What is old familiarity? It is when neither friend
objects to liberties taken by the other.
Liberties taken by a friend are friendship's rightful possession;
to allow them is the willing duty of wise men.
What is the purpose of long-standing fellowship
if friends' familiar actions are not accepted as one's own?
Familiar with familiarity, the wise are never annoyed
when friends do things without asking.
When friends do things that hurt you, attribute it
to unawareness or to the privileges of friendship.
Bound by brotherhood, true friends never break their bond
with an old comrade, even if he brings them loss.
Old friends do not forsake loving fellowships,
even when those they cherish happen to do them harm.
An intimate of any strength will never listen to faults said of friends;
and on the day a friend offends, he is content to keep silent.
The world cherishes faithful men who never forsake
old friendships, worn by time but unbroken.
Even ill-wishers will wish those well
who never abandon affection for old friends.
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These daily couplets are drawn from Saint Tiruvalluvar's Tirukural, an ethical masterpiece written over 2,200 years ago in South India. This American English translation, known as Weaver's Wisdom, is available at our Minimela online store.