I’ve been catching up on my reading and in between re-reading my favourite book, The Good Fairies of New York, by my favourite author, fellow Scot Martin Millar and dipping into my battered Boyfriend 1963 annual, I’ve been poring over Scottish Proverbs.
In this classic from 1948, Forbes MacGregor tells us, “There is no surer guide to the general character of a race than a study of its proverbs.”
So, in order to guide you better to the character of the Scot, I present a few proverbs from this splendid tome.
A guid goose may hae an ill gaislin.
A pun o oo is as heavy as a pun o leid.
Absence is a shrew.
A’ things anger ye and the cat breks your hert.
Better a moose in the pot than nae flesh.
Even a haggis will run downhill.
He’s an auld horse that winna nicker when he sees corn.
I’ll learn ye better manners than to bite folk in your sleep.
Licht suppers mak lang days.
Little’s the licht will be seen on a mirk nicht.
Ne’er let your feet run faster than your shune.
Pigs may whistle but they have an ill moo for it.
Seek never het fire under cauld ice.
The coo that’s first up gets the first o the dew.
They who hae a guide Scots tongue in their heid are fit to hang ower the world.
Ye canna gaither berries off a whinbush.
Ye canna hae mair o a soo than a grumph.
Ye may tak drink oot a burn when ye canna tak a bite oot o the brae.
Ye run for the spurtle when the pot’s boiling over. (A spurtle, the book tells me, is a porridge stirring implement).
Ye’ll no sell your hen on a wet day.
Your mind’s aye chasin mice.