Posted by R. Berg on June 09, 2007

In Reply to: Happiness posted by ESC on June 09, 2007

: : "If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody." Many Google sources claim this is a Chinese proverb (and some also include marriage as providing happiness for a month). It doesn't sound at all Chinese to me, but I'd like to know where it comes from.

: Doesn't sound Chinese to me either. Here is what one reference says under the Proverbs section (sans commas for some reason):

: If you would be happy for a week take a wife;
: if you would be happy for a month kill a pig;
: but if you would be happy all your life plant a garden.

: mid seventh century.

: "Oxford Dictionary of Quotations," Fifth Edition, edited by Elizabeth Knowles (Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2001). Page 603.

In the West, calling something an old Chinese proverb is done casually, without research, like introducing it with "A wise man once said..." Another version, which used to be used for witticisms and still may be for all I know, is "Confucius say..."