A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush

A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush.

The following article, “A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush.”, is written by Fahad Farooq, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

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1- Introduction

A person should be happy with the little and certain wealth that he has rather than lusting after the prospects of something better because the birds in the bush are uncertain advantages whereas a bird in hand is his certain possession.

2- Going back to the origin and debunking the proverb “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

3- How a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?

  • Evidence: A famous story–The Greedy Dog–proving that one must be happy with the blessings a person has instead of chasing things that are uncertain to acquire
  • Evidence: An ordinary man spending all his money buying a lottery ticket, having no guarantee of winning it, thus showing that chasing after uncertain things is of no use
  • Evidence:  A person quitting his current job and looking for a better one, ultimately getting unemployed, having no bird in his hand
  • Evidence: People opting for cosmetic surgeries despite knowing the risks involved, hence, getting deprived of what they have
  • Evidence: A girl rejecting all the suitable marriage proposals in her youth, seeking the best one, and becomes overage, rushing for two birds in the bush
  • Evidence: A person risking his relationship by cheating with others and running after the uncertainty, ultimately losing his spouse, the bird in hand

4- Critical analysis

5- Conclusion

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Answer to the Question


Human, by nature, is never satisfied with what he has in his hands. The trait that makes him aspire for something better lies in his nature. Thus, the thought of acquiring a better advantage leads him to the deprivation of the little wealth or whatever he has. Undoubtedly, “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.” The old maxim can be traced back to medieval falconry. Going back to its origin, the proverb was first written by John Capgrave in his book, “The Life of St. Catherine”, in the 15th century. He represented a bird in the hand as a falcon because it could provide food to the falconer while the other birds in the bush could offer only a one-time meal. Undoubtedly, the proverb can be comprehended in its literal meaning and implemented in real-life situations. For example, referring to a famous story – The Greedy Dog – a story told and heard very often, in which a dog gets deprived of a piece of meat in his mouth to obtain another one, which is only an illusion, is evident how one should be happy with the little blessings one has in life. Moreover, suppose a person with an ordinary income spends all his money buying a lottery ticket, which is uncertain whether he will win. In that case, he puts all his wealth at stake and, ultimately, loses all his money, lusting after the prospects of something better. Likewise, a person quitting his job to get a better one never knows if he will have it, and ultimately, he gets unemployed and deprived of a bird in his hand. Furthermore, people who opt for cosmetic and facial surgeries go for it despite knowing the risk involved and, hence, lose their natural beauty. In the same manner, a girl rejects suitable marriage proposals, seeking perfection, eventually becomes overage and does not get them anymore after a certain time. So, the arguments discussed above are enough to prove that the possession of little but certain advantages is far better than the bigger but uncertain ones. Therefore, one should always be happy and grateful for the blessings one has in life instead of having greed for more and more. Though one should work hard to achieve something better, one should not be foolish to burn one’s house.

“Be grateful for what you have.”

Coming to the understanding of the proverb, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, was first written in the book “The Life of St. Catherine” in the 15th century by John Capgrave. He traced it back to medieval falconry, representing a bird in hand as a falcon can provide food for the falconer and is, obviously, more advantageous than two birds in the bush. Besides its literal meaning, it is also mandatory to understand its contextual meaning. The maxim means that a person should be happy and contented with little wealth instead of aspiring and chasing fabulous wealth, which is uncertain to acquire. Hence, one should not run after the unseen things, for this is not a practical and rational approach.

To begin with, the arguments, proving how a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, a famous story, Greedy Dog, told and heard very often is worth mentioning here, in which a dog, with a piece of meat in his mouth, sees his shadow in the water while passing by a river and perceives it to be another dog with a piece of meat. So, he opens his mouth, lusting after getting more, and, eventually, gets deprived of his possessions, left with nothing but regret. Therefore, the story teaches how something little yet certain is better than something fabulous but uncertain.

Furthermore, the wise saying can also be applied to real-life situations and circumstances. For example, a person with an average income barely feeds and fulfils his family’s needs; no doubt, he would want to become a millionaire and facilitate his family with the best. For that purpose, if he chooses a shortcut and buys a lottery ticket with all his wealth, he ultimately loses it and becomes destitute. Therefore, it is not a practical approach to chase uncertain advantages, putting everything at stake and getting deprived of the little wealth that is certain.

Likewise, suppose a person already has a job, is fascinated by a better post in some other firm and resigns from his current job. In that case, Certainly, there is no guarantee of acquiring his desired designation, and ultimately, he would become unemployed. Thus, it is an unwise approach to give up on a person’s blessings instead of being grateful for them. So, it is evident that a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

Moreover, cosmetic and facial surgeries have become the standard of beauty and a trend nowadays. People spend millions for a minor facial and cosmetic procedure despite knowing the risk of failure. Thus, there is no guarantee that a person going through the procedures will get his desired facial looks or spoil them even more, causing him to lose his natural beauty. So, if the procedure fails, the person cannot only undo it but also spend more and more money on making him look better. Therefore, it is evident that a little wealth that is certain is better than the bigger wealth that is uncertain.

In the same manner, an unmarried ageing girl, being reluctant and rejecting all the suitable marriage proposals, seeking perfection would become overage. After a certain time, she would not be getting the proposals anymore because marrying an overage girl is sometimes considered taboo in society. Hence, the above example tells how one bird in the hand is better than the two birds in the bushes and why a person should be contented with whatever he has rather than rushing after the uncertainty.

In addition, if a married person were with other partners, lusting after the prospects of something better and cheating on his spouse, he would risk his married life with no surety of obtaining better. Thus, the spouse is referred to as a bird in the hand and a blessing, which he should be grateful for whereas the other partners are birds in the bush without guarantee of being acquired. So, the little blessings in one’s life are worth something bigger that is not certain or one’s possession.

From the above discussion, it is inferred that a person should be happy and contented with a bird in his hand rather than chasing two birds in the bush, meaning that one should always be grateful for the little blessings and wealth one is provided with, and which is certain instead of rushing for unseen and uncertain anticipation because it can lead to nothing else but deprivation of the things in hand and regret.

“The grass isn’t always greener.”

To summarize, the nature of chasing and greed for more and better can lead one to the deprivation of certain things and wealth one currently has; therefore, it is correct to say, “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush”. The old but wise saying can be applied to real-life incidents. To illustrate, the story of the greedy dog proves how little but certain blessings in life are better than chasing uncertainty. It also tells how greed for getting more and more can result in the deprivation of certain things that one has in hand. Furthermore, quitting a job and searching for a better one and, ultimately, getting unemployed can lead to nothing else but regret. Likewise, spending all the money of the breadwinner of a family, with an average income, on buying a lottery ticket is not a wise approach because there is no guarantee or certainty of acquiring what that person is aspiring for. The arguments discussed above show that one should always be contented and grateful for the little blessings and wealth in his pocket instead of lusting after the prospects of something better because a bird in hand is certainly worth two in the bush.

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