Neil quoted Daniel Binchy:
> "Both of them were doubtless originally proverbs of general
> application. 'Hand is not subject to hand' may mean that no
> freeman is bound to perform any service for another gratuitously."
"Ní·fognai lám láim" (= A hand does not serve a hand) certainly
looks, in its very generality, like a garden variety proverb.
That's good, since that's what I'm after really, not specialized
legal maxims. But "no freeman is bound to perform any service
for another gratuitously" is a bit legalistic sounding still,
as a translation.
If Binchy is basically correct about this, what could be a
functional translation, or parallel saying in English or any
other European language? ... he asks as he turns to his trusty
_Dizionario comparato di proverbi e modi proverbiali_...
OK, here's an old one about hands and reciprocity, which is
interesting. It's not exactly on point, but does describe
hands cooperating on an equal footing (sorry!), neither one
subservient to the other:
"Manus manum lavet." (Seneca) = Kheìr kheîra níptei. (Menander)
= Una mano lava l'altra. = Eine Hand wäscht die andere. = Une
main lave l'autre. = One hand washes the other.
Ní·fognai lám láim.
= A hand does not serve a hand.
= An equal does not serve an equal.
= There is no subservience among equals.
Thanks v. much for the Binchy, Neil!