Triads (Proverbs)

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  • Teideal (Title): Triads (Proverbs).
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 840113.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): lore.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): unavailable.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 04/10/1983.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): evening class.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.
  • The three things that are hard to understand: the work of the bees, a woman’s mind, the ebb and flow of the tide.
  • The three most beautiful sights: a potato-garden in bloom, a ship under sail, a woman after the birth of her child.
  • Three things that do not last: a maiden’s love, a mare’s love for her foal, the warmth of oaten bread.
  • Three things that come silently: rent day, old age, a beard.
  • The three sharpest things: a thorn in a puddle, a fool’s word, a flea.
  • The three keenest eyes: a hen’s eye after a grain (súil na circe i ndiaidh an ghráinne), a smith’s eye after a nail (súil an ghabha i ndiaidh táirne), a young girl’s eye at a fair (súil mná óige ar aonach).
  • The three coldest things: a person’s knee, a dog’s nose1, a water-drop from a cliff.
  • Three things that Christ forbade: the whistling of a woman, the barking of a hound, the crowing of a hen”2.
  • Three most certain things: the rising of the sun, the setting of the sun, death.
  • The four worst things: a sore head, a bitter tongue, a troubled mind, an empty pocket.


1. Joe explains that the dog’s nose is cold because it was sticking out of the side of the Ark on Noah’s journey.

2. Joe says that a hound that barked (as opposed to baying) and a hen that crowed were drowned as unnatural creatures. A releated proverb that Joe shares elsewhere: Bean ag feadaíl is cearc ag glaoch – sin dá rud nár cheap Críost ‘A whistling woman and a crowing hen – two things that Christ never ordained’ (UW 855404, recorded by Robin Hiteshew in Philadelphia, 12 November 1981).