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Headword: Γέρανοι λίθους καταπεπωκυῖαι
Adler number: gamma,184
Translated headword: she-cranes which have swallowed stones
Vetting Status: high
[sc. A proverbial phrase] in reference to those doing something with forethought; for because they fly up high and the view downward is a hindrance to their progress straight forward, cranes lift up stones, so that they can drop them when tired in their flight and can perceive whether they are being carried toward land or sea. And if the stone comes to the sea, they have finished their journey; but if [the stone goes] to the earth, they take a rest. Aristophanes says this: "cranes having swallowed stones".[1]
Cranes flying carry pebbles in their mouths as a support so as not to be run off course by the winds.[2]
Greek Original:
Γέρανοι λίθους καταπεπωκυῖαι: ἐπὶ τῶν προνοητικῶς τι ποιούντων: αἱ γὰρ γέρανοι διὰ τὸ ἐν ὕψει πέτεσθαι καὶ τῇ εἰς εὐθὺ ὁρμῇ τὴν ἐπὶ τὰ κάτω θέαν ἐμποδίζεσθαι λίθους βαστάζουσιν, ὅπως κάμνουσαι τῇ πτήσει ῥίπτοιεν καὶ αἴσθοιντο πότερον ἐπὶ γῆς ἢ θαλάττης φέρονται. καὶ εἰ μὲν ἐπὶ θάλατταν ἥκοι ὁ λίθος, ἀνύουσι τὴν ὁδόν: εἰ δὲ ἐπὶ γῆς, ἀναπαύονται. τοῦτό φησιν Ἀριστοφάνης: γέρανοι λίθους καταπεπωκυῖαι. ὅτι αἱ γέρανοι πετόμεναι ἐν τοῖς στόμασιν ψήφους φέρουσι στηρίγματος ἕνεκα πρὸς τὸ μὴ παραφέρεσθαι ἀνέμοις.
[1] Aristophanes, Birds 1137 (web address 1 below), with comment from the scholia there; Appendix Proverbiorum 1.70 and other collections.
[2] Quoted from alpha 2498 (or else from epsilon 3022). For cranes see also gamma 181, gamma 183.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: comedy; daily life; dialects, grammar, and etymology; proverbs; zoology
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 7 July 2002@16:22:15.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note and keyword; cosmetics) on 8 July 2002@03:01:22.
David Whitehead (tweaked headword; another keyword) on 22 December 2006@06:33:37.
Catharine Roth (fixed link) on 5 January 2008@13:33:24.
Catharine Roth (supplemented translation) on 5 January 2008@13:45:05.
David Whitehead (expanded n.1; cosmetics) on 6 June 2012@04:36:25.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation, upgraded link) on 6 September 2012@00:53:34.
David Whitehead on 27 September 2015@09:48:17.


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