“A trout in the pot is better than a salmon in the sea.”
One of my favourite Irish legends is the story about Fionn McCumhail (pronounced Finn McCool) and the Salmon of Knowledge. In this legend, Fionn was the apprentice to a very wise poet who had been trying to catch the salmon of knowledge for years. It was said that whoever ate this salmon would have all the wisdom and knowledge in the world. One day, while Fionn was still living with Finnegas, Finnegas finally caught the salmon. He gave the fish to Fionn to cook, admonishing him to not eat any. When Fionn brought him the cooked fish, he noticed something different about the boy. The salmon had gotten a blister whilst cooking, and Fionn had popped it burning his thumb in the process. He had then sucked his thumb and consequently, without this knowledge, had gained the wisdom of the salmon. Finnegas realised that Fionn was the one who had fulfilled the prophecy and so he ordered the boy to eat the remainder of the fish. Afterwards, anytime that Fionn needed to gain insight or wisdom he would suck on his thumb.