Mongolia Monday- Some Mongol Proverbs

I’m on my way to New York for a Society of Animal Artists board meeting, so I’m taking a break from the story of my 2011 trip to Mongolia.

Mongol couple, Erdenet, August 2011: the city

Instead, I thought I would share a few proverbs from a book that I found in Ulaanbaatar called, appropriately enough, Mongolian Proverbs. They were collected by Janice Raymond and the book published in 2010 by Alethinos Books, San Diego.

You will have four nights
Taking a short cut


That’s one we all know….the short cut that ends up taking much longer than the original route.

Fox will starve to death
While waiting under an ox

This one describes trying to do something impossible since the fox will never be able to eat the ox

Calf is not grown
But he thinks he can make bull’s dung

A good description of someone who talks big, but can’t deliver

One finger short
Of being crazy

This one doesn’t really require an explanation, but is interesting because of how it resembles similar American sayings

Mongol kids, south of Bulgan, August 2011: the countryside


Mongolia Monday- 5 Mongol Proverbial Sayings

Grandmother and grandson, Sept. 2008

I’ve come to believe that one way to learn about someone else’s culture is to find out what some of the popular proverbial sayings are. Mongolia is no exception.

A Mongol Facebook friend has been posted proverbs from what seems to be a new book. Fortunately, he has translated them into English, which means I can read them myself and share them with you.

Sunset, Khomiin Tal. Zavkhan Aimag, Sept. 2006

If the mind is clean, fate is good (Sanaa sain bol zaya sain)

Greed keeps men forever poor, even the abundance of this world will not make them rich.

Wise men talk about ideas, intellectuals about facts, and the ordinary man talks about what he eats.

Ovoo, Hangai Mountains, July 2010

One who has strong body will be a warrior for a generation
One who has a great wisdom will be a hero for thousands of generations~Injanashi

Easier to love a dead hero than a live king

Main temple, Gandan Monastery, Ulaanbaatar, Sept. 2006