From the Compiler

The mountains sing... Their hoary peaks, in their snow-white fur hats, carry on a conversation among themselves. They are laconic witnesses of times long past. Even the stones here speak. Abkhazians imbibed the songs of their native soil with their mothers’ milk, and their folklore is rich in proverbs. Their themes differ, and each is a small work of art reflecting the everyday life, history, and social and political thinking of the people.

This edition is of course far from complete, yet it at least gives an idea of the talent and wisdom of the people of Abkhazia – this lovely territory with its ancient culture and rich history which has, from time immemorial, drawn the attention of thinkers, historians, students of local folklore, and other visitors to it like a magnet.

The majority of proverbs in this book are most apt in their originality, rhythms, and local

colouring. In quite a number of cases, unfortunately, this aptness is somewhat lost in translation, as it is difficult to fit them into the philological form of another language. For the first time, a number of proverbs of Abkhazians living in Turkey were included in this edition.

This collection of proverbs is a little of the folklore’s gold reserve being used nowadays. The works of various authors, magazines, direct conversations with elderly local inhabitants, and the archives of the compiler are the basic sources used for the compilation of this book.

The proverbs are divided by topic, although this division is perhaps somewhat artificial as many of them could be used in several different situations.

This book could be used as a reference handbook for those studying Abkhazian folklore, as well as for students of the English language.


                        Professor Oleg Shamba