He who has once burnt his mouth always blows his soup.

He who has once burnt his mouth always blows his soup.

Good fences make good neighbours.

People everywhere and at all times have seen the pros and cons of a fence marking property lines and keeping people from infringing on each other’s space. Some of them are similar to the basic idea of the proverb GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBOURS that advocates some distance between neighbours. There are some other proverbs from other languages which are similar to this English proverb.

They are…

There must be a fence between good neighbours. – Norwegian

Between neighbours’ gardens a fence is good. – German

Build a fence even between intimate friends. - Japanese

Love your neighbour. But do not throw down the dividing wall. - Indian

Love your neighbour. But put up a fence. - Russian

Of course, the proverb has been taught by parents to children as a cautionary bit of wisdom to keep one’s guard up, to protect one’s privacy. However, this may be for many reasons which are by no means negative. The key issue is that, if fences are wanted or needed, the construction needs to be a united effort for the good of people on both sides. There also needs to be a mending of the fence by both parties with opportunities for communication and bridge-building.

The understanding that GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBOURS is that men can use their own knowledge in the pursuit of their own ends without colliding with each other only if clear boundaries can be drawn between their respective domains of free action…. is the basis on which all known civilization has grown. So we should realize that we need a separation between friends however close they may be.

He who has once burnt his mouth always blows his soup.

A man who has burnt his mouth by trying to drink his soup without blowing will always remember it and every time he tries to drink soup he will blow it without fail. Thus this proverb says that experience is a great teacher and when we learn something in the hard way by taking a painful lesson we will never forget it.

This proverb is very similar to the saying…A man who has carried the cat by its tail knows one thing more which will never fade from his memory. When you carry a cat by its tail it will definitely attack with its paws and cause injury to you. This teaches you a painful lesson which you will never forget in life. We can see that whenever we say to children that something is very hot, they will not listen and will touch it with a finger. They will burn their finger and soon they will feel the pain and so they will not do it again. The crux of the proverb is experience is a good and powerful teacher.

He who has once burnt his mouth always blows his soup.


He who has once burnt his mouth always blows his soup. To HOME PAGE