Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Postcard Of The Week : The Hasty Angler Loses The Meaning Of The Proverb



My postcard of the Week comes from the collection put together by my mothers' Uncle Fowler and passed down to me through a process of historical osmosis. The card comes from a series of illustrated proverbs published by the Portsmouth firm J Welch and Sons (JWS). The series gives "visually amusing" interpretations of popular proverbs : the one in question being "The hasty angler loses the fish". The card was addressed to Fowler (Mr. F Beanland) and I suspect it comes from his sister Eliza. I love the intriguing message "Received yours, was ill but better, cannot explain" which hints at so much in so few words.

Checking out the proverb I discover that it is an old Arabian proverb. The website just lists the proverb but doesn't provide a meaning which, in this case, is no great loss : it is not too difficult to appreciate the cack-handedness of the hasty angler. But looking at some of the other proverbs listed on the same page, one is left searching for a meaning. What, for example, can the old French proverb "the have always returns to her form", mean? Or the German "the hasty man was never a traitor"? And what on earth does "the hasty hand catches frogs for fish" imply? Maybe J Welsh and Son covered these proverbs later in the series. Perhaps I should keep an eye out for visually amusing interpretations.

12 comments:

  1. "the hasty hand catches frogs for fish".....haha....Oh my..that IS funny. Now I want to know what it means!

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  2. Huh! They sound like literal rather than idiomatic translations, like somebody sat there with a dictionary in their lap and just wrote down the words they found. Heh, heh! Just like the English users' manuals for the early Japanese electronic gadgets. I remember reading the manual for a Sony color TV back in the late '60s and being very, very confused.

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  3. The spontaneous bee closes the large wooden door in rapture.

    Yours, Sid

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  4. Are you sure it wasn't code? These damned Germans were everywhere at the time.

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  5. What is enigmatic is the message itself! But I'd love to see that French proverb in the original--I think something got lost in the translation!

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  6. Sid : I'm not even sure that you're not in code.
    John : I suspect that the editors of these dictionaries of proverbs just slip a few of their own crazy inventions in occasionally just for fun.

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  7. "the hasty hand catches frogs for fish"
    ummm.... too fast to notice? Kind of, 'the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing'. ? Or, is that about stealing... yea, yea, that's it.... -J

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  8. Sounds like a Chinese proverb, this one ( checks book of Confucius...); nope, not in that one...

    The photo/proverb pairing here seems a bit suggestive, wot?

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  9. I think the real mystery lies in "Received yours, was ill but better, cannot explain." And you know I love all the hasty angler proverbs, being the fishing lover that I am. Speaking of hasty, what is hasty pudding? Is it a Brit thing?

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  10. It was likely some sort of 'womanly' illness which Eliza thought indelicate to explain to her brother. By the way, the very name Fowler Beanland, just wants to make you know more!

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  11. 'The hasty hand catches frogs for fish...' As an avid frog catcher in my youth, what amazing catch you could get with a little frog on your line!

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  12. You have found some riddle-type proverbs here! You have a fine collection of family treasures in these postcards. It is so nice that you a personal attachment to them. Lets go to the bars with Betsy! I agree that sounds more fun than old barns! :) The Bach

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