Fire is good servant but bad master

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ilocas2, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. ilocas2 Senior Member

    Hello, do you have this saying in your language? If not, could you translate it literally? Thanks

    Fire is good servant but evil/bad master.

    Czech: Oheň je dobrý sluha, ale zlý/špatný pán.

    ("je" or "je and "ale" can be omitted, "je" is replaced by dash or comma then)
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  2. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I'm not aware of a similar saying in Russian.
    Translated literally:
    Огонь - хороший слуга, но плохой хозяин [ogon' khoroshiy sluga no plokhoy khoziain ("kh" is pronounced like "h" in "house")].
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Nor am I:"Vuur is een goede dienaar, maar een slechte meester"...
  4. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Tagalog: May kasabihang ang apoy ay mabuting tagasunod subali't masamang magpasunod. ( there is a saying that fire is good as follower but evil when become master)
  5. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    I personally don't think too many cultures would call fire a servant since it was sacred and purifying in many ancient cultures. I have not heard about it in any other language.
  6. swift

    swift Senior Member

    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    Hi Ilocas. :)

    Hmm... Are you sure it's 'fire'? I've heard a similar proverb about money: 'Money is a good servant but a bad master'. Anyway, literally translated into Spanish, the one you introduced would go: 'El fuego es un buen servidor pero un mal amo'.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
  7. ilocas2 Senior Member

    Hi swift,

    Yes, I'm sure that in Czech it's fire. I thought that it's an international idiom and now I see that it isn't. I found some occurences of "Peníze jsou dobrý sluha, ale zlý/špatný pán." (Czech for "Money is good servant but bad master) on Google, which surprised me, because I never encountred it before.
  8. swift

    swift Senior Member

    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    Oh! I thought you wanted to translate the English one in all languages. :)
  9. ilocas2 Senior Member

    But yes, I wanted to translate it in all languages, regardless if it's idiomatic or not. :)
  10. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    No such expression in Hindi-Urdu. In Hindi, it would be literally translated as "आग अच्छी नौकर है पर खराब मालिक|" (aag achchhi naukar hai par kharaab maalik)
  11. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek (we don't use it but I'll give a verbatim translation):

    «Η φωτιά είναι καλός υπηρέτης αλλά κακός αφέντης»
    [i fo'tça 'ine ka'los ipi'retis a'la ka'kos a'fendis]
  12. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    Essentially everything can be a good servant but a bad master: fire, water, electricity, mass media, technology, mobile, Internet, Facebook, money, habits, credit cards, ...

    “Money is a great servant but a bad master.” is (probably) a quote from Francis Bacon.
      (in French “L'argent est un bon serviteur, mais un méchant maître.”)
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012

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