A Piece of Viking Wisdom

29. He utters too many
futile words
who is never silent;
a garrulous tongue,
if it be not checked,
sings often to its own harm.

This essentially means: a person who says pointless words and is excessively talkative will end up saying self-incriminating things if he or she is not careful.

This advice reminds me of the Mark Twain quote, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” This is a lesson that I think a lot of us can take from. Even teachers give this advice to us, students, to apply when we take short answer tests. I’ve heard several teachers tell their students to stop writing an explanation once we’ve given a direct answer to the question since the chance of adding on something incorrect increases as you write more which will result in a completely incorrect answer. Initially, people may sound smart when they say something, but if they don’t know how to control how much they talk, they’ll end up looking dumb nevertheless. Also, when we get into trouble, often times, we try to talk our way out of things. However, when we continue to ramble, it’s much easier to detect holes in our story.

Another current example of someone who should take a little bit (or maybe a lot) of this advice is Donald Trump. I don’t feel as if it’s necessary for me to have to explain, but I’ve linked a video below just in case.

In the book, God of Small Things, the character Rahel often runs into a similar problem. She either speaks out of turn or finds herself in trouble as a result of her mouth. On the other hand, her twin brother, Estha, faces the opposite problem– he does not speak up. Rahel could have gotten out of a lot of trouble on several occasions if she had just kept quiet. Though her excessive talking may not have made her look dumb, it still had some harsh repercussions. In this case, the line “sings often to its own harm” is very much applicable.



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