Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.
ptee-tah-ptee, lwah-zoh fay saw nee. Click below to hear this.*
Little strokes fell great oaks.
Don’t go testing that axe on the tree across the yard, where that little bird is trying to build her nest. Don’t scare her!
(What bird? What are you talking about?)
In the big oak, halfway up, see? Here comes the male, with another tiny wisp of grass.
(Oh, I see. It’s going to take them forever, at that rate!)
Especially if you don’t put that axe down. Step away from the weapon, and I’ll explain.
It’s a proverb, you see. In French, it translates literally as little by little, the bird builds its nest. It is used when you want to convey that slow progress is still progress. Even if your axe is dull, if you chop away long enough, the tree will come down (and the bird will be homeless). Another English proverb with pretty much the same meaning is Rome wasn’t built in a day. Patience and perseverance!
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: