A book containing Liberian proverbs and parables, along with their related meanings, is expected to be published next month (October) in the country. The 17-page book, written by Robert Sunnay, provides some guidance to success. It contains 100 proverbs and parables.
Three of the parables, written as fables, are as follows: And they are Cobra: King of the Frogs (Cobra’s attitude compels frogs to desire another king), Little Monkey and Leopard (Hunger and greed make monkey lead leopard to his destruction), and The Struggle for Decent Living (Your mouth is your bedroom).
In an interview with Robert Sunnay, the author said the collection of Liberian proverbs make use of our honored tradition, as well as our everyday sayings. For instance, he said: “Don’t blame your parents when you stump your toes.” This means that every man is responsible for what he makes of his own life.
“Ancestry may contribute, but an individual’s decision determines his fortune or misfortune. Or, don’t blame the father; blame his son. While some believe in luck, problems attend us all; none is exempt,” Sunnay said. He said there are people who were born lucky, while others are faced with a myriad of problems, sometimes lasting throughout their life time.
Notwithstanding, Sunnay, a school teacher indicated that the way one handles problems is a decisive factor to inhibit or promote personal growth, development and progress.
He said political oppression, suppression, and repression; economic mismanagement and wholesale corruption; disease, poverty, and ignorance; adverse cultural and religious persuasions, amongst others, are the rocky paths of life.
“These are hard truths of life happening daily which needs to be told to our people. These are life’s experiences one needs to reflect on nowadays,” Sunnay noted.
Some of the proverbs and their related meanings are stated below:
The frustrated look from the eyes of a frog cannot stop an elephant from dinning and drinking. Meaning: The rich and powerful do as they please, despite the cries of their victims.
Cobra’s attitude compels frogs to desire another king. Meaning: a wicked ruler distresses his people. When a small boy says that his mouth is wide, give him cook spoon. Meaning: Teach the rascal a lesson when he tries to outsmart you. No matter how long a stick stays in the river, it will never become a fish. Meaning: A rascal will not change his ways.
The impotency of a man can’t stop him from urinating. Meaning: Being financially destitute does not stop a man from providing basic life-saving needs for himself. One who stinks does not embrace goats. Meaning: One who is already facing problems should not compound them by engaging in acts contrary to acceptable norms.
In the absence of leopard, deer brags in the town. Meaning: In times of political crises where power vacuum exists, even lumpens lay claim to the throne. If you don’t have any children, don’t joint witchcraft. Meaning: Do not overrate your own potential; beware of your capacity to perform. An impotent man with a pretty wife is never at ease. Meaning: A less educated boss is always suspicious of a more competent subordinate.
Power is sweet, but it is like a Kru canoe. Meaning: Accommodate others while in power for you know not when you will fall out of favor. When you are in bat’s town, you live like bat. Meaning: respect customs and cultures of people; adapt to new situations you encounter in a strange environment.
Everyone wants to see a crazy man dance, but no one wants to bear a crazy child. Meaning: People yearn for decent living, but not many are willing to risk advocating their rights and the rights of others. A woman’s kinja cannot remain beside the road. Meaning: There are always men who are willing to shoulder the burdens of a woman.
When this book is produced, it will be Mr. Sunnay’s first work, but he has indicated that he will publish other works, as he is working on other manuscripts.