Folklore of Women by Thomas F. Thiselton-Dyer is a largely forgotten book from a century ago with an extensive collection of proverbs, adages, and quotes from the past regarding women. The book is well worth reading, as it’s a gold mine of red pill truths from different cultures across the world. What’s fascinating is just how much of what is recorded here still rings true for today’s women, in spite of all our recent social and cultural changes.

Here are some of the best quotes from the book:

Women and harmony

“A thousand men may live together in harmony, whereas two women are unable to do so though they be sisters.” –Tamil adage

On women’s intelligence

“She is at the mercy of circumstances just as the sand is at the mercy of the wind;” whilst we are further told that, “although woman reads and studies endlessly, her thought is always an afterthought.”

The Russian is of the same opinion, for, according to him, “a woman’s hair is long, but her sense short,” and “a dog is wiser than a woman, he does not bark at his master.”

Tamil proverbial wisdom declares that “the skill of a woman only goes so far as the fireplace”—in other words, cleverness is no use to a woman outside domestic affairs.

Requirements for women


“We ask four things for a woman–that virtue dwell in her heart, modesty in her forehead, sweetness in her mouth, and labour in her hands.” –Chinese proverb

On women’s morality

It appears the world was unanimous in regards to women’s moral character:

“He who takes an eel by the tail, or a woman at her word, soon finds he holds nothing.”

“Beware of a bad woman, and put no trust in a good one.” –German proverb

“Woman always speak the truth, but not the whole truth.” –Italian proverb

“The dog is faithful, woman never.” –Turkish maxim

“When a woman has lost her character, she will shrink from no crime.” –Tacitus

“Women, if confined at home by faithful guardians, are not really guarded; but those women who guard themselves by their own will, are well guarded.” –Eastern proverb

On women’s chastity

“Beauty without chastity is a flower without fragrance.” –old Tamil maxim

Women don’t always know what is best for themselves

“A woman mostly will prefer
The thing that is the worst for her.” –Welsh adage

On women’s vanity

German proverbs run, “Woman’s beauty, the forest echo and rainbows, soon pass away,” and “Maidens and roses soon lose their bloom.”

Italian proverb adds, “Tell a woman that she is beautiful, and the devil will repeat it to her ten times.”

German proverb adds, “An impudent face never marries.”

Why it’s difficult to find a woman who has the best of both worlds:

“The handsomest women are soonest corrupted, because they are most tempted.” –John Ray

“Every woman would be rather pretty than pious.” –old German proverb

On women’s beauty

Galen perhaps was not far wrong in maintaining that one reason why misfortune is so often connected with beauty is that “many who have been distinguished for their loveliness have neglected the education of their mind,” for, as the German proverbs say, “Beauty and understanding go rarely together.”

“Beauty in the unworthy is poison in a casket of gold.” –Tamil adage

German folk-wisdom tells us that “A fair skin often covers a crooked mind,” and “A fair face may hide a foul heart.”

“A beautiful woman is the paradox of the eves, the hell of the soul, and the purgatory of the purse.” –old English maxim

“A beautiful woman smiling bespeaks a purse-weeping.”

“An ugly woman is a disease of the stomach, a handsome woman a disease of the head.”

Women’s superficiality


“A harlot’s face is a painted sepulchre.”

“Three-tenths of a woman’s good looks are due to nature, seven-tenths to dress.” –Chinese proverb

Women and love



“Love is the companion of blindness.” –Arab proverb

“To love a thing makes the eye blind, the ear deaf.” –Talmud

“When women love, they forgive us everything, even our crimes; when they do not love us, they give us credit for nothing, not even for our virtues.” –Honoré de Balzac

On women’s words

Chinese have a favourite saying to the effect that “a woman’s tongue is her sword, and she does not let it rust.”

“Be she old, or be she young,
A woman’s strength is in her tongue.”

“Silence is a fine jewel for a woman but little worn.”

“Her tongue steals away all the time from her hands,” and “All women are good Lutherans,” they say in Denmark, “because they would rather preach than hear Mass.”

Chinese have a common proverb to the effect that, whereas “a man’s words are like an arrow close to the mark, a woman’s is like a broken fan.”

Women in power and gender roles

“Ill fares the hapless family that shows,
A cock that’s silent, and a hen that crows.”

The Japanese tells us that “when the hen crows the house goes to ruin,” with which may be compared the Russian adage, “It never goes well when the hen crows,” whilst the Persian proverb puts the matter sensibly thus:—“If you be a cock, crow; if a hen, lay eggs.”

On the value of women

“There are only two good women in the world: one of them is dead, and the other is not to be found.” –Old German proverb

“A man of straw is worth a woman of gold.” –French

“A woman never brings a man into the right way.” –African proverb

“He that can avoid women, let him do so, so as to take care each day not to do what he may regret on the morrow.” –Plautus

Toxic women


“A good woman, beset by evil women, is like the chaste mimosa surrounded by poisonous herbs” –Eastern proverb

Chinese proverb affirming that “there is no such poison in the green snake’s mouth, of the hornet’s sting, as in a woman’s heart;”

Italians say that “it is better to irritate a dog than a bad woman.”

“Men are women’s playthings, women are the devil’s.” –Victor Hugo

“Infidelity, violence, deceit, envy, extreme avariciousness, a total want of qualities, with impurity, are the innate faults of womankind.” –from Hitopadesa

“In one fair woman there are seventy-two hidden vices.” –Marathi

“Women are saints in the church, angels in the street, devils in the kitchen, and apes in bed.”

“Women are demons who make us enter hell through the gates of Paradise.”

“When a woman thinks by herself she thinks of evil.”

How women lure men


“Women and wine, game, and deceit,
Make the wealth small, and the wants great”

“Women for the most part do not love us. They do not choose a man because they love him, but because it pleases them to be loved by him.” –Alphonse Karr

“If thou givest thy heart to a woman she will kill thee.” –West African wisdom

Women and spite


“Not even the soldiers’ fury, raised in war,
The rage of tyrants when defiance stings ’em!
The pride of priests, so bloodless when in power,
Are half so dreadful as a woman’s vengeance.”

“A woman is more constant in hate than in love.”

“A woman, when inflamed by love or hatred, will do anything.”

French saying: “Women’s counsels are ever cruel,” the warning being added that “you should believe only one word in forty that a woman speaks.”

On Marriage

Two good days for a man in this life—
When he weds and when he buries his wife.

African proverb reminds us that “He who marries a beauty marries trouble.”

Chinese say, “A young wife should be in her house but a shadow and an echo.”


What I find amazing is how modern men have inexplicably forgotten about these warnings by pedestalizing women with notions of pure and divine love. By adopting an unrealistic and idealistic image of womanhood, men have inadvertently cursed themselves—the effects of which we continue to witness today.

However, in spite of these (sometimes harsh) warnings, we shouldn’t treat the entire opposite sex as enemies to be overcome—that would be ridiculous. Instead, we must approach our interactions with women with precaution to filter out the toxic ones, and have realistic view of the female nature to form healthy relationships with them. We can always learn a thing or two from our ancestors.

You can read the entire book for free here or read an Amazon preview below:

Read More: 6 Aphorisms On The Nature Of Women