A Bird In Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush

A Bird In Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush
The proverb is based perhaps on the experience of a hunter.

It states a truth which is very obvious. In fact, it understates the truth for a bird, which is in our possession, is better than any number of birds in the bush. As such, it would indeed be foolish to leave the bird in our hand and run after the ones in the bush. It would only be a wild-goose chase.

In an extended sense, ‘Bird’ in the proverb stands for ‘opportunity’. ‘A bird in hand’ means what is certain or what is in our possession. ‘Two in the bush’ means what is not certain or what we may get in the future. The saying thus states that what we have now has far greater value than what we may get in future.

The popular fable of ‘The Dog with a Bone’ illustrates this maxim. Once a dog with a bone in its mouth was crossing a stream in which it saw its reflection. Unmindful of the bone in its mouth it jumped for the bone in the reflection and reached the bank empty-handed.

However, we have to admit that the proverb is too realistic and for higher achievements one has to sacrifice the immediate gains at times.

For instance, the risk a businessman has to take is very plain. His eye is more on the distant gain than on immediate profit. He seems to prefer the two birds in the bush to the one in hand. Most of the time his calculated risk pays off. In the share market too, business runs on speculation, on possible future gain. This, no doubt, involves a lot of risk.

Generally speaking, the best policy is to keep the one in hand and also strive to get the other two that are in the bush.

The proverb, ‘A bird in hand is worth two in the bush’ underscores the importance of careful judgment to a human being and the ruin that greed brings.

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