1.Agikuyu moi kuhitha ndia, matiui kuhitha uhoro
The Kikuyu, though very clever in concealing their arms, cannot keep secrets from the members of their own tribe.
2. Ageni eri matiri utugire
Two guests (at the same time) have no welcome.
3. Ageni eri na karirui kao
Two guests love a different song.
When you receive two visitors at the same time, you cannot treat them in the same manner, because they have different tastes.
Every man has his hobby horse.
4. Aikaragia mbia ta njuu ngigi
He is a man that looks after money as ‘njuu’ looks after locusts.
‘Njuu’ is a bird which accompanies migrating locusts to feed on them.
Much wants more
5. Aka eri ni nyungu igiri cia utugi
Two wives are two pots full of poison
The more women you have in your haouse, the more twoubles you must expect
Women’s jars breed men’s wars.
6. Aka matiri cia ndiiro no cia nyiniko
Women have no upright words, but only crooked ones
The Kikuyu use the proverb to say that women keep no secrets and seldom tell the truth.
Women conceal all that they know not
7. Aka na ng’ombe itiri ndugu
Wives and oxen have no friends
There are things which are not to be given to friends.
A woman is to be from her house three times: when she is christened, married, and burried.
8. Andu maiganaine magithii na magiceera
Men are equal whe they are going and walking
One can notice a difference between man and man when they, ‘exempli gratia’ are commanding or working, but not on the road where they look quite the same.
9. Andu matari ndundu mahuragwo na njuguma imwe
People who have not secret agreement are beaten by a single club.
A group of men not bound by a secret will be easily beaten by a single man
Lack of union spells weakness
10. Andu matiui ngamini
Men do not know liberality
One does not give without hope of return
11. Andu matiui ngu, moi ithendu
Me do not know hard firewood, but only lops people put aside hard tasks and devote themselves only to easy ones.
12. Andu me muoyo matiagaga wira
Live men do not lack work
Life would be too smooth if it had no rubs in it.
13. Angimituiria na umirite ndangimiona rikii
He who seeks his goat with the man who ate it, is certain not to find it.
Do not look for stolen goods in the robber’s house
14. Arume mari rwamba
Men have got quills
Do not annoy others because they will respond by hurting
Do evil and look for like
15. Bata ndubatabataga
Necessities never end
He that will have no trouble in this world must not be born in it.
16. Cia athuri inyuagira thutha
The elders drink afterwards (i.e after the others)
Elderly people are not in such a hurry as young ones.
17. Ciakorire wacu mugunda
The food found Wacu in the field.
The proverb originates in the legend of Wacu, the most despised amongst the wives of a rich man who never gave her any presents. One day, when a banquet was being held at home, she went to work in the field, since she knew there would be nothing for her at home. In the middle of the banquet a raven swooped down in the courtyard where the meat was being roasted, snatched a big piece and brought it to Wacu.
The Kikuyu use the proverb to say that God takes care of His poor.
18. Cia kionje itigayagwo gitanakua
The property of a helpless man must nit be divided before his death
The reason is that he is unable to get anything more than he already possesses.
19. Cia mucii iri gacuguma gacio gatathukagio ni muthuri ungi tiga mwenegwo
Home affairs have their staff, which cannot be brandished by anyone but the head of the house
The proverb means either that private matters must not be spoken of to strangers or that in each house there must be only one in authority.
20. Cia mucii itiumaga ndira
Home affairs must not go into the open
Do not wash dirty linen in public
21. Cia mucii ti como
Home affairs cannot be told to the public
Do not wash dirty linen in public
22. Ciana cia ndigwa itiri maithori
The widow’s sons have not tears
It means that they have been accustomed to suffer very early
23. Ciathanaga ikigua, itiathanaga ikiumbuka
Birds agree when flying down, but do not agree when flying up.
The proverb means that it is easy for a swarm of birds to alight together, while it is difficult to get up together since after eating their fill they will fly up separately. Morally the proverb means that men easily agree when deciding on an enterprise, but will probably quarrel as soon as they have obtained what they want.
24. Cia thuguri itiyuraga ikumbi
Bought things do not fill the granary
Do not hope to become rich without cultivating your fields
25. Ciatura nguyu iriaga ng’umo
When there is shortage of figs, birds eat the fruits of the ‘mugumo’
The tree called ‘mugumo’ by the natives bears little fruits that are not eated by birds when there is plenty of other food.
If thou hast not a capon, feed on an onion
26. Cia uthoni ciambaga nguhi
The buying of a wife begins from a little thing
Great events have small beginnings
27. Ciigwatagirira mareru
Goats fall that take hold of lichens
Lichens are not strong enough to prevent a goat from falling. The proverb means that unsatisfactory excuses are insufficient defence
28. Cionje ikumi irugitwo ni umwe uri na hinya
Ten helpless people were surpassed by a single strong person
One strong person is better than ten helpless ones
One grain of pepper is worth a cartload of hail
29. Cira munene ni ukia
A long lawsuit breeds poverty
Fools and obstinate men make lawyers rich
30. Cira munene ni wa uthoni igikua
The breaking of a betrothal is no small matter. Marrying a girls means giving a large numnber of goarts or cattle to her family. Starting from the day of the betrothal the price is paid gradually. Evidently it is no simple matter if the would-be husband breaks his contract and demands the return of the marrieage price.
31. Cira wa kirimu utindaga kiharo
The lawsuit of a fool keeps the court (sitting) all day
The lawsuit of a fool never comes to an end
32. Cira wa mucii ndumagirio kiharo
Home affairs are not to be carried on in the public squuare
Do not wash dirty linen in public
33. Cira wothe wambagiririo na nda
Every case begins from the stomach
The Kikuyu have an ox or a goat killed, roasted and distributed to judges at the beginning of every case. Familiarly they use the proverb to say that one of the most important jobs of life is to provide something to eat
An empty belly hears nobody
34. Ciunagwo rukomo, kimenyi akamenya ikiunwo
We speak byh proverb: he who is intelligent will understand
35. Ehera thakirio
Clear out of the ‘thakirio’
‘Thakirio’ is the place the Kikuyu hut where the wife stays when distributing the food to the family
Mind your own business
36. Gakiibatha ni koi ni karithoitha
He who spends his time adorning himself knows he is going to a dance
There is a reason for everything
37. Gakiihotora niko koi uria kariina
He who adorns himself knows to what sort of dance he is going
There is a reason for everything
38. Gakunywo kagira thooko
The fool takes many people with him
It is said of people who, when invited to a feast, instead of going alone, take others with them
A fool cannot bear his own company.
39. Garurira mbeu ti ya kinya kimwe
Change seeds taking them from different calabashes
It is good to introduce new blood.
40. Gatami kari mondo yene gatingikurutira wira
The piece of cloth that is in another’s bag does not patch your garmet
41. Gathutha konagia mundu njira
A little, contemptible path is sometimes the one that leads you to the highway
Little strokes fell great oaks.
42. Gatitu ka muimwo ni iri noko kari miti
The forest of an unpleasant (ill-liked) person is the one that has trees
The proverb means that evil-doers often do prosper
43. Gatitu ka ngoro gatiunagwo
The grove of the hear is not laid open
44. Gatinyinyiraga gatari gakunye
Nobody cries that has not been pinched
No smoke without fire
45. Gatuma kainagia murigwa
Darkness caused to dance even him who cannot
All cats are the same in colour at night
46. Gatundu koragithirie Watatua
A secret agreement enabled people to kill Watatua
Watatua was a powerful Chief, invincible in open combat, who was killed at night by a few men
Secret union means strength.
47. Giathi githaragio ni gaka kamwe
A market can be spoilt by one woman
One cloud is enough to eclipse the sun
48. Giathi kiri murugirwo
Every feast has ists guest of honour
49. Giathi kiriagwo ni kingi
One appointment is eatedn by another
Today kills yesterday.
50. Giathi kiumu no kia murokero
That of circumcision is a hard appointment
The Kikuyu circumcision is a civil and religious rite by which the adolescent is admitted into the public life of the tribe and becomes a man in the full possession of his rights. The ceremony is physically painful, but the candidate is expected to face the operation without wincing.
There are not gains without pains.
51. Gieterero ti kiinaino
To wait is not to tremble
Men’s actions are not to be judged at first sight
52. Gicegu kia andu aingi ti kiega
The ‘gicegu’ of many men is not good
‘Gicegu’ is that part of the Kikuyu hut where they enclose the ram in order to fatten it.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
53. Gicigo kia mugunda gitinyihaga
A piece of land is not a little thing
The proverb means that however small the field you possess, it has its importance if you work it
A little house well filled, a little land well tilled, a little wife well willed are great riches.
54. Giikaro kimwe kiri ngee kana ndaa
By staying always in the same place one gets lice.
The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only one page.
55. Gikuru kiega no kiratina
The only thing good, though old, is the ‘muratina’. ‘Muratina’ is the fruit of the hot-dog tree (Kigelia Etiopica) used by the natives to cause fermentation of sugar-cane beer. It is believed that the older the fruit, the greater it is fermenting power. The proverb means that there are only few things that improve with age.
56. Gikuu gitiraragirio
You cannot (do not) make an appointment with death
57. Githaka gitigunaga mumi, kigunaga muki
The land enriches not people who clear it, but people who come (when it is already cleared)
One beats the bush, and another catches the bird.
58. Githaka kia muici ni gukaana
Lying is the thief’s stronghold.
59. Githumba gitiri murimu wa ngoro
Beggars have no worries.
Poverty needs no granary.
60. Githuri kiri mwatu wa ngotoko
The chest contains a beehive full of pride.
The proverb means that proud people have always in store lots of reasons justifying their wickedness.
61. Gitiganiriro kirugitwo ni kirugamanio
Talking something over is better than leaving it pending.
Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.
62. Gitiiro kia muka wene gitikagio athii
The song of a stranger-woman is answered after she has gone.
The proverb is metaphorically used to mean that foreigners, especially women, are not to be trusted too much.
Eat a peek of salt with a man before you trust him.
63. Gitindo kia mucii ni kiuru
It is bad to stay at home.
He that stays in the valley shall never get over the hill.
64. Gitoi kimenyaga kierwo
He who does not know, knows after being told.
A man forewarned is forearmed.
65. Gitoi kiraragia kiui njira
He who does not know the road delays also one that knows it.
Who goes with a fool becomes a fool.
66. Gitonga kigiragio iganjo gikarima
The rich man cannot be prevented from cyltivating the ‘iganjo’ he wants.
‘Iganjo’ is the place upon which a hut had been built. Since the flocks live in the owner’s hut, the floor of the hut becomes fertilized. The proverb refers to the fact that if a rich man has left a piece of his land to a poor man on which to build his hut, very often he wants it back as soon as the soil under the hut has been enriched by the dropping of the animals.
Mights is right.
67. Gitonga kiriaga munyuko
Rich people sometimes eat badfood.
All is not gold that glitters.
68. Guceera ni kuhiga
Travelling is learning.
The world is a great book, of which they that never stir read only one page.
69. Gucekeha ti guicuhio
To be slim does not mean having been pared.
Do not scorn little things.
70. Guciara kunaga irigu ngingo
The woman who gives birth to a child is like the banana tree that breaks under the weight of its fruit.
Maternity means pain to the mother.
71. Guciara uru ti kwenda kwa mwene
It is not the mother’s will to have a bad offspring.
72. Gucukagwo utaguteo
People slander somebody even if they do not despise him.
73. Gukiara na gutonga ititiganaga
Riches and poverty do not leave each other.
74. Gukira kuri ngatho
To keep one’s tongue is worthy of praise
Silence is golden.
75. Gukira ni guthurana
Not to talk is to hate.
One keeps silence with people one does not like.
76. Gukiririria kwagira kieha
Indulgence breeds regret.
77. Gukura ni kuuru: ngathii uriri ngicayaga
It is bad to get old, for one goes to bed grumbling.
Old sacks want much patching.
78. Gukuhiriria mbaara tikuo kurua
The fact that you have gone near the battle-field does not mean that you fought.
79. Gukungagwo utuku ti muthenya
Thieves conceal themselves in the night not in the day.
The night is a cloak for sinners.
80. Guota mwaki ni gucera
To get the warmth of fire one must stir the embers.
No gains without pains.
81. Guoya utuuragia ukia mucii
The fear (of toil) keeps your house poor.
Idleness is the key of beggary.
82. Guteithagio witeithitie
If you help yourself you will be helped.
God helps those who help themselves.
83. Gutema na kanua ti gutema na rihiu
Cutting by the tongue is different from cutting by the knife.
Slander is not mortal stabbing.
Hard words break no bones.
84. Guthama nikuo kuhika kwa arume
A man changing his abode is like a woman marrying. As a woman, on marrying, adopts the customs of the family she enters, so a man going to live in a strange country, must accept its customs.
When in Rome do as Rome does.
85. Guthekererwo ni andu ti kuririrwo ni hiti
To be laughed at by men is not to be wept by hyenas.
Better to be laughed at than to die.
86. Guthekererwo ti kuririrwo
To be laughed at is not to be pitied.
One starting any enterprise ought not to fear what others say of him.
Do well and dread no shame.
87. Guthekio ti kwendwo
If anybody makes you laugh, it is not always because he loves you.
Eat a peck of salt with a man before you trust him.
88. Guthigagio mbura gutongitwo matuguta
Some hope for rain even though they have not prepared their fields.
He who hopes for favours should have prepared himself to profit by them.
89. Guthii gutigiragia mundu acoke
To go does not prevent a man from returning.
Never give up.
90. Guthii kuonagia mundu njira.
Travelling teaches men their way.
91. Guthii ki kuona
Travelling is seeing
Travel broadens the mind.
92. Guthimba ti kuura
Having rain clouds is not the same as having rain.
Don’t cry herrings till they are in the net.
93. guthinga kurugite gutonga
Virtue is better than riches.
Virtue is the only true nobility.
94. Guthinga kikuo kihoto
Virtue is power
Virtue makes men on the earth famous, in their graves illustrious, in the heaven immortal.
95. Guthura ng’ombe ni guthura kamukwa kayo
To despise the ox means to despise also a strip of hide from it.
One cannot scorn great things without scorning little ones related to them.
96. Guthukagirio wanatega itega
One favours him from whom one has in the past received a gift.
One good turn deserves another.
97. Guthuragwo mundu uriendwo
A man is (sometimes) scorned who will be loved (later on).
Judge not of men or things at first sight.
98. Gutiri gitatuirie kingi
There is no thing which does not cause another to exist.
99. Gutiri githinji utathinja.
There is no butcher that does not slaughter
Every man to his trade.
100. Gutiri gukura na kurara keri
One ages every night one lives
Time fleeth away without delay.
101. Gutiri ita ithiagwwo na gitete kia njohi no gia ucuru
No war has been fought by men carrying a calabash of ‘njohi’ but of ‘ucuru’.
‘Njohi’ is an inebriating drink brewed out of sugar-cane. ‘Ucuru’ is a kind of thin porridge made by boiling millet-flour in water. This gruel is supposed to be highly nourishing and therefore suitable for long journeys or hard fighting; while the sugar-cane beer by inebriating the warriors makes them weak and easy prey to the enemy.
Out of temperance comes strength.
102. Gutiri mbura itari na gitonga kiayo
There is no rain which does not enrich someone.
It is an ill wind that blows nobody good.
103. Gutiri mucii uri kahii utukarugwo mutwe
In every family where there is a son, the head of an ox, goat or ram is cooked to be eaten by him with his friends.
They use the proverb to mean that ordinarily a son gives his parent more trouble than a daughter, or that in every family parents do not lack troubles.
There is a black sheep in every family.
104. Gutiri muici na mucuthiriria
There is no difference between the thief and the looker-on.
105. Gutiri muki urehage urugari
Nobody entering a hut pays for the heart he will enjoy in it. Only the owner of the hut had the drudgery of carrying home the firewood; the visitor does not know the cost of the fire he is enjoying. Metaphorically the proverb is used to say that he who enters a house cannot realise the troubles of the occupants.
None knows the weight of another’s burden.
106. Gutiri mundu ui haria eguthii no haria ekuuma
Nobody knows where he goes, but only whence he comes.
No one can see into the future.
107. Gutiri mundu wendaga gutungana na nyoni njuru
Nobody wants to meet an ill-omened bird.
To the Kikuyu many birds foreshadow calamity. The cry of the owl forebodes mishap. If the owl cries, perched on the top of a hut, the oldest man in that village will die very soon. If someone, about to make a journey, hears the cry of any bird of ill- omen, he must not start on any account.
Nobody seeks his own ruin.
108. Gutiri mundu utangutuika wa ndigwa
There is no man that cannot become an orphan.
No flying from fate.
109. Gutiri mundu wonaga wega wake, no kuonwo wonagwo
Nobody can see his own goodness: it can be seen only by others.
110. Gutiri murio utainagia ruthia
There is no pleasure (however little it may be) that does not cause one’s cheeks to tremble.
The Kikuyu consider the cheek trembling an expression of joy.
A little pleasure is nertheless a pleasure.
111. Gutiri muthenya ukiaga ta ungi
No day dawns like another
Every day brings a new light.
112. Gutiri mutumia wenjagirwo mbui kwa nyina
No married woman will have her white hair shaved at her mother’s
The Kikuyu girls go around with bald heads which they get periodically shaved by their relations. So the woman, who by being married has left her house and relations, will never be shaved at her mother’’.
Once sold, ever sold.
113. Gutiri mwana ungitema agitemera ithe
The son does not cut his finger in cutting meat for his father.
Sons are stingier than their parents.
114. Gutiri ngware itari muhuririe wayo
There is no partridge which does not know its own way of scratching.
As many methods as men.
115. Gutiri ngware nyinyi mahuririo-ini
No partridge is small when it claws the soil.
Every one can do great good or evil according to his possibilities.
116. Gutiri njamba irumaga imera igiri
No prepotent man will insult other people for two consecutive seasons.
Prepotence comes quickly to an end.
117. Gutiri nyama na ngirinyu
Meat has no choice morsel.
When distributing the meat or anything else one must not favour any one person.
118. Gutiri nyoni njega mwere-ini
There is no nice bird in the millet.
Millet is one of the staple crops of the Kikuyu. They protect it from birds by building pulpit-like huts in which boys or women stand to frighten them whilst the harvest is ripening.
Even sugar itself may spoil a good dish.
119. Gutiri uciaragwo ari mugi.
Nobody is born wise.
120. Gutiri ucokaga haria arumiirwo kaara.
Nobody returns where he got his finger bitten,
Once bitten twice shy.
121. Gutiri uikagia itimu atari na haria akuratha
Nobody throws a lance if he has no target.
There is a reason for everything.
122. Gutiri ukinyaga mukinyire wa ungi
Nobody walks with another man’s gait.
Every man in his way.
123. Gutiri undu utari kihumo
There is nothing without a cause.
All things have a beginning.
124. Gutiri uriragio ni ukia wene
Nobody grumbles at being rich, all at being poor.
125. Gutiri uriragio ni utonga no ukia
Nobody cares about other people’s poverty.
126. Gutiri uriru utonwo
There is no mischance you are guaranteed against.
There is many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.
127. Gutiri uru utuuraga, no wega utuuraga
No evil, but only the good will last.
Good deeds remain, all things else perish
128. Gutiri uta utari nyama
There is no bow without its meat.
God helps those who help themselves.
129. Gutiri ritwa ritakuria mwana
There is no name which cannot distinguish a child
Every bird is known by its feathers.
130. Gutiri thingira uciraga ta ungi
There is no location which discusses its affairs in the same way as the other does.
Every man in his way.
131. Gutiri uthuire tiga akiaga
A man is poor not because he scorns possessions, but because he possesses nothing.
Sour grapes, as the fox said when he could not reach them.
132. Gutiri wa nda na wa mugongo
There is not the son of the front and the son of the back.
The Kikuyu mothers carry a baby on the back if they have only one. If they have two, one is carried in front and the other one on the back. Of course the one carried near the breasts can suck oftener than the other. That is why they say this is the favourite one.
Parents should have no Benjamin.
133. Gutiri wiriraga agikuua, eriraga akiiga thi
Nobody grumbles while carrying a load, but when he has laid it down.
The proverb means that nobody hates to be rich but all hate to become poor; or that nobody refuses to command, though all are sorry when they have to give up the command
134. Gutiri wiriraga agithii, no agicoka
Everybody regrets not what he leaves but what he does not find (when he comes back)
135. Gutiri witaga ithe wa ungi baba
Nobody calls another’s father ‘dad’.
136. gutirika guteaga njamba noru
To forget a strong man who could help you is the same as to scorn him
137. Gutirika ni gute
To forget is the same as to throw away
138. Gutungata gutingigiria mundu agatungatwo
The man that serves is not prevented from being served in turn.
Every dog has its day, and every man his hour.
139. Gwakia kwarama, gwatuka gwakundeera
The day is for working, the night is for resting.
There is a time to wink as well as to see.
140. Gwethera gitahi muka
To seek a woman to the belly.
The expression is used when they look for something to eat.
To go foraging
141. Gwi thigari mugambo
Some soldiers are only soldiers when talking
A good friend is a treasure
142. Gwika wega kumathaga ungi
A good action reaps another
One good turn deserves another
143. Handu ha njuguma na ha mugwi hatiganaine
The place to use the club and the above arrow are not the same.
Everything has its place.
144. Hari muthuri hatiitangagwo maai
In the presence of elderly people one must not pour water.
Nobody is allowed to be foul-mouthed especially when elderly people are present.
Old age is honourable.
145. Haro ni ya muka uri ihii
Quarrelling is peculiar to the woman who has got male children.
They use the proverb to mean that since sons are more mischievous than daughters, and mothers are more proud of their sons than of their daughters, women are inclined to quarrel to defend or to exalt their sons.
No mother is so wicked but desires to have good children.
146. Haro ni ya muka uri thira
Quarrelling is peculiar to the woman who has debts
A woman in debt is quarrelsome.
147. Hita itanakira
Resist the beginnings
Small faults indulged are little thieves that let in great
148. Hinga ndikinyaga iraka
A wily person does not walk on dry leaves (for they would betray his presence)
149. Hinya nduigana urume
Strength does not correspond with courage.
150. Hinya nduri indo
Strength has nothing
Strong people are not necessarily rich people
151. Hiti ciathii mbwe ciegangara
When hyenas go away jackals rejoice
Little dogs begin to eat when big ones have eaten enough
152. Hiti itaga iria ingi ya mutiri
The hyena calls another hyena worse than itself
The pot calling the kettle black.
153. Hiti yugaga arume no ogi, monaga gicinga ngwatiro
Hyena says that men are wise because they know how to hold a firebrand.
A story told by the Kikuyu says that one night a hyena entered a hut to eat the goats. The owner wakened by the noise, took hold of a firebrand to scare it out. The beast tried top do the same, but not knowing how top handle firebrands it scorched its paws.
There is a right and a wrong way of doing everything.
154. Hiti ndiriaga mwana, na mui uria iri ngoroku
The hyena does not eat its baby, and you know how insatiable it is.
No mother is so wicked but loves her children.
155. Hungu ireraga haria mburi irathinjirwo
Vultures arrive at the place where the goat is slaughtered.
Where the carcase is, the ravens will gather.
156. Hungu igithii iguru ndiatigire thi kuri kwega
The vulture perches on the trees because it does not feel sure on the groung.
157. Huni nene igiraga huhita
To eat much leaves you with a swollen belly
Enough is as good as a feast.
158. Hururu ithekaga rwaro
The abyss laughs at the plain
Every man thinks his own geese swans.
159. Igiaraga uru mwene oine
The cow has a bad delivery though her owner is present
Misfortunes may come in spite of watchfulness,
160. Iganagwo yaari iria yakua
The good milking cow is praised after her death
A friend is never known till needed.
161. Igitunywo mwana iikagirio mungu
The cow is given a present when her calf is carried away
When one thing distresses you, another consoles you..
162. Igukua ihuragia kiara
The ox that claws the ‘kiara’ will die.
‘Kiara’ is the dunghill you will find in every Kikuyu village. In order to understand the proverb it much be borne in mind that the Kikuyu regard it as a sacred place which the witch-doctors dedicates with the sacrifice of a goat to secure that the evil spirits may not return into the hut from which he expelled them. They are supposed to stay in the ‘kiara’ just as the rubbish does
Touch pitch and you’ll be defiled.
163. Ikuruma ndioragia muguguta
The ox that feeds itself does not spoil its skin.
164. Ikurura yarahuraga imamii
The animal rambling in the stable makes the sleeping ones rise too
III examples are like contageous diseases.
165. Ikururio ti noru
The ram that is shown around is not fat
A really fat ram will easily find a buyer and does not need to be carried around and shown in the markets.
Good ware makes a quick market.
166. Ireragira ruku-ini na ikaya kuigana
The cimex lives in the firewood and still it reaches its full growth
Where there is a will there is a way
167. Iri guciarira riua-ini yongithagiria o ho
The cow that drops her calf in the sun feeds it there too
One likes the place where one does well.
168. Iri gukura iragwo iguku ni aka
The hump of the ox that has grown old must be eaten by women.
The hump is a choice morsel for young men when the ox is young. But if it is old women must eat it.
Rubbish is women’s portion.
169. Iri gukura ndiri mwiroreri
The ox which has grown old has no admirer
Nobody looks after elderly people.
170. Iri gutu ihugagia mwene
The flea troubles him who has got it in his ear.
171. Iri kuhinja ndiri muniri ngu
Nobody gathers firewood to roast a thin goat.
Poor people have no friends
172. Iri kuhuma ndiri muti itangigwatirira
There is no tree which a panting animal would not cling to
A drowning man will catch at a straw.
173. Iri kura ndiri muhiti
The ox that ran away cannot be caught
Resist the beginnings
174. Iri kuruga ni iguita, iguitirira ni nguu
The cooking pot on the fire leaks, when pouring water it is broken.
Misfortunes come by forties.
175. Iri murungu igiritagia iri kahia
The ox which has no horns, relies for help on the one that has them
He who feels weak relies on the friend he knows is strong.
176. Iri muthece kinya tene ndioyagira ingi
The bird who has always possessed a beak, does not pick up for another.
Content is more than a kingdom
177. Iri nyite ni mutego ndithuire gwiteithura
The animal caught in the trap does not refuse to set itself free.
No man likes his fetters, though of gold.
178. Iri tha ni iri iria
It is he who got milk that is merciful
‘Milk’ here has the sense of money; possessions. The proverb means that the rich should help needy people, since the poor cannot do it.
179. Iri thoni inyuaga munju
The timid ox drinks muddy watr.
He goes to the river only when others have come away leaving the water dirty.
Faint heart never won fair lady.
180. Irugamaga ni ikurumaga
He who goes around with his body upright, later on will go crawling
Young today, old tomorrow
181. Itakuura igwatagia ruhuho
To blame the wind for the rain that does not fall
It refers to boasting people who try to make silly excuses for themselves.
182. Itari thahu igunagwo ni makoro ma njira
The man who has no impurity will be helped even by peels he sees on the road.
God cures honest people.
183. Ithinjagirwo murwaru igakora warwarire tene
The goat slaughtered for a man who is sick now, finds another who ws sick long before.
God cures and the doctor takes the fee.
184. Ithimbaga na nduire
The sky is heavy with rain, but does not come.
It refers to people who are always promising great thing which they never do
Great boast, small roast.
185. Itunyagwo mbui ni guciara
A plant loses its blossom as soon as it bears fruit.
Woman’s beauty is spoilt by maternity.
186. Igai ria mutundu ritigiragia kiriti kiumwo
A branch of ‘mutundu’ does not hinder the division of a field.
‘Mutundu’ is a small tree growing in the bush. It is not used by the natives, except as firewood.
187. Igego rithekagia itimu
The tooth laughs with the lance.
It means that oftern a person plays with his enemy.
The cat plays with the mouse
188. Igwa njithi itiri njohi
Young suga-cane gives no beer
There is no putting old heads on young shoulders.
189. Ihenya inene riunaga gikwa ihatha
Great haste breaks the yam tuber (instead of taking it out whole)
Haste trips up its own heels.
190. Ihii na igwa ikuragira uthu-ini
Boys and sugar-cane grow up as enemies (because boys are all the time eating sugar-cane)
191. Ihiga riega ritiringanaga na thio njega
A good millstone does not meet a good miller
192. Ikinya na thii itiaganaga
The foot and the earth cannot help meeting.
193. Ikinya ria mukuru rikinyaga muruna
Old people’s walking teaches young ones to walk
That comes of a cat will catch mice.
194. Ikuura inya na inyanya
One can lose four and eight
All cover all lose
195. Indo ciene iri mutino
Stolen things bring in misfortune
III- gotten goods seldom prosper.
196. Indo ni kurimithanio
Riches are found in cultivating together
Many hands make light work.
197. Iriaga na mbugi kuri na ugwati
The goats pasture with bells hanging from their necks in order not to stray.
198. Iri guthua ndongoria itikinyagira nyeki
If the first goat goes lame, those that follow will not reach the pasture.
III examples are like contagious diseases.
199. Iri gwithamba iticokaga gwota mwaki
Candidates for circumcision
0 after washing do not return to warm themselves at their father’s (but go straightaway to the place of the ceremony to show their courage)
In things that must be it is good to be resolute.
200. Iri kanua itiri nda
The food that is in the mouth is not yet in the belly.
201. Iri kuhia itioragirwo
When the food is cooked there is no need to wait before eating it.
202. Iri ukabi itiri Gikuyu.
What is in Masai is not in Kikuyu
There is many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.
203. Irima rirekagia riemba
The pit allows the grass to fall in
The proverb alludes to the pits the Kikuyu used to dig for trapping wild animals. These pits were covered with sticks over which, as well as over borders, they put a layer of grass. Since this grass often fell in the pit through the spaces between the sticks, so they say that often one falls into the pit dug by himself.
Hoist with his own petard.
204. Irimu ikenagira undu muru
Fools rejoice for a bad thing
A fool will laugh when he is drowning.
205. Irio cia maitho ititiraga
Cooked food is not sold for goats (but is given to friends visitors and pilgrims)
God helps the poor for the rich can help themselves.
206. Ita cia maitho itiriraga.
The war of the eyes never comes to an end
The eye is never satisfied with seeing.
207. Ita itari ndundu ititahaga
The war that has no unity will make no prey,
208. Ithaga riene rinogagia ngingo
Other’s ornaments tire one’s neck
Do not wear borrowed plumes.
209. Ithare riaguka gucokaga mugumo
When ‘ithare’ is uprooted ‘mugumo’ grows in its place
‘Ithare’ is a kind of a cane growing on the riverbanks. The Kikuyu say it is of no use. ‘Mugumo’ is a kind of a fig tree (Ficus Hochstetteri), which does not grow except leaning on another tree or twisting around it like a creeper. This is why they think that the ‘mugumo’ is worse than the ‘ithare’
210. Ithe wa thaka ndari matu
A fair daughter’s father has no ears.
The father who wants to marry his daughter to the best among the young men who crowd his hut to woo her, turns a deaf ear on their foul words.
Few men will be better than their interest bids them.
211. Itheru ritiringaga ini
A joke must not hit the belly
The jest is tolerable, but to do harm by jest is insufferable.
212. Itheru ritirutagirwo mugui
For a jest one should not take the arrow out of the quiver
213. Itheru riumaga mbaara
From a jest comes a strife.
Jests, like sweetmeats, have often-sour sauce.
214. Itheru riuragaga ndebe
A joke can break the earring
An ill-timed jest has ruined many
215. Itheru ti mugui
A trick is not an arrow
Good jests bite like lambs not like dogs
216. Itonga igiri itiri nyoni
Two rich persons do not wish each other a bird of ill omen
Dog will not eat dog.
217. Itonga irugaga na ngio
Rich people cook their food in a potsherd
The tailor’s wife is worst clad.
218. Ituura rir kanono ritituhagia kahiu
The village, which has got a whetstone, does not blunt the knife
The sense of the proverb is that if in a village there is a good whetstone it does not mean that the villagers should purposely blunt their tools in order to whet them. The time will come when the shetstone will have to be used.
Every thing is good in its season.
219. Ithinjiro ritiagaga thakame
A slaughterhouse is not without a little blood.
Touch pitch, and you’ll be defiled
220. Kaana ka ngari gakunyaga ta nyina
The son of the leopard scratches like its mother
Like father like son
221. Kaana karere ni ucuwe gatingirungika
The baby nursed by its grandmother can never be corrected
Too much breaks the bag
222. Kaara kamwe gatingiyuragira ndaa
One finger does not kill a louse
Union is strength
223. Kagwaci ka mwana wene nook kahoragia mwaki
It is always the potato of another family’s boy that extinguishes the fire
The proverb alludes to the custom of roasting potatoes in the embers of a dying fire.
Nobody calls himself rogue.
224. Kahiga gakuru gatiagararagwo ni maai
The stream does not pass over an old stone (through respect to its age)
Old age is honourable.
225. Kahii ka mwathi kamenyaga kugereka
The hunter’s son knows how to hunt
Like father, like son.
226. Kahii kogi ta ithe kabaritaga ta migwi
A son as cunning as his father knows the arrows like father
Like carpenter like chips
227. Kahiu getainwo na rwenji
A knife and a shaving-knife are alike.
The proverb means that if you do not have something you need, you will have something you can instead.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
228. Kahiu karathime kariaga nyama cia kinandu
The blessed knife (son) eats of the meat of the ‘kinandu’
‘Kinandu’ is a small calabash used to keep oil, fat and the best morsels of meat. They say that the father share the contents of the ‘kinandu’ with the most beloved son.
229. Kahunii gatiui mwiri
He who is full does not understand what is told (about others’ troubles)
Another’s burden does not worry us.
230. Kahunii gatuhaga uriri wa nyina
The fed baby plays on its mother’s bed
231. Kaihu koruri gatigaga kwao gugithinjwo
The rambling pole-cat leaves its house when there is banquet.
The son that leaves his father’s house for liberty’s sake will not share his father’s inheritance
232. Kamamiriria gateire mugunda murime
A little idleness lost a tilled field
A little leak can sink a great ship
233. Kamau mweru ni airaga
Kamau who is white becomes black
‘Kamau’ is typical name. The proverb means there is nothing constant in this world.
234. Kamuhuthua kaharurukagia mwatu
A little idleness causes the ruin of the beehive.
The Kikuyu hang beehives on the branches of the forest trees, and it is their
Custom to visit them often to make sure that they are all right. For it might happen that if out of idleness one did not see them regularly, one would ultimately find the branch broken, the beehive fallen and the contents spoilt.
235. Kamuingi koyaga ndiri
Many people together lift up the ‘ndiri’
‘Ndiri’ is a heavy wooden mortar in which the Kikuyu women, when brewing beer, crush the sugar-cane.
Many hands make light work
236. Kanira njara iria ukomeire
Take an oath only for the hand youslept on
Swear only to that which you know to be true.
237. Kanoro kari ituura gatituhagia
The whetstone in a village does no blunt the knife
Every potter praises his own pots.
238. Kanua karia kariire mbeu nook koragia ‘ngahanda ki?’
The mouth who ate the seeds asks, ‘Now what shall I plant?’
He sups ill who eats up all at dinner.
239. Kanua kene gatinyuaga muma
Another’s mouth cannot take the oath for you
Every bird must hatch its own egg
240. Kanua ni ikahu
The mouth is a chink
From the mouth come many futilities.
241. Kanua kendagia kiongo
The mouth sells the head
The tongue talks at the head’s cost
242. Kanua weriire
You spoke (against yourself) with your own mouth
Its means that one can sometimes condemn oneself in defending oneself
243. Kanya gatune mwamukaniro
A small red snuff-box is a welcome
The proverb refers to the Kikuyu custom of giving a pinch of snuff to their friends when they meet.
244. Kanyoni kabariti keminagira njoya
The little bird that flaps its wings too much will spoil them
One must crawl before one can walk
245. Kanywanjui kerathaga kero gako
‘Kanywanjui’ scratches its thigh
‘Kanywanjui’is a species of a tiny blue bird with a long bill, which sucks nectar from flowers. The proverb means that such birds, although very small, can do everything for their own needs, and do not require others’ help to have their legs scratched.
Everyman something can
246. Karaguthwo niko koi kwigita
He who is stricken knows how to defend himself
Scalded cats fear even cold water.
247. Karanga hako gatiumagia
It is not the owner, trampling his own field, that spoils it (but the others)
The proverb has arisen from the fact that many people if they have a bad harvest, say that it is the fault of other people who walked across their plantations.
Nobody calls himself a rogue.
248. Karara gekinya
A person will change his mind on something if left to sleep over it.
Never leave till tomorrow what you can do today.
249. Karatha gatukagia karatha
Prophet copies a prophet
Like tree like fruit
250. Karatu gatagwo na kuguru kwa mwene
The shoe is made for the foot that will wear it.
If the cap fits wear it.
251. Karegi nyina gatihonaga
The baby that refuses its mother’s breast, will never be full.
Faint heart never won fair lady.
252. Kareraria kagaruragwo na muti
The sleeping dog is turned by a stick; i.e. it turns round to bite if disturbed or touched by a stick.
253. Kariki kamwe gatukiriirie ndutura kirimu
A stupid turtle-dove is sometimes surprised by night for wanting one more grain of castor-oil plant.
Time stays not the fool’s leisure.
254. Kari mata gatiagaga wa kuuga
The mouth that has saliva does not lack words.
The proverb means that the man who has something to say will say it.
255. Kari nda gatiiyumburaga
The word that remains in the belly does not mean anything.
Tell the truth and shame the devil.
256. Kiaga ngui kiabaca
The song that has no leader, goes wrong.
No longer pipe, nolonger dance.
257. Kiama gitirugaga ruui
The elders of the council do not jump over a brook.
Metaphorically the proverb means that the elders who are to judge a case must but hurry. But if often means that a person like a judge should anot do anything undignified.
258. Kiambi nda nikio giakura
The food eaten first lasts longest in the stomach
First impressions are most lasting.
259. Kiara kiiyuragio ni guita ihuti
The dunghill grows by straws thrown upon it
Every little helps.
260. Kiega ta ki gitithiraga
A really good thing is ever good
A good tale is none the worse for being twice told.