IN MODERN Nicaragua don’t be surprised when you see pigs, chickens, horses and cattle roaming the streets –even in urban areas like Managua! It is no wonder, then, that our furry friends have found their way into the collection of Nicaraguan Spanish sayings. Here’s a sampler:

1. Al mejor mono se le cae el zapote.

Literal meaning: Even the best monkey sometimes drops the sapodilla.
The sapodilla, locally known as the zapote, is a large, sweet fruit. Monkeys love them. But even an able-handed primate has been known to drop one from time to time. Hence, this is the equivalent of: “Nobody’s perfect.”
“Este desacierto pone en evidencia que ‘al mejor mono se le cae el zapote,’ que somos humanos y nos equivocamos.”

Translation: “This miscalculation makes it clear that ‘nobody’s perfect.’ We are humans and we make mistakes.”

2. “Bueno,” dijo la mula al freno, “entre más grande, más bueno.”

Literal meaning: “Well,” said the mule to the bit, “the bigger, the better.”
Pity the poor mule! She must carry her heavy load day by day and is guided to wherever her master desires by means of a steel bit in her mouth. If that bit is small, it will cut into her mouth and create a nasty sore! So, “the bigger, the better.” A larger bit is more comfortable.
This nonsensical rhyme is used during conversation after someone has finished a sentence with the word “bueno.” It is similar to when in English someone says “Well…” and the other person responds: “That’s a deep subject.”

3. llover sapos y culebras

Literal meaning: to rain toads and serpents
Many foreign students of English are taken aback when they first hear our colorful metaphor, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” You can’t literally say this in Spanish, because it won’t make sense. However, in Nicaragua, you have this reptilian option.
“Tuvimos que correr rápido al bus, porque estaba lloviendo sapos y culebras.”

Translation: “We had to run quickly to the bus, because it was raining cats and dogs.”

4. Otro gallo cantará.

Literal meaning: Another rooster will crow.
In Nicaragua there’s no law against having farm animals even in major cities. So don’t be surprised at 5 a.m. if you are startled out of bed with a hair-raising cock-a-doodle-do! Hearing the rooster’s crow is definitely commonplace. But when someone says “Otro gallo cantará,” they mean: “That’s another story.”
In a story about the U.S. elections, a journalist observed: “Si los republicanos ganan la elección de noviembre próximo, otro gallo cantará.”

Translation: “If the Republicans win the election this coming November, things are going to be different.”

5. A cada chancho le llega su sábado.

Literal meaning: For every pig his Saturday will come.
In years past, it seems that Saturday was the day when a fattened pig would be taken to the slaughterhouse. For the poor pig, Saturday meant death. So today when someone gets his “just desserts” for misconduct, this saying enters into play.
Commenting on an article that reported the demise of Osama bin Laden, one man wrote: “¡A cada chancho le llega su sábado! Solo es cuestión de tiempo para que todos los psicópatas paguen por lo que han hecho.”

Translation: “Each person will eventually have his day of reckoning. It’s only a question of time that all psychopaths will have to pay for what they have done.”