When I was studying foreign languages, my teachers kept saying that learning proverbs is essential – both for understanding native speakers and their puns (for example, in headlines and titles) and for sounding natural when speaking. If you can use a Russian proverb appropriately, there's a good chance your local friends will be surprised and delighted. Let’s take a look at some of the wise words that all Russians keep in mind.
According to Russian proverbs, you should
get into the basket if you call yourself a mushroom (“назва́лся гру́здем — полеза́й в ку́зов” – nazvalsya gruzdem — polezay v kuzov, which means that if you make a claim, you should be ready to prove it),
as well as
be patient, Cossack, and you’ll become the commander (“терпи́, каза́к, атама́ном бу́дешь” – terpi kazak, atamanom budesh, as in “no pain, no gain”).
While doing so, don’t be scared, for
even if the eyes are afraid, the hands do the job (“глаза́ боя́тся, а ру́ки де́лают” – glaza boyatsa, a ruki delayut, meaning that you can handle anything).
At the same time, you definitely shouldn’t
go to another monastery with your own charter (“в чужо́й монасты́рь со свои́м уста́вом не хо́дят” – v chuzhoy monastyr' so svoim ustavom ne khodyat, as in “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”)
make an elephant out of a fly (“не делай из мухи слонa” – ne delai iz mukhi slona, which is equivalent to “don't make a mountain out of a molehill”).
However, know that
you can’t spoil your porridge with butter (“ка́шу ма́слом не испо́ртишь” – kashu maslom ne isportish)
because you obviously can’t ruin a good thing with another good thing. If you somehow manage to, remember that it’s only your first attempt, and
the first pancake is always a blob (“пе́рвый блин всегда́ ко́мом” – pervyy blin vsegda komom).
all’s well that ends well (“всё хорошо́, что хорошо́ конча́ется” – vsyo khorosho, chto khorosho konchayetsa).
All you have to do is keep trying, as
you can’t pull a fish out of a pond without some effort (“без труда́ не вы́тащишь и ры́бку из пруда́” – bez truda ne vytaschish y rybku iz pruda).
Although if you’re tired, don’t hesitate to relax for a while, because
work is not a wolf, it won’t run away to the forest (“работа не волк – в лес не убежит” – rabota ne volk – v les ne ubezhit).
Don’t give up, and one day
a celebration will be on your street, too (“бу́дет и на на́шей у́лице пра́здник” – budet i na nashey ulitse prazdnik, meaning that one day we’ll be lucky too).
your tongue will take you as far as Kiev (“язы́к до Кие́ва доведёт” – yazyk do Kieva dovedyot),
so don’t be afraid to ask for information and keep studying. As they say,
live for a century — learn for a century (“век живи́ — век учи́сь” – vek zhivi — vek uchis').
You can find some more fun sayings here.