9 Proverbs About Bears That Are Actually Real

"A bear isn’t a cow’s brother" - Mike Pence, some day, hopefully.

During Tuesday's Vice Presidential debate, Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence quoted an “old proverb” about Russia that he appears to have made up: “the Russian bear never dies, it just hibernates.”

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As it turns out, there are already a whole bunch of real proverbs from Russia about bears. Here are a few colorful ones the candidates might want to steal.

1. On why people hate politics: "The bear is in the forest, but the pelt is sold."

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Meaning: someone can profit without even creating or doing something real.

2. On diplomacy: "A bear is strong, but it can be led on a chain."

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Meaning: the subject is not so strong after all.

3. Also on diplomacy: "I caught a bear!" "Bring it here!" "It won’t come." "Then come yourself!" "It won’t let me!"

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Meaning: you’re not really in control of the thing you say you're controlling.

4. On home ownership: "Two bears don’t live in one lair."


Meaning: this place isn't big enough for both of us.

5. On carrying a tune: "A bear stepped on someone's ear."


Meaning: tone-deaf.

6. On friendship: "A bear isn’t a cow’s brother."

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Meaning: two people are too different to be friends; can be used when one believes himself to be too posh or good for the other.

7. On precision: "A cat uses its paw, a bear all five fingers."


Meaning: a cat does things accurately, a bear does things BIG.

8. On work-life balance: "Work is not a bear, it won’t go into the forest."

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Meaning: you can put a task away and it'll be there when you come back. (The more common version of this proverb goes, “Work is not a wolf, it won’t run into the forest.”)

9. And finally, on that whole hibernation thing: "For bears, winter is one night."


Luckily, so was the VP debate.



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.