10 Dead flies in perfume make it stink,
And a little foolishness decomposes much wisdom.

Wise thinking leads to right living;
Stupid thinking leads to wrong living.

Fools on the road have no sense of direction.
The way they walk tells the story: “There goes the fool again!”

If a ruler loses his temper against you, don’t panic;
A calm disposition quiets intemperate rage.

* * *

5-7 Here’s a piece of bad business I’ve seen on this earth,
An error that can be blamed on whoever is in charge:
Immaturity is given a place of prominence,
While maturity is made to take a backseat.
I’ve seen unproven upstarts riding in style,
While experienced veterans are put out to pasture.

* * *

Caution: The trap you set might catch you.
Warning: Your accomplice in crime might double-cross you.

Safety first: Quarrying stones is dangerous.
Be alert: Felling trees is hazardous.

10 Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work;
Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle.

11 If the snake bites before it’s been charmed,
What’s the point in then sending for the charmer?

* * *

12-13 The words of a wise person are gracious.
The talk of a fool self-destructs—
He starts out talking nonsense
And ends up spouting insanity and evil.

14 Fools talk way too much,
Chattering stuff they know nothing about.

15 A decent day’s work so fatigues fools
That they can’t find their way back to town.

* * *

16-17 Unlucky the land whose king is a young pup,
And whose princes party all night.
Lucky the land whose king is mature,
Where the princes behave themselves
And don’t drink themselves silly.

* * *

18 A shiftless man lives in a tumbledown shack;
A lazy woman ends up with a leaky roof.

19 Laughter and bread go together,
And wine gives sparkle to life—
But it’s money that makes the world go around.

20 Don’t bad-mouth your leaders, not even under your breath,
And don’t abuse your betters, even in the privacy of your home.
Loose talk has a way of getting picked up and spread around.
Little birds drop the crumbs of your gossip far and wide.

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