Following the thread

Serbo CroatiaMy discovery of Vasko Popa led me to a slim book called The Golden Apple, a compilation of Serbo-Croation stories, spells, proverbs curses and riddles.  According to the editors Popa was instrumental in popularizing a plain-spoken Serbo-Croatian language that unified the various dialects, and found “great joy in bringing the little-known and under-valued beauties…into the daylight.” Here are a few of my favorites:


May you count your teeth on your hand.

God give you a gold coin weighing a ton, so you can’t carry it or spend it, but have to sit beside it, begging.


Who weeps for the world
Loses his eyes.

A too cunning man jumps over his luck.

You can’t feed the wolves and keep all the sheep.

He gets in your eyes like sweat.

Even his tail is a burden to a tired fox.

A lo of dogs can eat a wolf.

Don’t meddle with muck or the pigs will eat you.

Even crows lay eggs for a lucky man.

And this one, not in the book, certainly seems like it could be:

Busybody: she who would teach the sheep how to eat.

Personally, I wish there had been more curses!

5 thoughts on “Following the thread

  1. The first curse is the motto of the Dental Insurance Industrial Complex!

    I like the the proverb about the tired fox and his tail.
    “I think it must be nap time” this fox thinks, gazing at her tail.

  2. I wish I could find more curses. I got a book of them from UC Library, but they turned out to be in ancient Greek!

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