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.

  • Murphy was not Japanese. :)
    – Guffa
    Feb 22, 2011 at 12:26
  • 2
    @Guffa, who was Murphy? Mar 6, 2011 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, 2011 at 15:47
  • What happens when you -do- meet a wild pig? Does it go better than you expect?
    – Mitch
    Jun 30, 2011 at 16:38

6 Answers 6


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.

  • 1
    It's worth noting that the the "test" Paul speaks of in that verse from Corinthians is the test of temptation to sin, not the test of suffering or pain. Paul himself was quite aware that people are very often given pain and suffering far beyond their ability to bear. May 9, 2014 at 9:06

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.

  • RegDwight. Interesting! Feb 22, 2011 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). Feb 22, 2011 at 21:29
  • It's writen 産むは案じるより易し Feb 22, 2011 at 21:31

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.


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.


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


I have often heard explicitly "God won't give you what you can't handle" (which seems demonstrably false if you attribute terminal illness and even for abuse that turns into murder to said god).

I really would have read the pig one as "as big as this obvious problem is, the root is always the larger one to focus on". Societal issues vs purely blaming an individual.

As in, yes you might notice robbery, theft, murder etc in some communities. But when you look, most of those are impoverished communities that have major unmet needs. The issue is legit a systemic one that is better solved by uplifting the communities in crisis rather than focusing on just punishing individuals when they wreck havoc. Hence the home housing bigger issues than the pig

I kinda like my version better. More true to reality, and also helpful.

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