Albanian Philosophy


If you have not met these before, you will soon realise that they are very different from other kinds of proverb.


English proverbs are practical (“Too many chefs spoil the broth”).French proverbs are cynical (“Cherchez la femme”).But Albanian proverbs are, at the same time, evocative, slightly incomprehensible and only helpful by accident.

They are like a shrug, written down.

But then, who ever made a walking stick out of an ivy plant? (Which is, as it so happens, an ancient Albanian proverb.)

Brave is the man who brushes the lavatory clean, but braver still the man who cleans the lavatory brush.

When it comes to Christmas presents, it’s not the thought that counts, it’s the receipt.

There is always someone worse off than yourself. At least you are not a monkey with an allergy to nuts.

Nobody values the truth more highly than a liar.

Has anyone ever applied to become Welsh?

When a man writes a love poem to his girl, he is often more in love with the poem then the girl.

Women never think of themselves as being mother-in-laws; the most they will admit to is being cursed with a daughter-in-law.

Three things that are never drawn or painted the way they really look: a Christmas tree, a star in the sky, and a very rich but ugly person.

Is there anything that an elephant would consider as being big?

Every proverb directly contradicts some other proverb.

And there again, maybe it doesn’t.

No mode of warfare ever becomes truly obsolete. It always turns up again as an event in the Olympics.

Nobody learns swimming as fast as a spider in a rapidly filling bath.

Lives there a piano mover who does not hate music?

Why do we think that rarity is a virtue? A rare species is always an unsuccessful species.

Never trust a man in a mask. It is only in works of fiction that people put on masks to achieve good.

It would be a brave building that now called itself a Dome.

The first man who ever picked a bunch of flowers to take home to his wife simultaneously invented marriage, vases and endangered species.

The journey home always seems shorter than the outward journey. Therefore, to save time, always think of the place you are going to as home.

For every person who goes into a church to get instruction from God, there are a hundred who look up at the church clock and learn something.

When a foreigner swears in his own language, we are not offended.

A woman’s handbag is full of things which will make her look beautiful, plus a canister of mace to deal with men driven mad by her beauty.

Where did people go to eat popcorn before films were invented?


The history of the world would be very different if, when the serpent gave the apple to Eve, Eve had sat down and deduced gravity from it.