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That which stinks makes stuff grow


Nightsoil. Impoverished Londoners would collect human waste from cesspits and sell it for fertilizer. “Was stinkt, das duengt.”

It’s funny how something being in another language makes it more interesting.  I’m trying to find information on some German idioms I keep running into in translation, but I stumbled on some Bauernregeln [literally Farmer’s rules, ie folk sayings] instead.

Wer auf den Wind achtet, der säet nicht;
wer auf die Wolken siehet, der erntet nicht.

He who pays attention to the wind never sows his seeds;
he who watches the clouds never harvests his crop.

I think the Germans might have stolen that one from the Jews.  It sounds like a biblical proverb.

Ein Tag Regen tränkt sieben dürre Wochen.
One day’s rain drowns out seven weeks of drought.

Ein Blitz trifft mehr Bäume als Grashalme.
Lightning strikes more trees than blades of grass.

Färbt sich rot die Spur des Bären, wächst der Mut auch feigen Hunden.
If the bear’s track turns red, even cowardly dogs’ gain courage.

Was stinkt, das düngt.
That which stinks, fertilizes.

Have you ever felt like your life was very well fertilized?

London’s Stink in the 19th c.:

http://onelondonone.blogspot.com/2011/03/darker-side-of-19th-century-london_30.html

Nightsoil:

http://books.google.com/books?id=Q4oBAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA172&dq=night+soil+men+mayhew&hl=en&ei=Ld4tTeSaMsX6lwfM1OXQCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

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