Hezhe hunting proverbs


In the rich oral literature transmitted among the Hezhe over the generations, proverbs have a primordial importance. In a few words they can summarize the wisdom of centuries, as in them is condensed the experience of all preceding generations of the Hezhe. Their proverbs reflect the Hezhe social universe, thought, tradition and activities, as well as the appropriate way of handling social relationships and of interacting with the environment.

Proverbs are the primary educational tool among the Hezhe, as through them children come to know the values they must adopt inside the community. Among the Hezhe, proverbs related with hunting and fishing have received little Chinese influence.

We have translated some of them here:

When shooting he listens to the sound of the wind, when throwing the harpoon he looks at the ripples in the water.

The fisherman likes the night, the hunter gets up early.

The sturgeon likes the deep waters, the bear the calm caves.

There are hundreds of fish in the deep waters, but we will eat the lesser ones.

The brave one fears neither wind nor waves; the coward retreats before a gutter.

The hunter does not fear wild animals, nor the fisherman the waves or tides.

The hunter that fears the tiger is not a good hunter; the fisherman that fears the waves or winds is not a good fisherman.

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