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In connection with my question about the usage of ‘No detail is too small’ I posted today, I’m curious to know whether you have axioms to correspond to my favorite Japanese old saying, ‘There is no wild pig larger than the mountain (from where he emerges).’

Wild pigs are perceived as violent, reckless and dangerous animal that attack people in the mountain in Japan. The meaning of this proverb is the God is merciful. He does not impose you heavier hardship and acuter agony than you can bear, thus things always go better than you worry about, don’t panic.

I used to tell this proverb to myself like a mantra to keep myself every time I have encountered hardship in my life. I bet it actually works. I’m curious to know whether there is a proverb similar to ‘There is no wild pig larger than the mountain,' which I would like to try to utter in case of emergency.

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Murphy was not Japanese. :) –  Guffa Feb 22 '11 at 12:26
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@Guffa, who was Murphy? –  Gennady Vanin Novosibirsk Mar 6 '11 at 4:14
    
@vgv8: I believe that the reference is to "Murphy's Law": If anything can go wrong, it will. –  Tom Au Jun 30 '11 at 15:47
    
What happens when you -do- meet a wild pig? Does it go better than you expect? –  Mitch Jun 30 '11 at 16:38
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6 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

We're a much more prosaic people, I guess. The phrase God will not give you more than you can handle is a relatively common one in English. It's a popularised version of the phrase He [God] will not test you beyond your strength (1 Corinthians 10:13).

We have a lot of colouful old phrases in English, but English is also a language where a surprisingly large number of idioms are drawn from only three sources: The King James (or the Authorised) version of the Christian Bible, The Book of Common Prayer, and the works of William Shakespeare.

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How about "The devil is not so black as he is painted"?

Edit: oh, and then there's always the plain and simple "Things are never as bad as they seem". I've seen it attributed to Harper Lee; not sure if that's actually true, but in any case it's a rather common phrase.

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RegDwight. Interesting! –  Yoichi Oishi Feb 22 '11 at 11:58
    
RegDwight. Ah, we have another proverb in the same meaning: To give birth to a baby is easier than worrying about (the pain of delivery). –  Yoichi Oishi Feb 22 '11 at 21:29
    
It's writen 産むは案じるより易し –  Yoichi Oishi Feb 22 '11 at 21:31
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Probably the best fit to your ascription of meaning is "every cloud has a silver lining"

Where the cloud in question is understood to be a dark storm cloud. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_lining_%28idiom%29 )

Note, it is also common to say "not every cloud has a silver lining" as well.

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The meaning of this proverb is the God is merciful. He does not impose you heavier hardship and acuter agony than you can bear, thus things always go better than you worry about, don’t panic.

I think the common english expression "every cloud has a silver lining" is related to this sentiment.

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People say, "What God closes a door, He opens a window."

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I'd say that an English equivalent is, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

Which means, you "are" what "made" you.

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I think this expression means that "A child is like his parents" and is used to shift blame from someone's actions onto someone's upbringing. I don't think this is like the expression Oishi-san is presenting. –  KitFox Jun 30 '11 at 15:37
    
This phrase is specifically about lineage: children (the apple) are like their parents (the tree). It usually has negative connotations as well, in that the particular way in which a child is like its parents is undesirable. All in all it would be hard to get much further away from the Japanese saying we started with. –  user1579 Jun 30 '11 at 15:41
    
@Kit: @Rhodri: I am Chinese-American, and I know that there is there is a Chinese (and probably Japanese) saying, "no pupil is greater than his teacher." Taking Oishi-san's Japanese background, I believe this to be his frame of reference. That also applies to "bad things" like wild pigs. Hence it's not incompatible with his statement that "God is merciful." –  Tom Au Jun 30 '11 at 15:42
    
@kit: I think I understand where the issue might be. I didn't exactly address the expression Oishi-san was PRESENTING (in the body). I did address the original quote (in the title). The two are not incompatible because if you live in a "bad" neighborhood, you are (somewhat) "used" to bad things. 'God's mercy' (according to Oishi-san), is that he will not make things worse than you are "used" to, and can reasonably handle. My version is "the child (criminal) won't be worse than the parent." I believe one follows from the other. –  Tom Au Jul 1 '11 at 15:20
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