There are ten conditions for courage; nine are running away; one is never showing up.
katchouteeahn baiymahnuh dahsehn eh, eennuh paghcheel, meghuhn ahl yehrpehk chee yehrehvnahl
There is anoher Armenian saying that resembles the above.
paghchogheen maiyruh cheh latzehr – the mother of the one that ran away will not cry.
Does this mean that Armenians are cowards? Not really. There is saying in French, il faut reculer pour mieux sauter – it is good to go backward in order to better jump forward. Sometimes in life we may retreat in order to regroup and advance more effectively. What may seem to be cowardly may be a good plan to be more prepared to win a battle.
The above implies cowardly behavior. But, it can also point to a plan to regroup one’s strength and prepare for a better way to get something done.
If a fraidy-cat (coward) sees a glow-worm, he shouts: Fire!
vahkhgoduh louiyssadeedik dehssneh, hahrah guhdah teh gurrahk gah
While standing he shivers (in fear), but when he reclines he slithers like a snake
gahnknadz tohghoum eh, bahrgadz soghoum eh
This proverb has a real bite to it. It points out the mentality of a treacherous person. In public, the perfidious friend seems to be very cowardly, timid, or fearful. But, when unseen, the same person is very shrewdly calculating how to undo his friend or rival. The contrast between tohghoum -shivering like a fearful person- and soghoum which means slithering like a snake makes the point of the saying. In public the treacherous person seems weak and frightened, but this is only a ruse to mask his treacherous personality. For in private , he stakes his prey like a snake with stealth and cunning waiting for an opportune strike.
Another meaning is the following. While standing, he shivers and in bed, he slithers meaning he is a coward when standing and in bed.
Another Armenian proverb with a slightly different meaning is “When he sees the water, he becomes a fish and when he sees a hole, he becomes a mouse – chouruh dehsnah tzoug guh tahrnah, dzahguh dessnah moug guhlah. Selfish people have no spine. They can change their persona at will for personal advantage.
gehtzahr, gehtzahr ahvahk ouhrpaht duhjkahtzahr?
After procrastinating so long, will you become a Muslim on Good Friday?
A real hero only dies once, cowards a thousand times.
herossuh mehg ahnkam eh mehrnoum, vaghgohduh hazar
After he leaves I’ll curse him up and down like anything
Megnelehn hehdoh yes ahnor kheeruh gahnedzem
“Kheeruh ganedzem” means literally “I will curse any goodness he may have.” Kheer is a Turkish word which means goodness or qualities of merit.
There was once a man that always boasted about his unabashed bravery. He was well off and loved his wife very much. His wife in turn loved her husband and especially appreciated his boasting about his bravery. No one had ever seen the husband’s bravery in the face of danger, but everyone heard of it. His wife naively believed him.
One day when the couple was in bed sleeping, a sound woke up the wife. She cautiously poked her head up from under the bed cover. To her horror she saw a stranger with a lighted match examining and stuffing objects of value into his duffel bag.
The wife pulled the bed cover over her head and quietly whispered to her sleeping brave hero as she gently shook him awake and said:
“Wake up, there is thief in our bedroom stealing all our valuables.”
The husband whispered back, “Quiet woman, don’t speak. Let him take what he wants. As soon as he is gone, I’ll curse him up and down like anything.”
If you grab his nose too hard, he’ll die (because he is so weak, afraid or just a coward)
Keynntuh pernessneh hokeen gehllah