Essay No. 333:
One Swallow Does Not Make A Summer: The proverb means that only one meeting with an individual is not sufficient to judge his character and behaviors. We may be influenced by a single act of generosity of an individual, which is not enough to have an insight into the real personality of that individual. There goes a saying that appearances are often deceptive. People behave in a certain manner due to inexplicable motives, pressures and constraints.
A rich man donate a huge amount of money to a charitable institution in order to win fame, though he may not have any soft corner for the cause he is trying to serve. Others donate heavy sums to charitable institutions in order to get benefit in tax concession. People may take the rich man for a saint, who gives liberal donations to charitable institutions for promoting the welfare of the needy, the poor.
However, his motive purely may be of worldly nature. He may be trying to promote his own interests, which people may not be able to smell. The proposition brings home to the reader that he should not judge people form a single act or gesture. People wear many cloaks and it is rather difficult to know their intention. Hence it needs time to judge or assess the behaviors of people.
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Hurried assessment can be faulty or partial. Unless one spends some time in the company of people to know about their behaviors, nothing definite can be said of them. Swallow is a migratory bird which comes to the tropical countries in extreme winter from the North Pole. Arrival of a single swallow form the Northern countries does not indicate the advent of the summer in the tropical countries.
Swallows in clusters fly to spend time in the tropical countries to escape the cruelties of the winter. Hence when swallows in large number arrive that means the summer has commenced. Likewise, a single human act is not enough to arrive at a conclusion about the intention and behaviors of people. It needs a close touch with the people to assess their real motives and impulses.