A Proverb on the Importance of Know-How

The donkey’s load is rifles, yet still he is eaten by wolves.

Local Oral Tradition

“Your wife is an amazing cook. That soup was fantastic!” my friend exclaimed.

“It’s because there was bacon in it,” I said.

“No, it wasn’t just the bacon. The donkey’s load is rifles, yet still he is eaten by wolves. Yes, she had bacon, but she also knows how to cook.”

This conversation took place yesterday after a late lunch. Some volunteers had recently brought us the culinary holy grail of meals in Central Asia – precooked bacon from the West. We had served it up to a local friend of ours who appreciates this food now made clean by Jesus. Intrigued, I went on to get some further clarification on this new (for me anyway) local proverb.

The saying gets at the importance of know-how. Even though the donkey has the tools needed to fight off the wolves – a load of rifles – he still dies because he cannot use them. In other words, tools are useless without the necessary equipping, the necessary know-how. On the positive side, as my friend used it, it’s not only the presence of good tools or ingredients that should get the credit, but also the one who wields them with skill. The right tools and the right experience – that’s the goal.

By this means wolves can be killed. Or a mean bacon stew can be served.

Photo by Thomas Bonometti on Unsplash

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