Yesterday, while reading The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham, I came across this proverb: ‘You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink.’

The reading reminded me of a similar Sicilian proverb: ‘Quannu u sceccu un voli viviri ie inutili friscarici’ (When a donkey doesn’t want to drink, it is useless to whistle at it).

In the past, Sicilian farmers used to take their donkeys to the watering trough. Sometimes, the donkey was reluctant to drink. In this case, the master whistled at it to make it thirsty. Usually, after a short whistle, the donkey drank his fill. However, it could happen that the animal stubbornly refused to drink. Continuing to whistle was of no avail.

What is the meaning of the above-mentioned proverbs? When someone does not want to do something, they will not do, despite your insistence. In this case, you had better give up trying to convince them.

Different countries, different customs, but folk wisdom is the same wherever you go!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)