones divided into 8 sectors by the principle points of the compass: the inner circle is inhabited, say, by people; the outer circle by birds in the northern sector, fish in the southern sector, insects in the eastern sector and snakes in the western sector, bird-snakes in the north-western sector and fish-insects in the south-eastern sector; the middle zone by human-bird-insects in the north-eastern sector and human-fish-snakes in the south-western sector, etc. (topologically, of course, the above metaphor is a crude simplification, as besides figurative lexica we also have to consider the logical form of the sentence, traditional 'syntax figures', modalities, euphonic characteristics, etc.).

This understanding must have been extremely inconvenient for researchers of proverbial taxonomy, including compilers of proverb publications with the basic typological level. Such publications attempt to overlook (or elude) the existence of typological mazes and still present the material as a linear sequence of discrete types. This is the case with the academic publication of Estonian proverbs Eesti vanasõnad (EV), the publication of Lithuanian proverbs Patarlių paralelės supplemented with abundant comparative European material, compiled by Kazys Grigas (PP), the collection of favourite Finno-Ugric proverbs Proverbia septentrionalia, compiled by Matti Kuusi and his Finnish-Estonian assistants (PS), and also the collection of favourite European proverbs European Proverbs, by Gyula Paczolay (EP).

In the late 1950s Matti Kuusi started to collect information about internationally known proverbs into his famous 'pink card-index'. His initiative expanded into systematic preparing of 'the Aarne-Thompson of Proverbs', which 10 years later led to the question of the register's taxonomy. Grigori Permiakov's attempts of classification were extremely topical in the paremiology of that time, and in the early 1970s (in 1970 and 1972) Kuusi had published some extracts from his system for tracing the general outlines of its structure. His attempt in 1972 (possibly influenced by Permiakov) was based on the extremely productive binary oppositions 'one : two', 'one : all' and 'part : whole', and clearly displayed the existence of typological continuity of some parts of the repertoire. The final version of the system (KL) is continually organised according to the hierarchical-semantical principles, but the choice of applied categories indicates to endeavours to achieve a more homogeneous distribution and avoid the occurrence of chain reactions, which might bring about typological 'tangles' (similar tricks have been made at the typification of Estonian proverbs in EV publication). Irrespective of this Kazys Grigas (1996) seems to continually and steadfastly rely on the theoretical and practical effectiveness of categorisation by types.

Noone has ever tried to investigate how such typological 'chunks' come into being. We should be certain of one thing, though: the majority of typological links are in fact extremely dense groups of synonyms, formed in pragmatically significant thematic and conceptual areas. The part of typologically continuative material becomes predictably large (and raises a critical problem) especially in vast international corpuses of material, as the 'volume of semantic reservoir' of proverbs is assumably finite and the more material has been squeezed into it, the more 'dense' the material becomes.

2. Some general remarks on "animal proverbs"

14–15 years ago I entertained a hope to write a doctor's thesis in Russian on metaphors in proverbs, and I searched for material which would be sufficiently large, but not too extensive, and in well-balanced semantical and geographical proportions at the same time (for example, the proportions of dog-metaphor in the international proverb material would have proved too "long and thin", all metaphors in the whole Estonian material too "fat and short"). Thus I decided to concentrate on 'animal proverbs': to choose a fair amount of texts containing words denoting animal referents (zoological creatures): fish, birds, insects, etc, but also the names of animal families and genera, like animal, predator, bird, snake, etc. I set about gathering material, and by the time I became disillusioned for several reasons my file contained nearly 40.000 texts from printed and other sources from about 60 different nations and ethnoses, including those in proverb and proverbial phrase form. Originally I have registered the occurrencies of animals in both metaphorical and non-metaphorical uses.

The material, however, is incomplete: so far it does not contain a single text from the Romanic peoples, nor from Scandinavia, etc. Instead, it includes a considerable amount of material from the Orient (mostly in the form of Russian translations).

The number of publications on animal proverbs and zoo-metaphors in proverbs is undeservedly small, considering that the semantic field of animals must be the most productive one in proverbial metaphors. Researchers have mostly come upon animals while either observing the relations between proverbs and fables or while discussing references to agriculture and veterinary in proverbs (most typical to German authors). One of the exceptionally few special publications of animal proverbs is Howl like a Wolf. Animal Proverbs by Wolfgang Mieder (Shelburne, 1993).

The pet question of different authors has always been the frequency of animals in proverbs: various statistics and ranking lists on that subject have been published, but they tend to cover the material of only one certain ethnic group, and the selections of material have been rather small (see, e.g., Rooth 1968; Negreanu 1979; Ogishima 1992).

My data does not aim to point out certain 'well-tempered' universal proportions either, but due to its multinationality and considerably larger total size, it is probably capable of illustrating the relative frequencies of animals in proverbs on somewhat higher degree of reliability. True, it also suggests that the proportions vary from region to region considerably.

Irrespective of regional differences we might distinguish the 'top-three' group of equally favourite animals:

1–3) dog, horse, neat (cow/ox)

(i.e. the earliest domesticated animal and two major domestic animals);

they are followed by

4) hen/rooster;

5) wolf;

6) swine;

7) cat;

8) sheep/ram ~ wether

— these 8 most favourite animals are featured in nearly half of all the occurrences of zoological terms. These are followed by:

9) fish (as a general term);

10) donkey and mule (primarily in Oriental texts);

11) bird (as a general term);

12) goat;

13) mouse

— these 13 most frequently occurring animals make up nearly 2/3 of all the occurrences of animal names in proverbs. The following 7 animals are:

14) crow;

15) snake (as a general term; although in some languages it was not always easy to distinguish between the terms for 'snake' and 'worm');

16) bear;

17) fox;

18) camel (also, primarily in material of eastern cultures);

19) hare;

20) animal (and its synonyms as a general term);

— and these 20 most frequently occurring animals make up about 3/4 of all the occurrences of animal terms in proverbs. The following 5 would be:

21) frogs and toads;

22) fly;

23) lion (primarily in the material of Oriental and African countries);

24) goose;

25) eagle

— and the 25 highest ranking animal terms make up about 4/5 of all the usages of zoological terms. 43 most frequent animal names make up about 90% of all animal term usages, and the remaining approx. 250 terms of the 'level of species' (in my material) only 10% of usages (cf. also Krikmann 1997: 193).

Two significant facts stand out in the above statistics:

1) the distribution of vocabulary into word usages is extremely uneven and 'Zipfian': the number of the most frequently occurring words is small, the number of words of medium occurrence is larger, and the number of rarely occurring words is large;

2) the domination of domestic animals is extremely strong in proverbs (even in the material of hunting peoples, such as the Yakuts, for example).

Another main issue is the problem of "repertoire structure", or semantical analysis of sayings containing animal terms. My briefly outlined below attempt of taxonomization is clearly 'animal-centered'. Beside the subject itself, it proceeds from certain additional facts:

1) a relatively abundant body of proverbial expressions, alongside the proverbs proper, which excluded e.g. the categorisation based on universal statements (evaluations, prescriptions), but still enabled to categorise the material according to the scenes, situations, 'schemes' or 'scripts' displayed in the texts, elementary pragmatic relations, etc.;

2) it seemed reasonable to preserve correlation between the basic categories of the repertoire itself and the trope structure (metaphore structure, primarily) of texts which belong to these categories;

3) like any natural matter, the body of animal expressions is divided according to the prototype principle into 'lumps' and 'thin', whereas the total amount of 'lumped' matter is considerably smaller than the randomly floating 'thin' matter (exceptions, hybrid forms, etc.).

The larger and more distinct groups and swarms of material are actually floating in a large amount of random 'thin' matter, thus my real concern was to try to find out the so-called natural categories on the 'thick' side of the matter as flexibly as possible without any hope to describe anything that happens on the 'thin' side of the matter.

By the time I gave up my research on 'zoo-paremic' material, I had divided it into 4 main categories:

A. Proverbs concerning animal identity.

B. Proverbs concerning the relationships between people and animals (usually in metaphorical meaning).

C. Proverbs concerning the relationships between (metaphorical, as a rule) animals.

D. Proverbs concerning the relation of animals (either metaphorical or non-metaphorical) towards non-zoological nature and dimensions.

As the current article focuses on category A, I will begin with a brief characterisation of the rest of the categories.

B. PEOPLE / ANIMAL category

Considering the rules outlined in the so-called Great Chain Metaphor by Lakoff & Turner (1989) or elsewhere (e.g. Krikmann 1994), we might assume that the key to understand these texts lies mostly in 'translating', or rendering the animal terms from the biological (instinctive) elementary level to the human level of meaning, i.e. animals function as human beings or less definite 'human factors' in these proverbs. Also, this category contains a number of texts with parallel structure, consisting of two contrasting components, metaphorical and literal, e.g. Satisfy a dog with a bone and a woman with a lie; Give to a pig when it grunts and a child when it cries, and you will have a fine pig and a bad child. On rare occasions animal terms may literally denote animals.

The category contains several distinct subcategories and clusters.

One of them involves courage/cowardice in relating to animals, trusting animals, etc.: such proverbs teach us why should we be careful with some animals; emphasise that we should not be scared of a dead lion, or a drawn tiger, etc.; inform that those that bark, do not always bite, and vice versa; warn against disturbing a sleeping lion, or touch the nests and lairs of animals; often they advise us to avoid contact with animals, as pairing up with a dung-beetle you might end up in dung, lying down with a dog you might get fleas, you will learn to howl living among the wolves, etc.

Another subcategory concerns affection towards animals, marriage and family relations with animals, giving birth to animals (a Finnish proverb says: Marry a pig and you'll get piglets for good measure; Marrying a bad wife is the same than marrying a snake, goes a proverb from the East; yet sometimes people marry even animals, if they happen to be wealthy, for example).

In proverbs animals are often depicted as troublemakers, thieves and robbers; a separate subject is protecting domestic animals from predators. Proverbs are somewhat differently disposed towards the gratitude/ingratitude of animals: an animal might return a favour (Throw the dog a bone, and it will not bark), or tease you instead (Help a dog out of water, and it will splash water all over you). Yet another subcategory is concerned with various hunting and fishing schemes, where animals are depicted as prey (incl. domesticating and training of animals, extermination of parasites, etc.). Animals are also frequent constituents of various schemes of possession and ownership: for instance, the relationship between a master and his animal, buying and selling, stealing and swapping animals, the price and value of animals, the troubles accompanying the possession of animals (No horse, no problems). There are also a number of other smaller subcategories and clusters.

C. ANIMAL / ANIMAL category

All the texts under this category are basically the so-called sentential metaphors, and in order to understand them we have to 'translate' the world of animals into the world of humans.

This category is also divided into several subcategories and topics.

There is, for example, an extremely productive cluster of synonyms emphasising that animals (predators, in particular) do not harm each other, and understand each other: wolves never prey upon wolves, a dog does not step on another dog's paw, etc. Animal metaphors have also provided numerous possibilities to discuss gender issues: looking for a mate, differences in gender behaviour and roles of males and females, different species' attempts to copulate, which usually fail, etc. Animal metaphors are often used in expressing figuratively the parent-child relationship: all animals protect and care for their young; even an ugly or weak young is dear to his mother; a meek calf sucks two cows; a mare might give birth to many colts, but dies with a bridle on.

There are a few highly productive patterns, which help us model social relations best.

One of such patterns is 'individual/herd': the consistence and structure of a herd; the status of an individual inside the herd, the relationships between the herd and its leader; a stranger in the herd, who is scorned, bitten and gored; reciprocal relationships between herd members (one scabby sheep infects the whole flock); metaphors of caravan, harness and stable.

Another scheme maps the relationships between the killer and its victim, the eater and the one who is eaten: the most stereotypic oppositions would be wolf/sheep and cat/mouse.

Proverbs and animal fables coincide in motifs which oppose and relate a smart animal and a stupid one, or a strong and weak one: a smart animal deceives a fool one; a weaker animal receives advantage (protection) from a stronger one (a gnat on an ox's horn), weaker animals eat the leftovers of stronger animals; a stronger animal takes the food of a weaker. Proverbs where one animal is envious of another and wishes to be like that animal (bigger, prettier, nobler), like a frog and an ox for example, bear also similarity to fables.

The pot calls the kettle black -type of proverbs have their zoological modifications, as well: an animal laughs at and criticises another, who is actually smarter, prettier, etc., considering himself better than the other.

The group of proverb materials opposing diligent and idle ~ early and late animals is also large and international, especially the synonym of early/late bird (the early bird wipes its beak, the late one shakes its wings).

There is a number of other less productive subcategories: an animal dreams of a catch or food; an animal of dignity never pursues a trivial prey; where there is food, there are claimants (for instance, ravens to a carrion); an overly aggressive animal harms itself; even weak animals are not afraid of, or may attack the strong animal if it is sick, old, captured, or otherwise incapable and vulnerable, etc.


It often remains uncertain whether this category involves animals in metahorical or literal sense: for instance, could the Russian Волка ноги кормят [A wolf is fed by its feet] sometimes literally refer to wolf or not? In many cases we might assume that both are possible, i.e. the animal would serve as a double illustration of the general rule.

One of the main clusters of class D is where an animal is described as a physical, biological, somatic construction. This cluster describes the body parts of animals, their functions and purpose, other physical-biological characteristics and parametres of animals (sounds, motion, size and weight, food, faeces), their outward appearance, physical beauty, emotional moods, etc.: e.g. whining pig; a cat always lands on its paws; the fish begin to stink at the head; even the roach has a heart (i.e. can get angry); and many others. The cluster also displays some distinctive sub-clusters: the pattern 'small, but smart ~ pretty ~ efficient' (small mouse, sharp teeth; a small worm gnaws even through the largest things); animals are never weary or tired of carrying their own body parts (the bird of its feathers, the ox of its horns, the elephant of its tusks); the animal admires its own tail, voice, etc.; a satiated animal does not like its food (the mouse finds flour bitter).

Another larger subcategory associates animals with seasons, times of day and weather: describing animals' food supply at different times of year (it is scarce in winter, for example), animals with diurnal or nocturnal habits, the relations of animals to rainfall, wind, temperature, daylight and darkness (the crane dies while the bog is melting; eat fodder, cow, and remember past summer; one swallow does not make a summer; no wolf is afraid of rain or fog).

The third subcategory contains proverbs concerning animals' relations to space, location as a habitat: there is no place without animals (no lake without fish, no forest without birds); each place has its own animals; each animal or bird likes its own nest best, and does not foul it; an animal feels well in its natural environment (no fish can live on a dry land; water is fine for a seal).

And now we will link the hitherto seemingly incoherent discussions about type thickets and animal proverbs into an assertion: nowhere have I encountered a typological maze so large and continuative as the "identity category" (category A) of animal proverbs and proverbial expressions.

3. Proverbs of animal identity

The international proverb index by Kuusi and Lauhakangas (KL) has categorised most of the proverb material concerning animal identity (or that of other beings or things) under the following categories:

C1a. X's basic nature, character will be unchanged; characteristics won't be changed;

C1b. X is always X, although...;

C1c. No need to teach X belonging to its character; hopeless to teach things not belonging to X's character;

C1d. X will retain X's habits and customs.

Explanatory notes: All original quotations of the following appear in Italics, those in Estonian, Finnish, Karelian and Russian are followed by translations into English in square brackets. Other English translations (or renditions of translations) and also looser paraphrases are printed in roman type.

Subcategory 1:
The animal retains its specific identity ~ it will not turn ~ cannot be turned into another animal

I will name the smaller groups and sequences of this subcategory:

Quasi-tautologies: 'Animal X is X ~ remains an X'

Koer jääb ikka koeraks [A dog always remains a dog] (Estonian: EV 4050); Hund bleibt Hund (German: W II 846 (672)); also Hungarian: Nagy e95

Siga jääb ikka seaks [A pig always remains a pig] (Estonian, Häädemeeste parish: EV Ø); analogous proverbs Latvian (FS 840, 100), Armenian (Karap. [2] 26, Karap. [3] 103, Shag. 424); Krio (Diachk. 278)

A cat is always a cat (a monkey is always a monkey) (Vietnamese: Br. 167, IGV 67)

Vieh bleibt Vieh (German: B 637)

A deer is always a deer (Ossetian: Ab. 92)

Jänöi on ainos jänöi [A hare is always a hare] (Karelian: KSp 119)

All representatives of species X are identical, similar, alike, there is no significant difference between them

A beast is like a beast, a human like a human (Kara-Kalpakian: Br. 257)

A dog is like a dog (Latvian: FS 1478, 998)

Ei kahdella konnalla ole väliä [There is no difference between two frogs] (Finnish: Sl 100)

Kyllä monta vuohta yhdennäköistä on [Many goats come in the same shape] (Finnish: VKS 242)

All monkeys have similar ugly faces (Tamil/Dravidian: VA 47)

Animal X behaves like animal X ~ persists in its behaviour ~ its nature ~ its character will not change

A dog has dog's tricks: Koeral koera tembud (Estonian: EV 4069); Koiralla on koiran kujeet (Finnish: Sl 140); analogous proverbs: Karelian (KSp 179), Latvian (FS 828, 8050); Kus koer kombe jätt või halb peni ameti [Has a dog ever given up its tricks, or a bad canine its trade] (Estonian: EV 4136); A dog never gives up its tricks (Turkmen: Karr. 146); A dog behaves like a dog (Kirghiz: Br. 275)

A wolf has a wolf's nature ~ trade (Latvian: FS 1225, 1585; FS 527, 32002); Suvella on suven luonto: liha syö, nahan repii [A wolf has wolf's ways: eats the flesh, tears the skins] (Finnish: Sl 425); У волка и повадка на волчью стать [A wolf has wolf's wiles] (Russian: Rybn. 158); A wolf never gives up its tricks (Ossetian: Ab. 17)

A hog has hog's habits (Latvian: FS 1252, 69); A pig will always behave like a pig (Armenian: Karap. [1] 21)

A cat has cat's tricks (Latvian: FS 1444, 1545).

The retained species characteristics are sometimes described in greater detail (somatic features, characteristic noise, motion, etc.).

Animal retains the somatic features of its species (incl. fur, colour) ~ these cannot be eliminated ~ changed

We have, for example, a highly productive subcategory of internationally known proverbs about leopard ~ panther ~ zebra, who never changes its spots ~ stripes (Bible: Jer. 13:23; in my material: British (T L206), Assyrian (Br. 102), Kurdish (Br. 335), Japanese (Fount. 360) texts; KL C1a 32, incl. abundant material from Africa)

Dog's fur will never change (Komi: Ples. 191)

Punaissa punainen lehmä kuolooki [A brown cow dies brown] (Finnish: Sl 349)

Magpie's plumage is always ~ everywhere black-and-white ~ it can't be changed (Udmurtian: Kral. 133 and 134, Per. 76)

Varõs õks üt'svalgõ, kaarna ütekarvaline [A crow is always white, a raven of the same colour] (Estonian, district Setu: EV Ø)

A dog's tail is always twisted (Urdmurtian: Kral. 189, Per. 61 and 66); A dog never changes the shape of its tail (Turkish: Br. 544); A dog's tail will never be straight (even if it was straightened between chumps of wood ~ in a tube ~... (for seven years) (wide distribution in the Caucasus and Oriental countries, e.g. Georgian: Br. 293; Armenian: Kar. [1] 21, Kar. [2] 26, Kar. [3] 159; Ossetian: Ab. 112; Kurdish: Cel. 112; Pushtun: LJ 35; Arabian: Br. 69, Sharb. 47; Tamil: VA 46; Bengali: Br. 140; Malayan, Indonesian: Br. 364, Kol. 12; KL C1a 19)

A hare has a short tail (Udmurtian: Kral. 188)

Lind ei heida oma sulge kunagi ära [A bird never loses its feathers] (Estonian: EV 5917)

Animal X retains its characteristic way of moving, motor responses, etc.

A magpie ~ A crow never stops hopping ~ A sparrow hops around even when it's 100 years old (German: B 129, 281, 345; Japanese: Petr. 67, Br. 619, Fount. 640)

Die Sau läßt das Wühlen nicht (German: B 345, 487, 686); cf. also: He is like a hog, cannot help but root the ground (Mordvin: Sam. 257)

Animal X retains its characteristic way of making sounds ~ has to make sounds ~ cannot be without making sounds ~ ...

Kuer on loodud haukuma [A dog is born to bark] (Estonian: EV 4123); Sehän koiran virka on että haukkuu [Barking is dog's job] (Finnish: Sl 143; cf. also Hungarian: Nagy k2210); A dog has a habit of barking (Latvian: FS 231, 10151); A dog cannot live without barking (Udmurtian: Kral. 189, Per. 161; cf. also Komi: Ples. 194); Der Hund läßt das Bellen nicht (German: B 71, 278, 345; also Hungarian: Nagy k2252); A dog barks since it was born (Korean: TKKCh 48); The mouth speaks while it's alive, the dog barks while it's alive (Somalian: Kap. 76)

There is no such thing as not braying donkeys (Arabian: Sharb. 55; Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 113; Turkmen: Karr. 145)

All representatives of species X make similar sounds ~ Animal X always and everywhere makes same sounds

All dogs bark the same (Turkmen: Br. 568, Karr. 147)

A rooster always crows the same (Tajik, Uzbek: Br. 457 and 582, Kal. [2] 333, Abdur. 168)

A cuckoo calls the same everywhere (Malagasy: Korn. 86)

All jackals cry the same (Bengali: Br. 120)

All synonyms of notion X have the same meaning ~ all subcategories of species X are identical

Kass koska, koer sabak [The cat is koska, the dog is sabak (koska means 'cat' and sobak means 'dog' in corrupt Russian)] (Estonian, Karuse parish; EV Ø)

A dog and a canine — both the same Tartars (Hungarian: Nagy e27)

Hund ist Hund, Pudel oder Spitz (German: W II 847 (691))

Apina da oblesjan on yhtenjytys [Apina and oblesjan are the same (apina — Finnish for 'monkey'; oblesjan — corrupt Russian word for 'monkey')] (Karelian: KSp 17)

Bär und Petz ist eine Hetz (German: B 61and 441)

Goose and gander and gosling are three sounds but one thing (British: T G351)

God-snake is no better than abeso-snake (Somalian: Kap. 38)

Subsequently, such proverbs may point out the individual features of animals of the same species, although not changing the general nature of the species.

X is X, be it a large or a small individual

Even a small viper is a snake, even a weak enemy is an enemy ~ A viper is always a viper, no matter how large, an enemy is always an enemy, no matter how far it is, etc. (Mongol: Br. 398, DR 84; Chinese: Tishk. [1] 11, Tishk. [2] 7)

A calf of any size will still be a calf (Korean: TKKCh 57)

No matter how fat an ass gets — it will still be an ass (Ossetian: Ab. 89)

X is X, be it of any colour

Black dog or white dog — a dog is a dog, etc. (of wide distribution, particularly in the Oriental countries, for example: German: W I 847 (691); Russian: D 854, Rybn. 147; Ossetian: Ab. 48; Dargin: Br. 207; Turkish: Br. 521; Tajik, Uzbek: Kal. [2] 294, Br. 571, Abdur. 133; Turkmen: Karr. 114; Kirghiz: Shamb. 27; Uyghur: SK 600); Black dog, piebald cur — both are devils (Hungarian: Nagy k2037); cf. also KL C1b 13

Olgu põrsas valge või kirju, põrsaks jääb ta ikki [Be a piglet white or piebald, it will still be a piglet] (Estonian, Häädemeeste parish: EV Ø); A flecked pig or a brown pig, still a pig (Kumyk: Naz. 105); Does it matter, whether a pig is black or white (Turkmen: Br. 561, Karr. 111)

Black snake or white snake, it still is a snake (Udmurtian: Kral. 175; Tartar: Br. 481); Cursed be both the black and the white snake (Armenian: Karap. [2] 36, Karap. [3] 215; Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 54)

Нет, не гнед мерин, а саврас мерин, а всё тот же мерин [No, a gelding is not bay but light bay, but a gelding is still a gelding] (Russian: D 854, cf. also 209, 241, 265)

Сера овца, бела овца — всё один овечий дух [Grey sheep, white sheep — both smell like sheep] (Russian: D 853)

X is X, be it a young or an old individual

Yksi on vanhu, toinen sälgy, mieldy yhtenverdu [One is an old horse, the other is a foal, both have the same wits] (Karelian: KSp 600)

Бык да теля — одна родня [Ox or a calf — both from the same family] (Russian: D 853)

Young rooster or old, what's the difference (Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 78)

Wolf cub is wolf, too (Uyghur: SK 970)

X is X, be it a male or a female individual

This group consists dominantly of proverbs from the Oriental countries, and the animals occurring here tend to be good or 'noble'.

(In forest) a lion is a lion, be it male or female (Kurdish: Br. 334, Cel. 261 and 365; Persian: Krgl. 239; Aserbaidzhan: Br. 38, Gus. 12); Don't grieve over the birth of a daughter — a lioness is as good as a lion, etc. (Uzbek: Abdur. 166; Turkmen: Karr. 70)

Male or female eagle, an eagle is an eagle (Armenian: Karap. [1] 37, Karap. [2] 40, Karap.[3] 40)

Cf. also Russian: Нет, не собака, а сука (D 265), Нет не кобель, а кобелиха (D 265) [No, not a dog, but a bitch]

Further, 'X is X' -structures might occur alternately with 'X is not Y' -structures.

X is not Y ~ X can never be Y (or one subcategory of X will never be another)

In this group animals are set in oppositions on the basis of their size, dangerousness, 'nobility', etc.

A wolf is not a sheep (Latvian: FS 1552, 1956); Aus einem Wolf wird kein Lamm (German: B 340, 681)

Aus einem Tiger wird nie ein Lamm (German: B 427)

A wolf will never be a sheepdog (Livonian: LV 878); Eihän metsäkoirasta ole kartanokoiraks [A wild dog will not become a farm dog] (Finnish: Sl 234); A sheepdog will never become a bird-dog (Latvian: FS 609, 5253); Aus einem Mops wird kein Jagdhund (German: B 402)

If it's a cat, it will never turn into a dog (Chinese: Br. 306); An evil dog will never turn into a good cat (Indonesian: Kol. 11)

A kindly aver will never make a good horse (British: T A403); A good horse becomes never a jade (T H645)

A donkey will not become a horse (Turkish: Ivan. 26; Tartar: Br. 499); A horse can never become a donkey (Hindi: Br. 599)

A snake hatchling will never become a chicken (Armenian: Karap. [2] 26, Karap. [3] 214)

Quite often birds are presented in a couple — a predator and a harmless bird, a songbird and a voiceless bird, a 'noble' and a 'vulgar' bird:

A crow ~ A sparrow ~ An owl ~ A goose ~ A pidgeon will never become an eagle ~ hawk (Latvian: FS 1263, 577; German: B 144, 188, 241, 328; Russian: D 724, Ruk. 84; Kirghiz: Br. 270, Shamb. 346)

A crow ~ a sparrow will never be a nightingale (Estonian: EV 5957; German: B 328 and 413; Turkish: Ivan. 6)

Sometimes the pairs are randomly selected:

Ei tule variksesta vesilintua [A crow will never become a waterbird] (Finnish: Sl 523); Tyhjäs tottu ei rodie, metšoi tetrez menöy [Truth will not arise from an empty place, a wood grouse with not turn into a black grouse] (Karelian: KSp 533); A sparrow will never become a nightingale, a duck will never get its wings wet (Uzbek: Br. 572)

Other random pairs:

A foal is not a chicken (Latvian: FS 997, 2816); Was ein Schwein ist, wird sein Leben kein Ochse (German: B 528); A cat can never become a cow (Korean: TKKCh 67); A cat is not a hare (Latvian: FS 529, 1717); Камень — не угодье, пес — не баран [A stone is not arable land, a cur is not a ram] (Russian: D 470); A goat is not a dog, own child is not a slave (Ovambo: Kuusi 1424); A turtle can never become an eagle (Uzbek: Abdur. 156)

Further elaboration on the subject might vary in temporal or other aspects.

X remains an X ~ It will never become Y regardless of time or age: young and old, from birth till death, from dawn till dusk, etc.

Kes koer elades, see koer surres [He who lives like a dog, dies as one] (Estonian: EV 4050); Mis koer õhtul, see koer homikul [A dog in the evening is the same dog in the morning] (Estonian: EV 4165); Who is a dog until noon, is a dog in the afternoon (Hungarian: Nagy d61)

Once an ass, always an ass (Latvian: FS 796, 4296); Born as an ass, lived like an ass, died an ass (Persian: Krgl. 193); Born as a horse — is a horse, born as an ass — is an ass (Malayan, Indonesian: Br. 371)

Слон родился — слон и есть [Born as an elephant — is an elephant] (Russian: D 572)

A crow lives long, but it will always be a crow (Ossetian: Br. 407, Ab. 30)

Кто волком родился, тому лисой не бывать [Who was born as a wolf, can never become a fox] (Russian: D 724, cf. also D 723, Ruk. 125); Волком родился, овцой не бывать [Born as a wolf, will never become a sheep] (Russian: D 723)

Or some pairs of birds from Mordvin proverbs:

Born as an owl — no good as a nightingale (Sam.315); Born as a hen — will never become a duck (Sam. 210); Born as a hen — can never fly like an eagle (Sam. 209)

Further, a proverb may contain various though-clauses.

X is X ~ it will never become an Y, though it resembles Y in outward appearance or colour

A dog is not a hare, even though it had the same reddish colour (Hungarian: Nagy ny268)

A piebald goat will not become a tiger (Tajik: Kal. [2] 136)

A polecat might be piebald, but it will never become a lion (Uzbek: Kal. [2] 136, cf. also Abdur. 122)

A fly might have antlers, but you cannot call it a buffalo (Chinese: Tishk. [1] 52)

A bee might have a striped back, but you cannot call it a tiger (Chinese: Tishk [1] 52, Tishk [2] 42)

X will not become Y, no matter how large it may be (presuming Y is a large animal)

Из большого осла все не выйдет слона [Even a large ass will never become an elephant] (Russian: D 548)

A hog might be large, but it is not an elephant (Bengali: Br. 118)

Though the animal might change its fur ~ its skin, it preserves its specific identity

A remarkably productive and widely known group of proverbs.

A wolf may change its fur, but never its manners ~ heart ~ teeth (Estonian: EV 1618; Livonian: LV 862; Latvian: FS 1652, 2352; German: B 40 and 681; British: T W616, W613; Russian: D 723; Mari: Ib. 109; Mordvin: Sam. 241; Komi: Ples. 192; Armenian: Br. 72, Karap [1] 21, Karap. [2] 24, Karap. [3] 48; Turkish: Leb. 40; Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 104)

Der Fuchs ändert's Haar und bleibt, was er war (German: B 87, 181); A fox may change his heyre but not his minde (British: T W616)

A dog may change its fur but not its manners, etc. (Estonian: EV 1618; Livonian: LV 621; Latvian: FS 1341, 6845; Turkish: Ivan. 36)

A snake may change its skin, but not its mind ~ manners (Armenian: Karap. [3] 216, Shag. 347; Persian: Br. 21, Krgl. 273; Aserbaidzhan: Br. 37; Tajik: Kal. [1] 239; Turkmen: Karr. 119); A snake might leave its skin, but its heart remains the same (Russian: Rybn. 107; Georgian: Br. 192); Die Schlange wechselt wohl die Haut, aber nicht die Giftzähne (German: B 219, 503; cf. also Latvian: FS 1600, 5608); Скинула кожу змея, а яд при ней остался [A snake left its skin, but not its poison] (Russian: Rybn. 76)

Cf. also PS 618; EP 32; KL C1a 33

You cannot turn ~ grow X into Y

You cannot turn a bear into a wolf (Udmurtian: Per. 65); You cannot turn a wolf into a bear (Udmurtian: Kral. 190)

You cannot turn a sheep into a wolf (Udmurtian: Per. 68); You cannot turn a wolf into a sheep (Udmurtian: Kral. 125); You cannot grow a wolf into a lamb (Komi: Ples. 36)

Hundist ei saa karjakoera [A wolf would not become sheepdog] (Estonian: EV 1611; cf. also Latvian: FS 1393, 2661)

You cannot make a tiger out of a sheep (Indonesia: Kol. 31)

You cannot make a sheep out of a goat (Udmurtian: Kral. 190); You cannot turn a sheep into a goat (Udmurtian: Per. 68)

You cannot make a nightingale out of a crow (Latvian: FS 1940, 2563)

X will never become Y (or subspecies Xm will never become Xn), no matter how hard it would work ~ try

All the examples under this group happen to be Russian proverbs:

Не дуйся, коровка, не быть бычком [Take it easy, cow, you will never be an ox] (D548)

Как ни бодрись ворона, а до сокола далеко [No matter how hard you try, crow, it will be a long way] (D 724)

Синица хоть тресни — журавлем не быть [A titmouse may try until it bursts, but will never become a crane] (Ruk. 110, cf. also Ruk. 62, D 847)

Сколько утка ни бодрись, а лебедем ~ гусем не быть [A duck may try as hard as it can, but it will never become a swan ~ goose] (D 830, Rybn. 67)

X will never become Y, no matter how fast it would run ~ how high it would fly ~ how clever it would be, etc.

No matter how fast a watchdog would run, it will never become a hound (Uzbek: Abdur.122)

Even the fastest ass is not a horse (Uyghur: SK 1110); No matter how hard would a crow try, it will never become an eagle; how fast would an ass run, it will never become a trotter (Kirghiz: Shamb. 195)

No matter how high would a raven ~ sparrow ~ owl fly, it will never become an eagle ~ hawk (Russian: D 830; Mordvin: Sam. 210; Tamil: VA 48)

No matter how strong the raven's grip, it will never become a hawk (Uyghur: SK 1111); A ferret has stripes, but it will never become a tiger; a crow is slick, but it will never become a hawk (Uzbek: Abdur. 122)

X will always be X ~ it will never become Y, whereever it goes ~ An X at one place, an X at another

Kes koer siin, see koer seal [Who is a dog here, is a dog there] (Estonian: EV 4104); Kes koir kotun, see koir vällän [Who is a dog at home, is a dog outside] (Estonian: EV 4054); A dog might go abroad, but it still is a dog (Malayan: Br. 379); A dog is just a dog, even if it swims across the Danube (Hungarian: Nagy d416)

Wo ein Esel eingeht, kommt auch ein Esel aus (German: B 140, 261, cf. also 139, 172)

A snake is a snake even under the ground (Indonesian: Kol. 13)

Whereever a crow would fly, it will never turn into ~ be thought of as an eagle (Udmurtian: Per. 76, Kral. 132)

A crow in the pond is the same than a crow on the shore (Latvian: FS 1594, 2998)

Send off a young X, it will return as an old X

Wenn man ein Kalb fortschickt, kommt ein Ochse wieder (German: B 166, 299, 673); Поехал теленок, а повернулся быком [A calf went off, an ox returned] (Russian: Ruk. 60, cf. also Ruk. 106, D 440)

Vie porsas Saksaan, tuo sikana takaisin [Take a piglet to Germany, bring a pig back] (Finnish: VKS 411); Vie porsaana kylään, sikana takasi tuloo [Take a piglet to the village, a pig will return] (Karelian: KSp 398)

X remains X ~ will not become something better ~ X will never become Y, even if it stayed at holy ~ sublime ~ faroff places ~ famous schools ~ important centres

Matti Kuusi has analysed this group of proverbs in his article Research problems in loan proverbs (1994/1998).

If (Christ's) ass stays at Mecca (and Medina), it'll still come back an ass, etc. (widely known in the eastern cultures, e.g. Persian: Br. 420; Pushtu: Br. 439; Tajik: Br. 457, Kal. [1] 308, Kal. [2] 322; Uyghur: SK 751); An ass may go to Mecca, but it will not become pure (Uzbek: Kal. [2] 322, Abdur. 179); An ass went to Jerusalem 40 times and was still the same ass (Armenian: Br. 88, Karap. [1] 21, Karap. [2] 26, Karap. [3] 77, Shag. 232); Осел и в Киеве ~ Цареграде конем не будет [An ass will not become a horse even in Kiev ~ in Tsaritsyn] (Russian: Ruk. 59 and 104); An ass entered a pharmacy and an ass came out (Arabian: Br. 54); I sent my ass travelling, but it returned the same ass (Kurdish: Br. 336)

Vie sika Saksaan, tuo sika Saksasta — sika sika kumminkin on [Take a pig to Germany, bring the pig back from Germany — it will still be the same pig] (Finnish: VKS 410, cf. also Sl 404, Spk 21); Saada siga Saksamaale, pese siga seebiga, siga tuleb koju, siga jääb seaks [Take a pig to Germany, wash it with soap, the pig comes back home, and a pig is still a pig] (Estonian: EV 10363); cf. PS 758; KL C1c 19

Vii koer kiriku ehk too tagasi, ühesugu karvane ikka [Take a dog to the church and bring it back; it will still be the same hairy dog] (Estonian: EV 4184); Wie der Hund in die Kirche kommt, so geht er wieder hinaus (German: W II 875 (1299), cf. also W II 835 (391)); Can a black dog turn into a holy cow after a pilgrimage to Benares (Telugu: Br. 509)

The wolf goes to Rome and there leaves his hairs and not his manners (British: T W613)

Who goes a beast to Rome a beast returns (British: T B156)

Bär bleibt Bär, fährt man ihn auch übers Meer (German: B 61)

Eine Gans übers Meer, eine Gans wieder her (German: B 188, 392); Полетели за море гуси, прилетели тож не лебеди [Geese flew overseas, but did not return as swans] (Russian: D 327); Ворона за море летала, да вороной и вернулась [A crow flew overseas and returned as a crow] (Russian: D 440); Ворона за море летала, да лучше не стала [A crow flew overseas, but did not become any better] (Russian: Rybn. 66)

The animal retains its specific qualities (its characteristic call, for example), even after having visited faraway ~ holy places, etc.

Send a calf to Paris — it will return home and say 'moo' (Frisian: W II 1103 (86))

A cat may visit Mecca, but it will not stop meowing (Indonesian: Kol. 9)

Журавли за море летают, а всё одно курлы [Cranes flew overseas, but still shrieked the same] (Russian: D 440)

The animal remains itself ~ holds on to its habits or expectations, even after having entered a monastic order

Постригся кот, посхимился кот, а всё тот же кот [The cat tonsured its head, the cat entered the higher monastic order, but the cat is still a cat] (Russian: D 658); Кот Евстрафий постригся, посхимился, а всё мышей во сне видит [The cat tonsured its head, entered the monastic order, but still dreams of mice in its sleep] (Russian: Rybn. 153)

Cf. also Georgian: A fox cropped itself to a monk (Br. 196)

The animal will not become a pilgrim or a monk, though it has been to Mecca for 40 times

An ass who has been on a pilgrimage will not become a pilgrim (Kurdish: Cel. 336)

A camel might travel to Mecca (for 40 times), but it will not become a hajji (Turkish: Leb. 43; Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 97; Turkmen: Karr. 59)

A mouse converted to Islam, but the number of Muslims didn't grow (and the number of Chistians didn't fall) (Arabian: Br. 62, Sharb. 53)

X animal will always be X ~ it will never become Y, though it has lived among Ys

Let a cow into a herd of horses, but it still won't become a horse (Udmurtian: Per. 67)

A dog will always be a dog, even if it has grown up among lions (Arabian: Sharb. 58); A lion will always be a lion, even if its claws have become weak, a dog will always be a dog, even if it has grown up among lions (Arabian: Br. 61)

Exception: A wolf cub will always be a wolf, even if it has growm up among people (Assyrian: Br. 94; Persian: Br. 418, Krgl. 525)

X will never learn to sound like Ys, though it has lived among Ys

A nightingale might grow up in the crow's nest, but it will never learn to croak (Bengali: Br. 140)

X remains X ~ it will never become Y, though its outward appearance is changed (tail or ears cut off, tail attached, etc.)

A dog will be a dog, even if you cut its tail off (Estonian, Rakvere parish: EV Ø; Latvian: FS 542, 897; German: W II 826 (168); British: T D520); You can cut the dogs tail as short as you like, but it will not become a hound (Kurdish: Cel. 276); Chop off the dog's tail — it will still not turn into a sheep ~ lamb (Russian: D 722; Mari: Ib. 45; Udmurtian: Kral. 75, Per. 67; Armenian: Br. 75, Shag. 361)

Cut an ass's ears — it will still not become an (Arabian) horse (Turkish: Br. 539, Leb. 42); You can cut an ass's ears, but it will still not become a gazelle (Turkish: Ivan. 28)

You can cut off pig's tail and ears, but it will still be a pig (Turkish: Leb. 20); You can cut off pig's snout and ears, but it will still be called a pig (Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 65)

You can put a dog's tail on a goat, but it will not become a dog (Udmurtian: Per. 65)

X will not become Y, no matter what sounds it makes ~ though it sounds like animal Y

No matter how much a goat would shriek, it will not become a cow (Mordvin: Sam. 209)

No matter how much a crow would croak — it will not become a nightingale (Kalmyk: Br. 241)

A crow may fly and cackle but it will not become a goose (Kirghiz: Shamb. 175)

Cf. also KL C1a 31

Animal X remains X ~ sounds the same ~ it will not become Y, though it is stroked ~ it is sheared ~ combed / or: no matter how much it is beaten (often occurs as alternatives and contaminations of texts of the next group)

A beaten pig is the same than a pig who is not beaten (Latvian: FS 1151, 330); Sui sika, pese sika, sika sika sentään on [Comb a pig, wash a pig, a pig is still a pig] (Finnish: VKS 411, cf. also Sl 403); Silitä taikka pese sikaa, yhdellä tavalla se vinkuu [Stroke or wash a pig, it will whine the same] (Finnish: VKS 411); Lyö sikaa, pere porsasta, yhdellä lailla ne vinkuvat [Beat the pig, wash the piglet, both whine the same way] (Finnish: VKS 411); Siguja syötä libo lyö, yhtä hyvin rögäjääh [Feed the pigs or beat them, they whine the same] (Karelian: KSp 459, cf. also 458); Pottšii sivo libo keritä, yksikai vinguu [Hit the pig or shear it, still whines the same] (Karelian: KSp 400, cf. also 457)

A whisked dog is the same than a dog not whisked (Latvian: FS 1551, 2870)

Strip the wolf of seven skins, it will still be a wolf (Georgian: Br. 205)

Scratch an ass as much as you like — it will not become a horse ~ trotter (Armenian: Karap. [2] 33, Karap. [3] 75); No matter how much you beat an ass — it will not become a horse ~ trotter (Armenian: Shag. 350; Persian: Br. 430; Pushtu: LJ 28, Br. 439); cf. also Bengali: Tries to beat a horse out an ass (Br. 136); Beat an ass as much as you like — it will not become a mule (Armenian: Karap. [1] 21, Karap. [2] 26, Karap. [3] 75, Shag. 415)

An animal will not turn into another, even after washing or bathing (in holy water)

No matter how much a crow would bathe, it will never become a goose (Armenian: Karap. [1] 22, Karap. [2] 26, Karap. [3] 12, Shag. 360); A crow will never become a swan, even if it bathed in the Ganges (Telugu: Br. 512; Tamil: Br. 496, VA 48)

If an ass bathes, will it become a horse (Malayan: Br. 378); No matter how much you wash an ass, it will never become a cow (Nepal: Br. 404)

An animal will not turn into another, no matter how you feed it

Feed a crow whatever yo like, it will never become a falcon (Kirghiz: Shamb. 174)

X will be X ~ it will not turn into Y though it has beautiful bridles ~ silky girth ~ golden saddle ~ (Y's) saddle on

A stereotype opposition in the eastern proverbs is again formed of an ass and a horse:

Put a nice harness on an ass — it will not become a horse (Bengali: Br. 132); Put a golden bridle on an ass — it will still be an ass (Turkish: Ivan. 21); An ass is an ass even under silk saddlecloth (Persian: Krgl. 518; cf. also Tajik: Kal. [1] 308, Kal. [2] 322); An ass is an ass even with a golden saddle (Turkish: Leb. 42; cf. also Ossetian: Ab. 35); Put a (horse) saddle on an ass — it will still be an ass ~ will not become a horse, etc. (Tati: Br. 500; Lesgin: Br. 352; Tamil: VA 45); You can saddle a black ass — but it will still not turn into a mule (Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 120)

Cf. also: Same ass, but a new ~ another saddle ~ has changed its saddlecloth ~ ... (Armenian: Br. 82, Karap. [1] 21, Karap. [2] 24, Karap. [3] 77; Kurdish: Cel. 337; Persian: Br. 427, Krgl. 192; Assyrian: Br. 99; Arabian: Sharb. 19; Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 96; Pushtu: LJ 57 and 62; Tajik: Kal. [1] 188, Kal. [2] 321)

Saddle a horse in gold — a horse is still a horse (Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 65)

Pane sea selga kuldsadul, siiski jääb ta seaks [Put a golden saddle on a pig, it is still a pig] (Estonian: EV 10361); Wenn man die Sau sattelt, wird noch lange kein Reitpferd draus (German: B 486)

Der Ochs wird kein Reitpferd, wenn er auch einen Sattel bekommt (German: W III 1096 (77))

X will be X though clad in royal clothing ~ adorned ~ a golden ring through its nose ~ a crown on its head, etc.

Hund bleibt Hund, wenn er auch ein roth Halsband trägt (German: W II 846 (647)); A dog will be a dog, though gilded with gold (Arabian: Sharb. 15)

Wenn man den Ochsen auch die Hörner vergoldet, sie bleiben doch Ochsen (German: W III 1105 (292))

A pig will be a pig, even if it had a golden ring through its snout (Livonian: LV 807); Свинья в золотом ошейнике всё свинья [A pig in a golden collar is still a pig] (Russian: D 587, cf. also Ruk. 177); A pig is a pig even in silk (Mordvin: Sam. 248)

Adorn an ass as you like — it will still be an ass (Assyrian: Br. 99)

Ahv jääb ikka ahviks, pane või krimpleen selga [An ape will always be an ape, though clad in silk] (Estonian, Urvaste parish: EV Ø); An ape is an ape, though clad in scarlet ~ gold (British: T A263, cf. also A262); An ape is an ape even with a crown on its head (Japanese: Petr. 84)

Praise or adulation will not change the animal into another

Praising will not turn an ass into a horse (Turkmen: Br. 563, Karr. 104)

Teaching or training will not change the animal

Train an owl as much as you like, it will not turn into a nightingale (Persian: Krgl. 140)

Subcategory 2:
Son — parent relationship, transmitting of species characteristics from parents to their offspring

The son of X is also X ~ animal X gives birth to the same animals ~ Y will not hatch from X's egg, etc.

Was ein Kuh geboren ist, bleibt ein Rindvieh (German: B 335, 473)

A horse is born from a mare, a hero from a mother (Kara-Kalpak: Br. 250; Kazakh: Br. 223); A horse is born from Argamak, evil is born from evil (Tartar: Br. 488); A mare gives birth to a horse, a female donkey to a donkey foal (Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 42); Humans give birth to humans, asses give birth to asses (Kurdish: Br. 336)

A dog's son is also a dog (Hungarian: Nagy k2304); A canine mother's daughter is also a dog (Nagy e100); Expect puppies from a dog, sables from a sable (Armenian: Karap. [2] 26, Karap. [3] 166, Shag. 483); A piglet is born from a sow, a puppy from a bitch (Udmurtian: Per. 108)

Piglet is the child of a pig (Latvian: FS 1225, 30919); От бобра — бобренок, от свиньи — поросенок [From a beaver — a beaver kit (is born), from a pig — a piglet] (Russian: D 721); От лося — лосята, от свиньи — поросята [From an elk — a calf is born, from a pig — a piglet] (Russian: D 721); cf. also Estonian: Emmisel on kümme poega, kõegest saavad sead, kubjal üksaenus, sellestki saa kubjast [A sow has ten sons, all will be pigs, an overseer has only one, he will not become an overseer] (EV 660)

A kid will be born from a nanny-goat, a lamb from a sheep (Ossetian: Br. 412, Ab. 91)

Karhull on karhun penikat [A bear has bear cubs] 'cold summer follows a cold winter' (Finnish: Sl 109, cf. also Sl 110)

Suvell on suve penikatkii [A wolf has wolf cubs] (Finnish: Sl 425); (Only) a wolf ~ cub is born to a (female) wolf (Arabian: Br. 64, cf. also Sharb. 39; Pushtu: Br. 439, LJ 14); A wolf's son is also a wolf (Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 42)

Lion's children ~ Those who are born from a lion will be lions (Turkish: Br. 543, Ivan. 30; Uzbek: Br. 574, Abdur. 67); If the father is lion, then the son is a lion cub (Vietnamese: Br. 153)

Kyl kärme kärmeen siittää [A snake will give birth to a snake] (Finnish: Spk 172); Can a snake give birth to anything but a snake (Arabian: Br. 66, cf. also Sharb. 39); A snake gives birth to a snake, a wolf gives birth to a wolf (Udmurtian: Per. 107); A scorpion gives birth to a scorpion, a snake to a snake (Tajik: Kal. [1] 50, Kal. [2] 67; Uzbek: Br. 575, Kal. [2] 67, Abdur. 83)

Dragons give birth to dragons (Chinese: Tishk. [2] 66); A dragon is born from a dragon, a gossiper from a gossiper (Vietnamese: IGV 32, Br. 168)

Frogs are born from frogs ~ A frog's son is also a frog, etc. (Estonian: EV 4305; Japanese: Petr. 59, Br. 632, Fount. 258)

Saivaren täi paskantaa [Louse shits nit(s)] (Finnish: VKS 339, cf. also Sl 387 and 496)

Once again bird referents form contrasting pairs: noble and vulgar, predator with non-predator, song bird with a bird who does not sing, etc.:

Only young crows hatch from crow's eggs (Georgian: Br. 193); A raven is born to a raven, a crow to a crow (Yakut: Yem. 191); Eagle's sons are eagles, raven's sons are ravens ~ crow's sons are crows (Yakut: Yem. 45); Орел орла плодит, а сова сову родит [An eagle begets an eagle, an owl is born to an owl] (Russian: D 722); Eagle's sons are eagles (Japanese: Petr. 81); Haukall on haukan pojat [A hawk has hawks' sons] (Finnish: Sl 35)

A nightingale is born to a nightingale, a cricket to a cricket (Tajik: Kal. [1] 50, Kal. [2] 67)

Дурка дурку и высиживает [A turkey is hatched from a turkey hen] (Russian: D 721)

Phoenixes hatch phoenixes (Chinese: Tishk. [1] 38)

Animal X will not give birth to animal Y ~ The eggs of a certain bird or snake will not hatch another bird or snake

Here the opposition of animals is unavoidable, and is still based on the contrast of noble/vulgar, predator/harmless, pretty/ugly, etc.

Кошке тигра не родить [A cat does not give birth to a tiger] (Russian: Rybn. 96); A tiger does not give birth to a cat (Tamil: VA 47)

An ass does not give birth to a horse foal (Ossetian: Ab. 92); Can an ass give birth to a horse, can an ass run faster than a horse (Uyghur: SK 1427); A horse does not give birth to an ass (Indonesian: Kol. 10)

Ega härjast jänest sünni [An ox does not give birth to a hare] (Estonian: EV 1823)

A dog does not give birth to a lamb (Armenian: Karap. [1] 22, Karap. [2] 26, Karap. [3] 164, Shag. 417); Don't expect lambs from a dog (Georgian: Br. 200)

A wolf does not give birth to lambs ~ Wolf's son is not a lamb (Turkish: Br. 545, Leb. 41)

A nanny goat does not give birth to a lamb (Adygei: Br. 33)

A pig does not give birth to a lamb (Turkish: Ivan. 26); A kite does not give birth to an eagle, a pig does not give birth to a lamb (Uyghur: SK 1424)

You can't milk a rooster, don't expect a calf from a pig (Komi: Ples. 94)

Не родит свинья бобра [A pig does not give birth to a beaver kit] (Russian: Ruk. 58); От свиньи не родится бобренок, — только поросенок [Pigs do not give birth to beaver kits — only to piglets] (Russian: Ruk. 36); including plenty of other Russian variants — see for example Ruk. 128 and 185, D 722, Rybn. 96)

Ei siga sobelii saa [A pig does not give birth to a sable] (Karelian: KSp 458, cf. also 400); Ei koiru kunittšua sua eigo siga sobolii [A dog does not give birth to a marten, nor a pig to a sable] (KSp 179, cf. also 458)

Свинья не родит сокола [A pig does not give birth to an eagle] (Russian: D 722)

A frog does not give birth to snakes (Indonesian: Kol. 31); Ega konna pojast kala ei kasva [A frog's son will not grow into a fish] (Estonian: EV 4302)

An eagle does not hatch an owl (British: T E2; Russian: D 722); A raven does not hatch an eagle (Arabian: Br. 64, Sharb. 40)

Adler brüten keine Tauben (German: B 27, 98, 579); An eagle does not hatch a dove (British: T E2)

There are a number of other random contrasting pairs:

A nightingale from a crow (Udmurtian: Kral. 146); a peacock from a crow (Russian: Rybn. 96; Tajik: Kal. [1] 65); chickens from a crow (Karelian: KSp 558); chickens out of cuckoo's eggs (Russian: D 456); swan from a hen (Uyghur: SK 1425); a phoenix from a hen (Chinese: Tishk. [1] 39, Tishk. [2] 67); a raven from a goose (Karelian: KSp 189), and others.

Bird, snake, etc. X does not lay eggs ~ its nest has no ~ it does not hatch the eggs of bird, snake, etc. Y

You can't take a chicken egg from a crow's nest (Chinese: Br. 292)

Ei ole korpin pesäs hanhen munii eigä hanhen pesäs korpin poikii [There are no goose eggs in the raven's nest, nor raven's hatchlings in the goose's nest] (Karelian: KSp 189); Varekse pesäst ei maksa hanemuna etsida [There's no point in looking for a goose egg in a crow's nest] (Estonian: EV 13818)

Harakan pesästä ei pie ehtii hanhen munii eikä sian päätä köyhän paasta [There's not point in looking for a goose egg in a magpie's nest nor pig head (meant as a tidbit) in poor man's pot] (Finnish: Sl 32)

A hen does not lay goose eggs (Ossetian: Ab. 61)

A hen does not hatch partridge eggs (Armenian: Karap. [2] 26)

Thou shalt know an Eagles nest, disdaines to hatch a Crow (British: T E2)

I don't believe a dragonfly could lay eagle eggs (Georgian: Br. 198)

Ein Schlange legt keine Taubenei (German: B 353, 503)

Cf. also exceptions, where a bird is forced to lay or hatch the eggs of another bird:

Gave chicken eggs to a crow (Vietnamese: IGV 23, cf. also Br. 168); Hanhen pesäh ei pie tuuva harakan munua [You should not put magpie's egg to a goose's nest] (Karelian: KSp 49); A wild duck was forced to lay goose eggs (Ossetian: Ab. 33); Don't force a titmouse lay crane eggs (Mari: Ib. 86); Don't lay snake eggs under a hatching dove (Armenian: Shag. 508)

A young animal X ~ egg will grow into an adult animal X ~ it will not grow ~ it cannot be grown into animal Y

Lapsesta mies tulee, penikaste koira kasvaa [A child will become a man, a puppy will grow into a dog] (Finnish: VKS 400, cf. also Sl 324)

A foal will become horse (Livonian: LV 1020); A horse's son will become a horse (Hungarian: Nagy l712); A horse will grow from a foal, a man is a man since childhood (Tuva: HS 37)

An ass foal will grow into an ass (Armenian: Br. 79, Karap. [1] 21, Karap. [2] 26, Karap. [3] 90); A little ass grew up — still the same ass (Kurdish: Cel. 75); You can't straighten a twist in a pole, you can't grow a horse out of an ass (Chechen, Ingush: Br. 607); cf. also Armenian and Turkish: Though an ass grows up, it will not become a stableboy (Br. 87, Karap. [1] 21, Karap. [2] 26; Leb. 62)

Früher ein Kalb, später ein Ochs (German: B 299, 434); Even a calf will become a cow once ~ in time (Udmurtian: Kral. 160; Persian: Br. 421); cf. also Estonian: Kest lehm kasus, pidi jo väikult vasik olema [Who grows into a cow must have been a calf once] (EV 5634)

Igast põrsast kasvab siga [Every piglet will grow into a pig] (Estonian, Tartu: EV Ø); Aus einem Ferkel wird eine Sau (German: B 154, 487, cf. also 313); No matter how large a piglet would grow, it will never become an elephant (Tamil: VA 46)

Aus Zicklein ~ Kitzlein werden Böcke (German: B 89, 311, 695)

Aus jungen Füchsen werden alte (German: B 181)

(Every) wolf cub grows into a wolf (Turkish: Ivan. 6; Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 43); A wolf cub will not grow into a dog (Turkish: Ivan. 6; Kirghiz: Shamb. 100)

A lion cub will become a lion (Turkmen: Karr. 96); A lion cub will not grow into a jackal (Bengali: Br. 129)

Even a chicken will become a hen once (Udmurtian: Per. 51)

A tadpole will become a frog (Ovambo: Kuusi 63); Was a tadpole, became a frog (Japanese: Petr. 63)

Nits will be lice (British: T N191)

Cf. also: An egg that lies on the ground will once become a bird that flies under the sky (Dargin: Naz. 64; Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 62; Kirghiz: Shamb. 146, 300, Br. 278; Mongolian: DR 61)

Even the young animal has its specific qualities and characteristics

A puppy barks, barks and grows into a dog (Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 49 and 112; Turkmen: Karr. 139)

Isä virka pojalle, sijankärsä porsahalle [Son will have his father's job, piglet will have pig's snout] (Finnish: Sl 82, cf. also Sl 80, Spk 173); The young pig grunts like the old sow (British: T P309); У свиньи и поросята рыласты [A pig will have piglets with snouts, too] (Russian: D 722, cf. also Ruk. 77)

Even a young mouse will become a rodent (Arabian: Sharb. 39)

A lion is scary even at the young age (Udmurtian: Per. 64; Aserbaidzhan: Gus. 13)

Leopard's youngs have spots too (Somalian: Kap. 68)

An elephant's son is a giant too (Vietnamese: IGV 59)

Was von Hühnern kommt, kratzt gern (German: B 277); He that comes of a hen, must scrape (British: T H420)

4. And it goes on and on and on...

Due to the limited space, I managed to abstract only two subcategories of proverbs of animal identity. In reality this continually shifting pattern will go on an on.

For example, in the following subcategory the specific or gender identity of the animal changes, or the animal will not pass it on to its young. Once again, the change is presented through oppositions large/small, predator/harmless, noble/vulgar, pretty/ugly, etc.

An Udmurtian proverb says that a hen could turn into a rooster; the Hungarians think that a jade might become a magic horse; in Japan even a mouse could become a tiger; in China phoenexes can be born in a crow's nest; a Korean proverb says that a father might be a lion, but its son is a jackal (or a Vietnamese proverb, which says that a tiger has given birth to a puppy, or that a cobra has given birth to a lizard, or that a hen has hatched ducklings); the Ovambos let a fly give birth to a bee; among the Japanese and Uyghurs a kite could hatch an eagle, etc. etc.

The species of an animal (in the metaphorical meaning) can change under specific circumstances and situations (at the old age, for example, or when for other reasons incapable, in trouble, in distress, with ill luck, in shame, abroad, etc.): thus an old cat turns into a fox in Vietnam, an old lion into a dog among the Ingush people, in Armenia a cat turns into a lion in trouble, among the Bengali a cat may turn into a tiger in a fight, in several eastern countries a horse in the stable could turn into a donkey at times of bad luck, etc.

Another category consists of internationally known proverbs on exaggeration, where the opposition is formed of a remarkably small and a huge animal, and the small animal is turned into the large one: in Estonian proverbs it is usually a fly that is made into an elephant, but the fly might be substituted with, say, a gnat, a flea, etc., and the elephant with an ox, a camel, a lion, etc.

There is yet another internationally known body of proverbs, where a representative of a certain species is excluded from the genus, or a subspecies from the species: a mare is not a horse; goats are not livestock; a magpie is not a bird; a ruff is not a fish, and many others. This body of proverbs (like several others) is not limited to zoological images, only, but spreads also to other semantical fields: A Zaporozhets is not a car; a bedbug is not meat; a kopeck is not money; an apron is not a garment; a woman is not a person; an inhabitant of Hiiumaa is not a man; etc., etc. Also such single statements tend to merge and link together.
A parallel group of proverbs shows compassion to such rejects and includes them among the species: a crow is a bird, too; an öre is money, too; flea is meat, too, etc. (Further examples about figurative lexica and links see for example Krikmann 1997: 162–164.)

Another distinctive group concerns the problems with identifying animals (also other objects beside them), resulting either from darkness, or otherwise disturbed perception, dullness, inexperience, emotional state, envy, greed, etc. of the perceiver. Korean and Japanese proverbs note that it really is difficult to tell a crow from a raven. The British have a saying about the people who are incapable of distinguishing things that: He knows not a pig from a dog, the Russians: Индюшки от воробья не распознает [He can't tell a turkey from a sparrow]. A coward thinks of the smallest animal as big and dangerous: a mouse as an elephant in Tajik and Uzbek proverbs; a dog as a wolf or a kitten as a bear among the Udmurts. At nights, when it's dark and scary, perception disorders are extremely common, but on the other hand all cats are grey in the dark. And the neighbour's hen look like a goose probably in the whole Eurasia; according to an Udmurtian proverb the neighbour's calf looks like a cow, or a cow like a horse, etc.

Changes and conformities to species lead to the individual similarities and differences of a parent and a son (apparently, this group does not belong among the categories of identity any more): arguing that like father, like son; that the young learn everything from the old; that not all the sons of an animal are alike, etc.

Translated by Kait Realo


A. Writings

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Krikmann, A. 1994. The Great Chain Metaphor: An Open Sesame for Proverb Semantics? — Proverbium. Yearbook of International Proverb Scholarship 11 (1994), pp. 117–124
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Krikmann, A. 1997. Sissevaateid folkloori lühivormidesse I. Tartu

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Kuusi, M. 1972. Towards an International Type-System of Proverbs. — Proverbium 19 (1972), pp. 697–736

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B. Sources

Note: Published sources marked with an asterisk [*] are quoted by register numbers of texts or types; all others are quoted by page numbers.

Ab. = Осетинские пословицы и поговорки. Составила и перевела З. В. Абаева. Tshinvali, 1962

Abdur. = М. Абдурахимов, Узбекско­русский словарь афоризмов. Tashkent, 1976

B = H. und A. Beyer, Sprichwörterlexikon. Sprichwörter und sprichwörtliche Ausdrücke aus deutschen Sammlungen vom 16. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart. Leipzig, 1984

Br. = Пословицы и поговорки народов Востока. Отв. редактор И. С. Брагинский. Составитель Ю. Э. Брегель. Предисловие В. П. Аникина. Moscow, 1961 [*]

Cel. = Курдские пословицы и поговорки на курдском и русском языках. Собрали, составили, перевели, снабдили примечаниями и предисловием Ордихане Джалил и Джалиле Джалил. Отв. редактор Л. И. Пирейко. Moscow, 1972

D = Пословицы русского народа. Сборник В. Даля. Moscow, 1957

Diachk. = Пословицы и поговорки сьерралеонских креолов. На языках крио и русском. Составление, перевод, предисловие и примечания М. В. Дьячкова. Moscow, 1977 [*]

DR = Монгольские народные пословицы и поговорки. Перевод с монгольского А. Дамба­Ринчинэ. Moscow, 1962

EP = G. Paczolay, European Proverbs in 55 Languages with Equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprém, 1997

EV = Eesti vanasõnad I–III. Koost. A. Hussar, A. Krikmann, E. Normann, V. Pino, I. Sarv ja R. Saukas. Toim. A. Krikmann ja I. Sarv. Tallinn, 1980–1985 [*]

Fount. = Fountain of Japanese Proverbs. /Ed. by?/ Taiji Takashima. Tokyo, 1981 [*]

FS = [Läti Keele ja Kirjanduse Instituudi rahvaluule arhiivist pärinevad käsikirjalised tekstid (tsiteeritud leppeliste kohaviitade järgi)]

Gus. = Азербайджанские пословицы и поговорки. Собиратель Абдулькасим Гусейнзаде. Baku, 1959

HS = Тувинские пословицы и поговорки. Второй выпуск. Составители­переводчики: М. Хадаханэ, О.  Саган­оол. Kyzyl, 1966

Ib. = Марийские пословицы, поговорки и загадки. Составил С. И. Ибатов. Joshkar-Ola, 1960

IGV = Вьетнамские народные пословицы и поговорки. Перевод с вьетнамского В. В. Иванова, И. И.  Глебовой и Вугангата. Редактор П. П. Петров. Moscow, 1959

Ivan. = Турецкие пословицы и поговорки. Перевод Г. И. Иванова. Moscow, 1966

Kal. [1] = Я. И. Калонтаров, Таджикские пословицы и поговорки в аналогии с русскими. Dushanbe, 1965

Kal. [2] = Я. И. Калонтаров, Таджикские пословицы и поговорки в сравнении с узбекскими. Dushanbe, 1969

Kap. = Сомалийские пословицы и поговорки. На сомалийском и русском языках с русскими соответствиями. Составление, перевод, предисловие Г. Л. Капчица. Moscow, 1983

Karap. [1] = Армянские пословицы и поговорки. Перевод с армянского Г. О. Карапетяна. Moscow, 1964

Karap. [2] = Армянский фольклор. Перевод с армянского. Составитель Г. О. Карапетян. Отв. редактор А. Н. Салахян. Moscow, 1967

Karap. [3] = Армянские пословицы и поговорки. Составление и перевод Г. О. Карапетяна. Отв. редактор Г. Л. Пермяков. Moscow, 1973

Karr. = Туркменские пословицы и поговорки. Подготовка текста, перевод и комментарии Б. А. Каррыева. Ashabad, 1961

KL = M. Kuusi & O. Lauhakangas, [Unpublished type-system of international proverbs]. Used and cited by permission of O. Lauhakangas

Kol. = Индонезийские народные пословицы и поговорки. Перевод с индонезийского Л. Колосса. Редактор П. П. Петров. Moscow, 1961

Korn. = Сказки и пословицы Мадагаскара. Перевод с мальгашского Л. Корнеева. Moscow, 1962

Kral. = Пословицы, поговорки удмуртского народа. Составитель Н. П. Кралина. Izhevsk, 1960

Krgl. = Персидские пословицы, поговорки и крылатые слова. Издание 2­е, дополненное. Составление, перевод, введение и комментарии Х. Короглы. Moscow, 1973

KSp = Karjalaisia sananpolvia. Toimittaneet L. Miettinen ja P. Leino. Helsinki, 1971

Kuusi = M. Kuusi, Ovambo Proverbs with African Parallels. FFC 208. Helsinki, 1970 [*]

Leb. = Турецкие народные пословицы и поговорки. Перевод с турецкого В. Лебедевой. Moscow, 1962

LJ = Афганские народные пословицы и поговорки. Перевод с пушту К. А. Лебедева и Л. С. Яцевич. Редактор П. П. Петров. Moscow, 1961

LV = Liivi vanasõnad eesti, vadja ja läti vastetega I–II. Koost. V. Mälk P. Dambergi, E. Kokare jt. osavõtul. Tallinn, 1981 [*]

Nagy = O. Nagy Gabor, Magyar szólások és közmondások. Budapest, 1966 [*]

Naz. = А. Назаревич, Отобранное по крупицам из дагестанской коллекции пословиц и поговорок. Makhachkala, 1958

Per. = Удмуртский фольклор. Пословицы, афоризмы, поговорки. Составление, перевод, введение и комментарии Т. Г. Перевозчиковой. Ustinov, 1987

Petr. = Японские народные пословицы и поговорки. Перевод с японского П. Петрова. Под редакцией С. Гутермана. Moscow, 1959

Ples. = Коми пословицы и поговорки. Сост. Ф. В. Плесовский. Изд. второе. Syktyvkar, 1983

PP = K. Grigas, Patarlių paralelės. Lietuvių patarlės su latvių, baltarusių, rusų, lenkų, vokiečių, anglų, lotynų, prancūzų, ispanų atitikmenimis. Vilnius, 1987 [*]

PS = Proverbia septentrionalia. 900 Balto-Finnic proverb types with Russian, Baltic, German and Scandinavian parallels by Matti Kuusi in cooperation with Marje Joalaid, Elsa Kokare, Arvo Krikmann, Kari Laukkanen, Pentti Leino, Vaina Mälk, Ingrid Sarv. FFC 236. Helsinki, 1985 [*]

Ruk. = Пословицы, поговорки, загадки в рукописных сборниках XVIII–XX веков. Издание подготовили М. Я. Мельц, В. В. Митрофанова, Г. Г. Шаповалова. Moscow—Leningrad, 1961

Rybn. = М. А. Рыбникова, Русские пословицы и поговорки. Moscow, 1961

Sam. = Устно­поэтическое творчество мордовского народа в восьми томах. Том четвертый, книга первая: Пословицы, присловья и поговорки. Предисловие, вступительные статьи, запись большинства текстов и их систематизация, перевод на русский язык, примечания и указатели К. Т. Самородова. Под общей редакцией Э. В. Померанцевой, Л. С. Кавтаськина. Saransk, 1967

Shag. = Дерево сильно корнями. Пословицы и поговорки армян Дона. Записал и составил Шаген Шагинян. Предисловие: Г. Эмин. Rostov-on-Don, 1973 [*]

Shamb. = Киргизско–русские пословицы, поговорки и изречения. Составил и перевел Сыргабек Шамбаев. Frunze, 1979

Sharb. = Арабские народные пословицы и поговорки. Перевод с арабского Т. Ш. Шарбатова. Moscow, 1961

SK = Уйгурские пословицы и поговорки. Составили и перевели Г. Садвакасов и Ш. Кибиров. Отв. редактор А. Т. Кайдаров. Alma-Ata, 1978

Sl = Sananlaskut. Aineiston valinneet Kari Laukkanen ja Pekka Hakamies. Johdannon kirjoittanut Matti Kuusi. Vaasa, 1978

Spk = Suomen kansan sananparsikirja. Toimittaneet R. E. Nirvi ja Lauri Hakulinen. Toinen painos. Porvoo—Helsinki, 1953

T = M. P. Tilley, A Dictionary of The Proverbs in England In the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Ann Arbor, 1966 [*]

Tishk. [1] = Китайские народные поговорки, пословицы и выражения. Перевод с китайского А.  Тишкова. Редактор П. Петров. Moscow, 1958

Tishk. [2] = Китайские народные пословицы и поговорки. Перевод с китайского А.  Тишкова. Второе дополненное и исправленное издание. Moscow, 1962

TKKCh = Корейские народные пословицы, поговорки и выражения. Перевод В. Толстикова и Ким Кю Чера. Редактор П. Петров. Moscow, 1958

W I...V = K. Fr. W. Wander, Deutsches Sprichwörter-Lexicon. Erster — fünfter Band. Leipzig, 1867–1880

VA = Тамильские народные пословицы и поговорки. Перевод с тамильского Н. Волкова и К. Афанасьева. Редактор П. Петров. Moscow, 1962

VKS = Vanhan kansan sananlaskuviisaus. Suomalaisia elämänohjeita, kansanaforismeja, lentäviä lauseita ja kokkapuheita vuosilta 1544–1826. Koonnut ja järjestänyt Matti Kuusi. Porvoo—Helsinki, 1953

Yem. = Сборник якутских пословиц и поговорок. Составитель Н. В. Емельянов. Yakutsk, 1965