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Wise Old Sayings. Proverbs of San Pedro

You will find proverbs wherever you go and they are usually some wise saying that locks up a lot of truth. Whoever made them up was wise and at the same time quite witty because instead of saying it directly, he disguised it in the form of a saying. Those proverbs or wise saying of San Pedro in the past are quite picturesque and unique in that you do not hear them elsewhere even though they have similar interpretations as others used elsewhere. Most of these proverbs were handed down to us by our parents by word of mouth whenever a situation arose.

DE TAL PALO TAL ASTILLA: (A chip off the old block). This was used when a child showed the same characteristics of his mom or dad, usually when a bad quality was in question. If a young man would be a “borracho” (drunkard) just like his dad, the saying was used. If a young lady was skilled in sewing and embroidery just like her mom, people would apply this saying to her to praise her dedication to house chores and healthy habits. And so it was that if a person was dishonest or thief, people usually attributed this as an inherited quality from his parents.

MAS VALE TARDE QUE NUNCA: (Better late than never) If someone owed you some money and barrowed an item and took long in returning it, you would use this saying whenever the person finally returned the item or paid his debt. It was a casual reminder that the action of returning something was long overdue and though one was happy with the return, it was also a reminder that in the future nothing else would be lent to that person because of his negligence or irresponsibility or deceitfulness.

This phrase was usually said with some sarcasm and the person was supposed to take some offence but shut up because he was at fault. Other long overdue events 25 years ago were overdue weddings, apologies, visits or cleaning of one’s dirty property. I know of a certain shopkeeper who would write this proverb and the list of names of people who owed him money for over a year or so.

EL QUE MUERE POR SU GUSTO, QUE LO ENTIERREN PARADO: (He who dies by his own foolishness, deserves to be buried standing up) This was used to remind someone of an unnecessary “suffering act” to himself. For example, if a person refused to eat while there was plenty of food, then he was suffering at his own will or stupidity. Or if someone refused to join the fun at a party, a dance or some jolly event, then the adage would apply. “Que lo entierren parado”, also got to mean “Let him go to hell” or “To hell with him”. The same holds true if a person refused to take some medicine.

COM AMIGOS COMO TU, NO NECESITAS ENEMIGOS: (with friends like you, one does not need enemies) This saying was usually given in good spirit with no ill feelings. It was said to a friend who was not being too friendly at the time. Perhaps he was taking too long to pay a debt. Or perhaps he was not covering you up in a secret. Perhaps your friend was going after the same girl that you also admired and joking you would remind him that he was on the threshold of becoming your enemy.

EL QUE MADRUGA, DIOS LO AYUDA: (I guess this is close to “the early bird catches the worm.)Literally it says that if you are an early riser, God is on your side. Most people used this proverb to illustrate the fact that it is important to have an early start in whatever you do.

However, in the life of a fisherman, arriving early to your fish trap was very important so some other fisherman would reap and enjoy your catch. Consequently, if you got there at 5 a.m., and your fish trap was empty, you say, “ya me madrugaron”, meaning that someone had stolen your produce. On the other side, if you got there early, you too had the option to help yourself with the fish you found in someone else’s trap, so you were helped by God for getting up early. Quite ironical that God would help someone in his evil doings, right? But these were some of the saying of 25 years ago.

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