French version: Le rocher dans l'eau ne connaît pas la douleur de la roche au soleil
English translation: The rock in the water doesn't know the pain of the rock in the sun
This proverb has a similar meaning to two of the other proverbs on this blog. It is about empathy; the importance of making an effort to understand the point of view of others. The Puerto Rican proverb, 'nobody knows what's in the pot but the one who's stirring it', and the Turkish proverb, 'fire burns where it falls' address the same theme. Like those, this proverb implies that you can never really know what another person feels. In eight years of learning about proverbs from around the world, I have found this to be one of the most common international themes.
When I first heard this particular proverb I was confused because I assumed that the student must have it backwards. Surely a rock in the sun would be better off than a rock in the water, not the other way round? Then I realized that I hadn't taken into account where the proverb was from: Not England -- my point of reference for proverb interpretation -- but Haiti! Oops! Major perspective adjustment needed! Illustrates the point of the proverb perfectly.....
Thanks to my student Guirlene for sharing this proverb.