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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"if you assume the disguise of a dog, you must bark"

thanks karenswhimsy.com

. . . That's a proverb in Telugu meaning "if you're in for a penny, you're in for a pound."  Telugu is the fourth most spoken language on the Indian subcontinent (behind Hindi, Bengali, and Punjabi).  Dogs show up in Telugu proverbs primarily as warnings against having no common sense, or consorting with the low:
For the bite of a dog, a slap with a slipper is the cure. (Proper punishment for a slanderer.)
All the teeth that a dog gets are crooked. (Said of a man who spoils everything he touches.)
All that a dog brings is filth. (The nature of the beast.)
If you poke a stick into a dog's mouth, it will snap.  (No kidding.)
When the dog went to the fair he was beaten with the scale-beam (A vain fellow will be taken down a peg.)
If you kiss a dog, it licks your whole face. (The result of encouraging low people.)

These seem to show a want of sympathy for the creature, and yet the Telugu also said...
The sin of killing a dog cannot be expiated even by building a temple.

- Carr, M. W. d. 1871. (1868). A collection of Telugu proverbs. Madras: Printed and sold at the Christian knowledge society's press, pp. 115-6.

1 comment:

parlance said...

When I read things like that, I wonder at how intrinsic to some cultures it is to think badly of specific creatures. Sometimes, for instance, I try to persuade friends that rats are intelligent animals and may have got really bad press unfairly because of the historical link with The Plague. But it falls on deaf ears, because to a certain extent we are prisoners of our cultural history.