Proverbs enshrine the traditional wisdom that our ancestors stored throughout centuries. These are about  the weather, how warmly clothed one should go and about not arguing when trying to persuade.

STONY CLOUDS, WIND OR POODLES ON THE GROUND

Carlitos and Anna, siblings, live in a city. One year, at Easter , they went to stay at some Friends’ in a Little village. Carlitos and his sister spent the day touring the village. Carlitos asked his sister: have you seen the old mill? -No, she said. -Well, it’s beautiful. Yesterday a man started the mill; He let me pass inside and I could see how the wheat turned into flour. I loved seeing it. What about going to see that tomorrow?  -I’d love to see it and talk to the miller, he said.

That’s how they met Antonio the miller. With him they learned many things. He took them to fish in the river, to observe the birds, he also told them old stories. They learned with him that when cats come early to dinner, it means that the weather is going to change. One afternoon Carlitos asked him: how have you learned everything you know?  -“ My father taught it to me, and to him his grandfather. I’ll teach you how to know when it’s going to rain. -But that can not be known!, Anna said.

Of course you can know, said Antonio. You just have to observe the sky; the clouds can be read.  -And how?, Carlitos asked -I do not see any letters in the clouds, he said.  -No letters; you just have to observe them carefully, said Antonio. There are several kinds of clouds: the elongated ones bring good weather, the ones that look like cotton cauliflowers bring rain, and the orange ones that you see at sunset bring wind.

What fun it is to read the clouds!, the children said, and then: What about those clouds that seem to pave the sky? , the children asked at once.  -Those will bring wind or will make the ground just wet, Antonio said.

The following morning, the children were going to the mill with their umbrellas- Since it’s not raining, where are you going with umbrellas?  -their mum asked.  – It’s not raining but it will, the siblings said at once. Their mum just wondered, but after a short while she looked and saw raindrops wetting the window panes. Stony clouds, wind or poodles on the ground.

DON’T CAST A CLOUT TILL MAY IS OUT.

The school trip took place in mid may. That year they were going to a wooded area with a beautiful lake, a bird population of various species; wildlife included deer and boars. Julia and Manuel loved all this. That summer they would be going to a survival camp for children: they were so excited about it!

Julia asked Manuel: have you learnt how to make fire? No, she answered; we’ll be taught that at the camp; what about you, Manuel?  – I looked it up on the internet and tried it but it wouldn’t catch fire. -Well, Julia said: if you already knew everything, they couldn’t possibly teach you anything. That’s what I think, he said. I’d like to sleep in a tent that we’ve made ourselves, he added. -That’d be fine, Julia said; I hope it won’t be like it happened with Úrsula: The instructor said to fasten a string tighter; they didn’t, and the tent was thrown down by the wind overnight. -What a mess!, Manuel said. -Of course, Julia explained: things should be done properly: one shouldn’t rush just to get them done in no time.

It was a hot day. They walked deeper and deeper into the wood. They took out their sandwiches and had lunch, then rested for a while. Manuel said: I did well not to bring the tracksuit jacket. Too thick for a hot day, it would now hamper me; mums always think we feel cold. -Don’t you think so, Julia said: mums take account of everything, know everything and are always right. – OK, but this time, Manuel said, I think they’ve been wrong: it’s a full summer day.

Clouds appeared in the sky and in a short time the sun disappeared. The temperature went down and it didn’t look like a summer day anymore. Julia pulled a cardigan out of her backpack and put it on; It was cold. Manolito was silent and rubbed his arms. -You’re cold, Manuel, said Julia. -I don’t know… well, a little maybe. -You say, a little! and I hear your teeth chatter. -Well, okay, I’m cold; I could use my tracksuit now, which is very warm. -Of course, said Julia: as my granny said, Don’t cast a clout till may is out. 

TWO WON’T QUARREL IF ONE WON’T

Like every morning, Marina came out to break, but a little later, as she had been talking to the teacher. The others were already eating their sandwiches. Nobody said anything, everyone was silent. -What happens to you?, you are all silent instead of chatting as usual. -Today it’s different, Pedro said . -I can see, but why. And Carlota explained: We intended to tell the headmaster that for  Teacher’s Day we wanted to stage a performance. -Good idea, said Marina; you can count on me. -Lydia, Carlota went on,  has written a very cool story and Ramón has some beautiful songs. -Where is the problema then, if we have everything we need? -Well, Amelia says that it’s such a silly thing to do and she wants the same we did last year.

Marina, however, thought it better to try something new each time: that way, they would have a chance to make the costumes and the sets. Anna suggested her mother could do the makeup and hairstyles and her father could lend them their sound equipment and control that part.  So, there is no problem, Marina concluded -Yes, there is, Pedro said, and a very big one: all the group must be agreed on what’s to be done but Amelia only argues and disagrees. -I argue because you have to do as I say,  Marina burst out.

Amelia, Marina said: Two do not argue if one won’t, as the saying goes, and I do not want to argue. So let’s play, and if this year we do not do our performance, we’ll do it next year. Come on, let’s play, the break is running out.

Texts and English versions: © María Teresa Carretero Garcí­a

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