“There are three things that are too hard for me,
really four I don’t understand:
the way an eagle flies in the sky,
the way a snake slides over a rock,
the way a ship sails on the sea,
and the way a man and a woman fall in love.
“This is the way of a woman who takes part in adultery:
She acts as if she had eaten and washed her face;
she says, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong.’
“There are three things that make the earth tremble,
really four it cannot stand:
a servant who becomes a king,
a foolish person who has plenty to eat,
a hated woman who gets married,
and a maid who replaces her mistress.
“There are four things on earth that are small,
but they are very wise:
Ants are not very strong,
but they store up food in the summer.
Rock badgers are not very powerful,
but they can live among the rocks.
Locusts have no king,
but they all go forward in formation.
Lizards can be caught in the hand,
but they are found even in kings’ palaces.
“There are three things that strut proudly,
really four that walk as if they were important:
a lion, the proudest animal,
which is strong and runs from nothing,
a rooster, a male goat,
and a king when his army is around him.
“If you have been foolish and proud,
or if you have planned evil, shut your mouth.
Just as stirring milk makes butter,
and twisting noses makes them bleed,
so stirring up anger causes trouble.”