Celtic Triads--Words of Ancient Wisdom

The Triads

Concerning three things that hide: an open bag hides nothing, an open door hides little, an open person hides something.

Three errors not acknowledged: fear of an enemy, torment of love, and a jealous persons' evil suspicion of their mate.

Three possessions we value most take away pride from us: our money, our time, and our conscience.

Three things by nature cause their possessor to err: youth, prosperity, and ignorance.

Three things resemble each other: a bright sword which rusts from long staying in the scabbard, bright water which stinks from long standing, and wisdom which is dead from long disuse.

Three things not easy to check: the stream of a cataract, an arrow from a bow, and a rash tongue.

Three things hard to catch: a stag on the mountain, a fox in the wood, and the coin of the miserly scrooge.

There are three things each very like the other: an old blind horse playing the harp with his hoofs, a pig in a silk dress, and a merciless person prating about piety.

Three things as good as the best: bread and milk against hunger, a white coat against the cold, and a yeoman's son in a breach.

Three things which are not hidden: a straw in the shoe, a awl in a bag, and a harlot in a crowd.

Three sweet things in the world: power, prosperity, and error in action.

Three strong things in the world: a lord, a fool, and the Void.

There are three things which move together as quickly the one as the other: lightning , thought , and the help of the Mighty Ones.

Three things not loved without each one it's companion: day without night, idleness without hunger, and wisdom without reverence.

There are three whose full reward can never be given to them: parents, a good teacher, and the Mighty Ones.

Three glories of a gathering: a comely mate, a good horse, and a swift hound.

Three things which constitute a healer: a complete cure, leaving no blemish behind, and a painless examination.

Three false sisters: "perhaps", "maybe", and "I dare say".

Three timid brothers: "Hush!" "Stop!" "Listen!"

Three youthful sisters: desire, beauty, and generosity.

Three aged sisters: groaning, chastity, and ugliness.

Three slender things that best support the world: the slender stream of milk from the cows dug into the pail; the slender blade of green corn upon the ground; the slender thread over the hand of a skilled woman.

Three keys that unlock thoughts: drunkenness; trustfulness; love.

Three sounds of increase: the lowing of a cow in milk; the din of a smithy; the swish of a plow.

Three unbreathing things paid for only with breathing things: An apple tree, a hazel bush, a sacred grove.

Three things by which excellence is established: Taking all things in moderation with nothing in excess; abidance to oaths; and acceptance of responsibility.

It is easier to determine the truth when these three prime evidences are existent: physical items which tell a story; trustworthy witnesses which tell their story; and concurrence with known truths. .

Three things from which never to be moved: one's oaths; one's Gods; and the truth.

Three things which strengthen a person to stand against the whole world: Seeing the quality and beauty of truth; seeing beneath the cloak of falsehood; and seeing to what ends truth and falsehood come.

There are three things excellent among worldly affairs: hating folly; loving excellence; and endeavoring constantly to learn.

Three manifestations of humanity: Affectionate bounty; loving manner; and praiseworthy knowledge.

Three things which spring from following lawful goodness: universal love from the Wise; worldly sufficiency, and better place in the life to come.

Three things without which there can be nothing good: truth; peace; and generosity.

Three beautiful beings of the world: the upright, the skillful, and the reasonable.

Three tendencies of a persons lifetime: hope, love, and joy.

Three things excellent for anyone: valor, learning, and discretion.

Three things must be united before good can come of them: thinking well, speaking well, and acting well.

Three things are becoming a person: knowledge, good deeds, and gentleness.

Three things it is everyone's duty to do: listen humbly, answer discreetly, and judge kindly.

Three things one should keep always before them: their worldly duty, their conscience, and the Laws of Nature.

Three sureties of happiness: good habits, amiability, and forbearance.

Three things without which there can be nothing good: truth, valor, and generosity.

Three marvelous deeds: to forgive a wrong done, to amend everything possible, and to refrain from injustice.

Three joys of the happy: avoidance of excess, peace, and loyalty.

Three antagonists of goodness: arrogance, passion, and covetousness.

Three rewards of those who learn to temper their emotions: experience, strength, and introspection.

Three things beside which the baneful cannot be: conformity to law, knowledge, and love.

Three things must wait long before they are attained: honesty from covetousness, wisdom from arrogance , and wealth from sloth.

Three things hard to obtain: cold fire, dry water, and lawful covetousness.

Three duties of the excellent person: to cherish their mate and children, to love their country, and to obey the laws of their people.

Three manifestations of excellence : the honoring of parents, the respecting of the aged, and instructing the young; and to this a fourth, defending of infancy and innocence.

Three reasons for supplicating to the Mighty Ones: because it is a pleasure to you, that you may be a friend of those who are wise, and because your soul is immortal.

Three reasons to war against fault: to not do to others as you would not have them do to you , that you not be arrogant , that you might always let the light of wisdom shine.

Three ways to lose excellence: to become a servant to one's passions, to not learn from the examples set by others, to indulge to excess.

Three fair things that hide ugliness: good manners in the ill favored; skill in a common person; wisdom in the misshapen.

Three candles that illume every darkness: truth, nature, and knowledge.

There are three kingdoms of the happy: the world's good word, a cheerful conscience, and firm hope of the life to come.

Three leaderships of the happy: being good in service, good in disposition, and good in secrecy; and these are found united only in those with a noble heart.

In three things a person may be as the Divine: justice , knowledge , and mercy.

Three things lovable in a person: tranquillity, wisdom, and kindness.

Three things excellent in a person: diligence, sincerity, and humility.

Three things which show a true human: a silent mouth, an incurious eye, and a fearless face.

Three companions on the high road to Union with the Void: a patient poor person, a reflective wise person, and a tolerant reformer.

Three who are loved by the Mighty Ones: the strong just person, the brave merciful person, the person generous without regret.

Three things without which the protection of the Mighty Ones cannot be: forgiving an enemy and a wrong done, wisdom in judgment and act; and cleaving to what is just, come what may.

There are three things to be commended in those that possess them: wisdom in talk, justice in actions, and excess in nothing.

There are three things which the happy will gain: prosperity, honor, and the ease of conscience.

Three things which the humble will gain: plenty, happiness , and the love of their neighbors.

Three things which the sincere will gain: favor, respect, and prosperity.

Three things which the patient will gain: love, tranquillity, and succor .

Three things which the merciful will gain: favor, love, and the protection of the Mighty Ones.

Three things which the upright will gain: worldly sufficiency, peace of conscience, and unending happiness.

Three things which the industrious will gain: precedence , wealth , and praise from the Wise.

Three things which the law-abiding will gain: health, success, and honor.

Three things which the careful will gain: respect, plenty, and content.

Three things which the generous of heart will gain: joy from their profit, felicity in giving, and a better life to come.

Three things which the early riser will gain: health, wealth, and happiness.

There are three things which mislead the world: the promises of masters, the garments of priests, and the seemliness of a daughter.

Three things which deceive those who trust them: a paramour's promise, a serfs fidelity, and the season of youth.

Three things from which there is nothing but deceit: the love of the wanton, the innocence of dominion, and the piety of one ill in bed.

Three things which ought not to be believed: an old persons dream, a paramour's oath, and a tale without authority.

Three things not easy to trust: a drover's oath, a paramour's promises, and a hunter's word about his dog.

People notable in three things: a miller in thieving, a preacher in begging, and a boaster in telling lies.

Three things hard to obtain: a grave tailor, an honest miller, and an ale-wife not covetous.

Three persons who desire their portion rich and savory: a cook, a concubine, and a kept priest.

Three things which do not profit the world by anything they do, whatever their fame for wisdom, art, and piety: a grasping miser, an arrogant poet, and a kept priest.

Three chicks from one nest: a loquacious farmer, a logical poet, and a half-hearted divine.

Three kinds of contenders on the death of a powerful rich person: their detractors for their reputation, kinsmen for their goods, and worms for their carcass.

Three things good in a miser's eyes: a brass-handled knife, much-patched shoes, and defaming the generous.

Three ways to know a person: by their discourse, their conduct, and their companions.

Three measuring-rods of every person: their dreams, their fears, and their unconcern.

Three hatreds which last for ever: between a mate and their step-children, between dogs and swine, and between Cymry and Saxon.

Three things wrong for any to meddle with: the office of a lord, usury, and war.

Three things hard for any to do: cool the fire, dry the water and please the world.

Three things not easy to obtain when sought: a loan of money from a usurer, without interest; the pleading of a case in court, without fee; and a dinner of rich food in a miser's house.

Three things which pervert just judgment: the love of friends, fear of the mighty, and desire of worldly goods .

Three things not easily found: an arrogant person generous, a young person wise, and an old person mannerly.

Three diversions which will surely bring trouble: hunting , war, and dallying with one who is younger.

Three things necessary to one who enters an inn: a strong head, a tough stomach, and a heavy purse.

Three things one gains in an Inn: entertainment which makes them poor, mirth which makes them do wrongly, and joy which makes them sad.

Three kinds of liar, and there is none other like them: a lord lying for privilege, a priest for office, and a woman for a son whom she loves.

Three things better than riches which happy people keep for their children and heirs: Instruction by reason, instruction by example, and exhortation to act as he does because of the respect and praise it brings him.

Three things which will not benefit heirs: a miser's wealth, the praise of tavern companions, and feats of sport.

Three things which prolong the lifetime of a person: the soil which rears a child, the food which nourishes a child, and play which diverts a child.

Three worldly honors, each one superior to every other: ploughing the family homestead, asserting a claim successfully, and rearing children.

Three aims to the future: planting trees, improving handicraft, and rearing lawful children.

Three blessings that do not bring on any either hunger or nakedness: the blessing of their spiritual counselor, the blessing of their rightful lord, and the blessing of a poet of hereditary art.

Three other blessings better than all: the blessing of father and mother, the blessing of the sick and wounded, and the blessing of one in adversity.

Three to whom it is right to give food: the stranger, the solitary, and the orphan.

Three things which cannot be obtained: poverty from alms-giving, wealth from robbery, and wisdom from prosperity.

Three occasions for one to speak falsehood without excuse: to save the life of one who is innocent, to keep the peace among neighbors, and to preserve the Wise and their crafts.

Three things one is loath to leave: the land where they were born and nurtured, the friends whom they have proved true, and the wealth which they have amassed through the labors of their own hands.

Three people who win easily in their lawsuits: the generous, the wise, and the healthy.

Three things by which we may know our neighbor: that he is poor, that he is a stranger, and that he is in the image of human kind.

Three gifts of charity : food, sanctuary, and instruction.

There are three things without which one is not whole: a mate, a home, and a craft.

Three things desirable in a household: good order, good knowledge, and sufficient plenty.

Three felicities of a household: and honest watchman, a careful herdsman, and a wise errand-goer.

Three things which make one glad: their mate loving them, their labor prospering, and their conscience easy.

Three things fitting for one when they are at home: their mate laying with them , their cushion in their chair, and their harp in tune.

Three things of great comfort for one to have: their mate in their bed, their fire in their hearth, and their money in their purse.

Three felicities of a wise person: kindly soil, a dedicated mate, and a law-abiding child.

Three things which will exalt a person: a mate dedicated and diligent, a master faithful, and safety.

Three things which help one to get rich: their mate saving, their family not wasting, and themselves laboring.

Three things which make a marriage happy: equality of age, equality of lineage, and equality of possessions.

Three felicities of a person and their mate: being merry at home, good in their relations with the Mighty Ones, and mediators among their neighbors.

Three things one gains when their mate endeavors to be excellent: their household peaceful for love of them, their children gentle in manners, and the respect of their neighbors.

Three things a person gains when their mate endeavors to be excellent: peace of mind, wellness of body, and stable prosperity.

Three treasures of the child in a good home: truth, love, and growth.

Three things in a person which makes their mate a leader among their neighbors: skill, industry, and wisdom.

Three things which bring dignity to a person: discretion in speech, contentment in the life they lead, and being peaceful among their neighbors.

Three things which makes one content with their dinner: their mate clever, their food savory, and their stomach healthy.

Three things pleasant to one at their dinner: a sharp-edged knife, a sharp-pointed skewer, and a clean plate.

There are three things most precious to human kind: health, liberty, and virtue.

Three things which do not suffer trifling: health, prosperity, and time.

Three things which keep a person in good health: moderate food, well-apportioned labor, and natural warmth.

Three foods which bring health, long life, and clear understanding: corn food, milk food, and garden food.

Three foods which bring disease, short life, and dull understanding: flesh food, sweetened food, and highly seasoned food.

Three customary acts which make one healthy and long-lived: work, by tilling, in moderation; rising early; innocent mirth.

Three customary acts which bring short life and disease: to much labor, too much sleep in the morning, and peevishness.

Three frequent changes which bring long life: change of food, change of work, and change of amusement.

Three good things in one who loves good health: enough sleep at Bealtinna (in Spring), enough food at Meansamhradh (at Mid-Summer), enough fire at Geamhradh (in the Winter).

Three things which strengthen the body: lying on a hard bed, cold air, and dry food.

Three things whose excess shortens ones life: flesh food, drunkenness, and too much dallying about with those of the opposite gender.

Three unfailing remedies in every disease and sickness: nature, time, and patience.

Three things of which one does not see half enough: life, health, and riches.

There are three things which keep order and system for everything in the world: number, weight, and measure.

Three things which we cannot control: the Void , the planets , and truth. To this be it added, The Truth Against The World.

Three things good as servants, bad as masters: water, fire, and wind.

Three more things worse yet as masters than as servants: labor, money, and kings.

Three things which shall lay waste where they come: water, fire and the curse of the Mighty Ones.

Three arch-enemies of human kind: fire, water, and a king.

Three gluttons of the world: the sea, a king, and a city.

Three things no being can be seen without: covering, movement, and shadow.

Three things which should be chiefly considered in everything: nature, form, and work.

Three unequals of the world: beauty, love, and necessity.

Three parts to everything : He One , She One , They One in the Third.

There are three things that are never at rest in anyone: the heart in working, the breath in moving, and the soul in purposing.

Three things in the world between which there is a wonderful difference: the faces of people, the utterances of people, and the writings of people.

There are three from which it is not easy to win a person: their belief, their genius, and their nation.

Three things on which every person should reflect: whence they come, where they are, and whither they shall go.

Three things hard for a person to do completely: know themselves, conquer their appetite, and keep their secret.

Three things a person cannot conceal: great love, great hate, and great wealth.

Three things of which the whole is not good: doing the whole that passion desires, believing the whole that is said throughout the land, and showing the whole that one knows.

Three martyrdoms without slaying: the liberality of a needy person, the innocence of a young person, and fair maintenance without wealth.

Three things of which the loss is woe: the attainments of wisdom, a pure conscience, and the love of Mighty Ones.

Three fears which strengthen a person's heart: fear of speaking the whole that they have learnt from another, fear of extreme prosperity, and fear of offending the Mighty Ones.

Three fears which weaken a person's heart: fear of speaking the truth, fear of wretched poverty, and fear of evil being done them.

Three things which dazzle the world: deceit, supremacy, and excessive love for man and human beings.

Three counsels of the yellow bird: do not grieve greatly about what has happened, do not believe what cannot be, and do not desire what cannot be obtained.

Three things which come on a person without their knowing: sleep, error, and old age.

Three things which come together: age, error, and grief.

Three things which keep their word faithfully: death, retribution, and remorse.

Three things the true human obeys: truth, the world which is to come, and the cock at dawn.

Three things of which not the half is to be believed that is boasted of them: wealth, understanding, and goodness.

Three things never end: the flowering of charity, the soul, and perfect love.

Three kinds of knowledge : the nature of each thing , the cause of each thing , the influence of each thing.

There are three springs of knowledge: reason, phenomenon, and necessity.

Three things must a person do who desires to learn: listen intently, contemplate intently, and be silent continually.

Three teachers of humankind: one is event, that is from seeing and hearing; the second is intelligence, and that comes from reflection and meditation; and the third is genius, individual, a gift from the Mighty Ones.

Three gains of those who heed the advisements of the Old Ones: illumination, wisdom, and clarity.

Three instructions not wise to believe: what a person imparts in support of what is for their own profit and success; what one imparts with hatred to another; and what a person wise in their own eyes imparts.

The three qualifications of poetry: endowment of genius; judgment from experience; happiness of mind.

The three foundations of Judgement: bold design; frequent practice; frequent mistakes.

The three foundations of learning: seeing much; studying much; and suffering much.

The three foundations of thought: perspicuity, amplitude, and preciseness.

The three canons of perspicuity: the word that is necessary, the quantity that is necessary, the manner that is necessary.

The three canons of amplitude: appropriate thought, variety of thought, and requisite thought.

There are three things which strengthen the mind and reason: seeing much, reflecting much, and enduring much.

Three resources of human kind: intelligence, love, and prayer.

There are three foundations of wisdom: discretion in learning, memory in retaining, and eloquence in telling.

Three concords for wisdom: generosity and wealth, knowledge and humility, and valor and mercy; and they are neither a true human nor sage in whom these things are not found in concord.

Three marks of wisdom: simplicity, endeavor, and long-suffering.

Three securities of wisdom: memory, reflection, and custom.

Three qualities which show wisdom: suffering discreetly, forgiving injury, and seeking knowledge.

Three followers of wisdom: imagination, purpose, and endeavor.

Three demonstrations of wisdom: holding to reason, holding to imagination, and holding to improvement.

Three synonyms of wisdom: necessity, decency, and expediency.

Three things which obstruct wisdom: pride, covetousness, and timorousness.

Three special virtues of wisdom: generosity, industry, and prudence.

Three initiations of wisdom: lawful teaching, effective customs, and instinctive love.

Three operations of wisdom : taming savagery, spreading peace, and improving laws.

There are three schools of one who is wise: conscience, reason, and instruction.

Three things essential for the wise to know: their Gods, themselves, and the deceits of the world.

Three things that one who is wise attains: prosperity, dignity, and joy.

Three triumphs of one who is wise: dignity, intuition, and praise.

Three things of which one who is wise may boast: their understanding, their handicraft, and that which they have mastered.

Three plagues of the wise: a young lover, drink, and bad temper.

There are three schools of the foolish person: the punishment of the law, ill happenings in their life, and a bad position in the life to come.

Three things which befall the unwise person: failure, disgrace, and sorrow.

Three boasts of a fool: riches, lineage, and dissipation.

Three laughters of a fool: about the good man, about the evil man, and about what he knows not.

Three things which the fool calls imprudent: to seek knowledge, come what will; to give alms without thinking what is to come; and to endure for truth and justice without fear of what may come.

Three things of which everything is capable, and without which nothing can be: strength of body and mind, knowledge, and love of intuitive wisdom.

Three things which may not be opposed: nature, necessity, and decay.

Three who are hard to believe: a wanderer from afar, the reader of a book in a strange tongue, and they who are older than their neighbors.

Three who it is wise not to believe: the stranger about their possessions, and old person praising the day that was of yore, and one who boasts of their wisdom.

There are three concords which uphold all things: concord of love and justice, concord of truth and imagination, and concord of the Mighty Ones and occurrence.

Three words of counsel from Teilo the Draoi: know thy power, know thy wisdom, and know thy time.

Three people who will please the Mighty Ones: they who love everything living with their whole heart, they who love every beautiful thing with their whole strength, and they who seek every knowledge with their whole understanding.

Three things between which there is great difference: what is praised and what is forgiven, what is forgiven and what is suffered, and what is suffered and what is not punished.

The three foundations of friendship are: Respect and trust; understanding and forbearance, a loving heart and helpful hands.

Three things for a friend: let them be to you a second self, let not their misery estrange you from them, do for their memory what you would do if they yet lived.

The three foundations of happiness: contentment; hope, and belief.

There are three things which the happy will gain: prosperity, honor, and ease of conscience.

There are three only , whose frenzy is a benefit to their people: The Warrior on the field of battle, the Dancer in the place of dance, and the Seeker of Justice where ever they may be.

The three highest causes of the true human are: Truth, honor, and duty.

The three manifestations of the true human are: civility, generosity, and compassion.