By Veeaswamy Krishnaraj
Tamil proverbs by Rev. Percival.  PER01 indicates the numerical standing of the Tamil proverb.  PER = Rev. Percival
To achieve your object, if necessary, cling to the legs of an ass. Source Madurai project.
Rev Percival wrote Tamil proverbs 1874
God Himself is the help of the helpless.
Source: Proverb source: Madurai Project
Tamil Proverbs with their English Translation
containing upwards of Six thousand proverbs
By The Rev. P. Percival,
Chaplain, Madras Military Female Orphan Asylum:
Author of the "Land of the Veda" etc.
Second Edition, 1874
Madras: Printed and Published at the Dinavartamani Press,
Little Bourne, Mylapore





on/in the palm


Back of Palm


1. அகங்கையிற் போட்டுப் புறங்கையை நக்கலாமா? A Tamil proverb
Having placed the thing on the palm, why lick the back of the hand?
True Story.
I was about 14 years of age and a student in high school in the early 1950s.
One day under a tree (Pipal = Ficus religiosa = அரச மரம்), a street vendor was sitting with a flask and a teaspoon. He was inside the school property and had no city license or school permission to hawk his product. I asked him what he was selling. He said, ''Ice Cream.'' That piqued my interest.
I saw a squirrel nearby licking on the leaf obviously discarded by a student, after he licked his ice cream off the leaf. If it is delectable to a three-striped Indian palm squirrel, it must be good for me, I thought. I never ate ice cream in my life but always wanted to taste it. There were no ice cream parlors in the small town I lived. I asked the ice cream vendor, 'How much?' the vendor said calmly, ‘One Anna for one teaspoon, take it or leave it'. I thought the price was exorbitant. I had only two Annas in my pocket. I thought, there goes my precious one Anna for a teaspoon of ice cream.

He had a stack of plucked leaves by his side. He scooped one heaping teaspoon of ice cream, put it on the leaf, took one Anna from me and gave me the leaf with the ice cream on it. I licked it gingerly, and slowly let my taste buds do their job slowly. It was ambrosia for me.


As I liked the ice cream, I kept it on my tongue as long as possible so to enjoy its sweetness as long as possible. I felt something crawling on the back of the palm. I thought the melted ice cream ran between the fingers. I transferred the leaf with the ice cream to the left palm and licked the middle of the back of the right plam and slurped it in. O my God, I felt the sting before I tasted the measly amount of the ice cream, I shared with the ant. I assumed the ant must have been squashed between two leaves, felt liberated and lucky for it, ate my high-priced ice cream. I spit out the ant on the floor and it walked off on all its feet, apparently not hurt.
That is when a Tamil proverb came to my mind. அகங்கையிற் போட்டுப் புறங்கையை நக்கலாமா? = Having placed the thing (Ice cream) on the palm, why lick the back of the palm? Lucky for me, I transferred the ice cream to the left palm. Otherwise, it would have fallen on the ground.