UNIX Fortune Cookie List


Out of UNIX' command-line shells (eg, Bourne shell sh) came a wealth of utility programs that have been ported to Linux' bash shell ("Bourne Again Shell") -- the shell in MS-DOS and Windows is cmd, AKA "Command Prompt", "the DOS window", etc. Most of those utilities are very useful and form the basis for shell scripts which do a lot of the start-up and configuration work in Linux -- many MS-DOS commands are borrowed from those UNIX utilities and renamed; I obtained Linux utilities ported to MS-DOS which I used for several years.

Some utilities were more for fun. One such was the utilty, fortune, which would display a "fortune cookie" message which it would randomly selected from a text file. By adding the execution of fortune to your .profile or .logout files, a "fortune cookie" message would be displayed at logon or logout, respectively. Think of it as a way to personalize your computer. The popularity of fortune led to a proliferation of "cookies" on different systems, some of them dedicated to more specific themes (eg, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, specific pundits (eg, Ambrose Bierce, Dave Barry)). It even led to an Internet protocol, QOTD ("Quote Of The Day"), on either TCP or UDP port 17 as specified by RFC 865.


I encountered fortune, or at least its data file, in 1988 on CompuServe, a decade before I had a chance to work with UNIX. I downloaded it and wrote my own version of fortune in Turbo Pascal (my primary language at the time) -- I never tried porting it to C nor to C++.

Now here's that original data file that I downloaded three decades ago.


Fortune Cookie List

  1. !CP MBI eht edisni deppart ma I !pleH

  2. A cow eats without a knife.

  3. A gift of flowers will soon be made to you.

  4. A guy has to get fresh once in a while so the girl doesn't lose her confidence.

  5. A king's castle is his home.

  6. A lie in time saves nine.

  7. A lost ounce of gold may be found, a lost moment of time never.

  8. A man who turns green has eschewed protein.

  9. A fish without a bicycle is like a man without a God.

  10. A plucked goose doesn't lay golden eggs.

  11. A present, over which you will shed tears of joy.

  12. A stitch in time saves nine.

  13. A truly wise man never plays leapfrog with a Unicorn.

  14. A vivid and creative mind characterizes you.

  15. A wise man can see more from a mountain top than a fool can from the bottom of a well.

  16. Alimony and bribes will engage a large share of your wealth.

  17. All the troubles you have will pass away very quickly.

  18. Among the lucky, you are the chosen one.

  19. An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.

  20. Avert misunderstanding by calm, poise, and balance.

  21. Be self-reliant and your success is assured.

  22. Beauty and harmony are as necessary to you as the very breath of life.

  23. Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.

  24. Beauty seldom recommends one woman to another.

  25. Bedfellows make strange politicians.

  26. Behind every argument is someone's ignorance.

  27. Better to use medicines at the outset than at the last moment.

  28. Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before. -- MAE WEST.

  29. Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes. - Thoreau

  30. Beware of friends who are false and deceitful.

  31. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

  32. By following the good, you learn to be good.

  33. Cheap things are of no value, valuable things are not cheap.

  34. Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.

  35. Courage is your greatest present need.

  36. Creditors have much better memories than debtors.

  37. Deprive a mirror of its silver and even the Czar won't see his face.

  38. Do not clog intellect's sluices with knowledge of questionable uses.

  39. Domestic happiness and faithful friends.

  40. Don't be overly suspicious where it's not warranted.

  41. Don't get yourself involved with persons or situations that can't bear inspection.

  42. Don't worry if you're a kleptomaniac, you can always take something for it.

  43. Draw your salary before spending it.

  44. Economy makes men independent.

  45. Enjoy your life; be pleasant and gay, like the birds in May.

  46. Even a hawk is an eagle among crows.

  47. Even the boldest zebra fears the hungry lion.

  48. Even the smallest candle burns brighter in the dark.

  49. Every purchase has its price.

  50. Everyone complains of his memory, no one of his judgment.

  51. Everything bows to success, even grammar.

  52. Executive ability is prominent in your make-up.

  53. Expect a letter from a friend who will ask a favor of you.

  54. Faith goes out through the window when beauty comes in at the door.

  55. Far duller than a serpent's tooth it is to spend a quiet youth.

  56. For people who like that kind of book, that is the kind of book they will like.

  57. Fortune truly helps those who are of good judgment.

  58. From listening comes wisdom and from speaking repentance.

  59. Generosity and perfection are your everlasting goals.

  60. God gives us relatives; thank God we can chose our friends.

  61. Good health will be yours for a long time.

  62. Good news from afar can bring you a welcome visitor.

  63. Happiness is just an illusion, filled with sadness and confusion.

  64. He is no lawyer who cannot take two sides.

  65. He is truly wise who gains wisdom from another's mishap.

  66. He thinks he could easily win your heart.

  67. He thinks that he could easily win your heart.

  68. He walks as if balancing the family tree on his nose.

  69. He was so narrow-minded he could see through a keyhole with two eyes.

  70. He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.

  71. He who has a shady past knows that nice guys finish last.

  72. He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet.

  73. He who invents adages for others to peruse takes along rowboat when going on cruise.

  74. He who is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

  75. He who laughs last probably doesn't understand the joke.

  76. Here comes the orator, with his flood of words and his drop of reason.

  77. His heart was yours from the first moment that you met.

  78. His life was formal; his actions seemed ruled with a ruler.

  79. History books which contain no lies are extremely dull.

  80. How many "coming men" has one known! Where on earth do they all go to?

  81. How sharper than a hound's tooth it is to have a thankless serpent.

  82. How you look depends on where you go.

  83. I despise the pleasure of pleasing people whom I despise.

  84. I don't remember ever having had the itch, and yet scratching is one of nature's sweet pleasures, and so handy.

  85. I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.

  86. I like work; it fascinates me; I can sit and look at it for hours.

  87. I must have slipped a disk - my pack hurts.

  88. I never fail to convice an audience that the best thing they could do was to go away.

  89. I've given up reading books; I find it takes my mind off myself.

  90. Idleness is the holiday of fools.

  91. If at first you don't succeed, you're doing about average.

  92. If it pours before seven, it has rained by eleven.

  93. If some people didn't tell you, you'd never know they'd been away on vacation.

  94. If you always postpone pleasure you will never have it.

  95. Quit work and play for once.

  96. If you continually give you will continually have.

  97. If you make a mistake you right it immediately to the best of your ability.

  98. If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think they'll hate you.

  99. If you suspect a man, don't employ him.

  100. If you wish to succeed, consult three old people.

  101. If you wish, You will have an opportunity.

  102. If you would keep a secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.

  103. It is Fortune, not wisdom that rules man's life.

  104. It is a poor judge who cannot award a prize.

  105. It is better to wear out than to rust out.

  106. It is easier to run down a hill than up one.

  107. It is far better to be deceived than to be undeceived by those we love.

  108. It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.

  109. It is the wise bird who builds his nest in a tree.

  110. It seems like the less a statesman amounts to, the more he loves the flag.

  111. It takes both a weapon, and two people, to commit a murder.

  112. It was a book to kill time for those who liked it better dead.

  113. It's a poor workman who blames his tools.

  114. It's clever, but is it art?

  115. It's later than you think, the joint Russian-American space mission has already begun.

  116. It's not reality that's important, but how you perceive things.

  117. It's sweet to be remembered, but it's often cheaper to be forgotten.

  118. Lawrence Radiation Laboratory keeps all its data in an old gray trunk.

  119. Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.

  120. Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage.

  121. Let he who takes the plunge remember to return it by Tuesday.

  122. Let not the sands of time get in your lunch.

  123. Let's just be friends and make no special effort to ever see each other again.

  124. Life is like an onion: you peel off layer after layer, then you find there is nothing in it.

  125. Life is to you a dashing and bold adventure.

  126. Like winter snow on summer lawn, time past is time gone.

  127. Lonely is a man without love.

  128. Lonely men seek companionship. Lonely women sit at home and wait. They never meet.

  129. Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.

  130. Love is in the offing. Be affectionate to one who adores you.

  131. Love is sentimental measles.

  132. Love the sea? I dote upon it - from the beach.

  133. Make a wish, it might come true.

  134. Make new friends but keep the old ones; One is silver and the other's gold.

  135. Man and wife make one fool.

  136. Man's horizons are bounded by his vision.

  137. Many a family tree needs trimming.

  138. Many changes of mind and mood; do not hesitate too long.

  139. Many pages make a thick book, except for pocket bibles which are on very very thin paper.

  140. Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly. -- VOLTAIRE

  141. Massachusetts has the best politicians money can buy.

  142. Matrimony is the root of all evil.

  143. Men seldom show dimples to girls who have pimples.

  144. Might as well be frank, monsieur. It would take a miracle to get you out of Casablanca.

  145. Misery loves company, but company does not reciprocate.

  146. Misster, do you vant to buy a duck.

  147. Mistakes are oft the stepping stones to failure.

  148. Money cannot buy love, nor even friendship.

  149. Money may buy friendship but money cannot buy love.

  150. Money will say more in one moment than the most eloquent lover can in years.

  151. My cup hath runneth'd over with love.

  152. My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.

  153. Never call a man a fool; borrow from him.

  154. Never drink from your finger bowl - it contains only water.

  155. Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.

  156. Nice guys get sick.

  157. No doubt Jack the Ripper excused himself on the grounds that it was human nature.

  158. No one can feel as helpless as the owner of a sick goldfish.

  159. Nobody can be as agreeable as an uninvited guest.

  160. Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature.

  161. Of all forms of caution, caution in love is the most fatal.

  162. Often statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts - for support rather than illumination.

  163. Old men are fond of giving good advice to console themselves for their inability to give bad examples.

  164. One family builds a wall, two families enjoy it.

  165. One man tells a falsehood, a hundred repeat it as true.

  166. Only someone with nothing to be sorry for smiles back at the rear of an elephant.

  167. Ours is a world where people don't know what they want and are willing to go through hell to get it.

  168. People who have no faults are terrible; there is no way of taking advantage of them.

  169. People who take cat naps don't usually sleep in a cat's cradle.

  170. People will buy anything that's one to a customer.

  171. Preserve the old, but know the new.

  172. Promptness is its own reward, if one lives by the clock instead of the sword.

  173. Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.

  174. Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

  175. Put your brain in gear before starting your mouth.

  176. Put your trust in those who are worthy.

  177. Raising pet electric eels is gaining a lot of current popularity.

  178. Recent investments will yield a slight profit.

  179. Reputation: what others are not thinking about you.

  180. Satire does not look pretty upon a tombstone.

  181. Satire is what closes in New Haven.

  182. Share your happiness with others today.

  183. She's learned to say things with her eyes that others waste time putting into words.

  184. Show your affection, which will probably meet with pleasant response.

  185. Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.

  186. Some men are discovered; others are found out.

  187. Some rise by sin and some by virtue fall.

  188. Someone is speaking well of you.

  189. Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.

  190. Someone whom you reject today, will reject you tomorrow.

  191. Standing on head makes smile of frown, but rest of face also upside down.

  192. Stop searching forever. Happiness is just next to you.

  193. Stop searching forever. Happiness is unattainable.

  194. Swap read error. You lose your mind.


  196. Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.

  197. That must be wonderful! I dont understand it at all.

  198. The attacker must vanquish; the defender need only survive.

  199. The average woman would rather have beauty than brains because the average man can see better than he can think.

  200. The best prophet of the future is the past.

  201. The best way to keep your friends is not to give them away.

  202. The days just prior to marriage are like a snappy introduction to a tedious book.

  203. The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.

  204. The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.

  205. The hardest thing is to disguise your feelings when you put a lot of relatives on the train for home.

  206. The heart is wiser than the intellect.

  207. The light of a hundred stars does not equal the light of the moon.

  208. The luck that is ordained for you will be coveted by others.

  209. The minute a man is convinced that he is interesting, he isn't.

  210. The only rose without thorns is friendship.

  211. The person you rejected yesterday could make you happy, if you say yes.

  212. The plural of spouse is spice.

  213. The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.

  214. The star of riches is shining upon you.

  215. The time is right to make new friends.

  216. The universe is laughing behind your back.

  217. The weed of crime bears bitter fruit.

  218. The wise shepherd never trusts his flock to a smiling wolf.

  219. There are few people more often in the wrong than those who cannot endure to be thought so.

  220. There are many people today who literally do not have a close personal friend.

  221. There are more old drunkards than old doctors.

  222. There are more ways of killing a cat than choking her with cream.

  223. There are three things I have always loved and never understood - art, music, and women.

  224. There is always someone worse off than yourself.

  225. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.

  226. There will be big changes for you but you will be happy.

  227. There's at least one fool in every married couple.

  228. There's so much to say but your eyes keep interrupting me.

  229. Think twice before speaking. But don't say "think think click click".

  230. This file will self-destruct in five minutes.

  231. Those of you who think you know everything are annoying those of us who do.

  232. To criticize the incompetent is easy; it is more difficult to criticize the competent.

  233. To do is to be - Nietzsche
    To be is to do - Sartre
    Do be do be do - Sinatra

  234. To give happiness is to deserve happiness.

  235. To keep your friends treat them kindly; to kill them, treat them often.

  236. To laugh at men of sense is the privilege of fools.

  237. To refuse praise is to seek praise twice.

  238. To save a single life is better than to build a seven story pagoda.

  239. True happiness will be found only in true love.

  240. Try to divide your time evenly to keep others happy.

  241. Try to value useful qualities in one who loves you.

  242. We prefer to speak evil of ourselves than not speak of ourselves at all.

  243. We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears.

  244. We read to say that we have read.

  245. What makes us so bitter against people who outwit us is that they think themselves cleverer than we are.

  246. What no spouse of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out the window.

  247. What orators lack in depth they make up in length.

  248. What passes for woman's intuition is often nothing more than man's transparency.

  249. What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

  250. When God endowed human beings with brains, He did not intend to guarantee them.

  251. When the wind is great, bow before it; when the wind is heavy, yield to it.

  252. When you become used to never being alone, you may consider yourself Americanized.

  253. When you go out to buy, don't show your silver.

  254. Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes.

  255. Why did the Lord give us so much quickness of movement unless it was to avoid responsibility?

  256. With clothes the new are best, with friends the old are best.

  257. Without fools there would be no wisdom.

  258. Words are the voice of the heart.

  259. Words must be weighed, not counted.

  260. Worth seeing? Yes, but not worth going to see.

  261. You are a bundle of energy always on the go.

  262. You are always busy.

  263. You are capable of planning your future.

  264. You are deeply attached to your friends and acquaintances.

  265. You are dishonest, but never to the point of hurting a friend.

  266. You are fairminded, just and loving.

  267. You are farsighted, a good planner, an ardent lover, and a faithful friend.

  268. You are going to have a new love affair.

  269. You are heading for a land of sunshine.

  270. You are magnetic in your bearing.

  271. You are scrupulously honest, frank, and straightforward.

  272. You are secretive in your dealings but never to the extent of trickery.

  273. You are standing on my toes.

  274. You are tricky, but never to the point of dishonesty.

  275. You can do very well in speculation where land or anything to do with earth is concerned.

  276. You cannot kill time without injuring eternity.

  277. You cannot propel youself forward by patting yourself on the back.

  278. You display the wonderful traits of charm and courtesy.

  279. You enjoy the company of other people.

  280. You have a deep appreciation of the arts and music.

  281. You have a reputation for being thoroughly reliable and trustworthy.

  282. You have a strong appeal for members of the opposite sex.

  283. You have a strong desire for a home and your family interests come first.

  284. You have a truly strong individuality.

  285. You have a will that can be influenced by all with whom you come in contact.

  286. You have an ability to sense and know higher truth.

  287. You have an ambitious nature and may make a name for yourself.

  288. You have an unusual equipment for success.
    Be sure to use it properly.

  289. You have an unusual understanding of the problems of human relationship.

  290. You have been selected for a secret mission.

  291. You have had a long-term stimulation relative to business.

  292. You have literary talent that you should take pains to develop.

  293. You have many friends and very few enemies.

  294. You have the power to influence all with whom you come in contact.

  295. You like to form new friendships and make new acquaintances.

  296. You love peace.

  297. You love your home and want it to be beautiful.

  298. You need not worry about your future.

  299. You never hesitate to tackle the most difficult problems.

  300. You plan things that you do not even attempt because of your extreme caution.

  301. You prefer the company of the opposite sex, but are well liked by your own.

  302. You recoil from the crude; you tend naturally toward the exquisite.

  303. You seek to shield those you love and you like the role of the provider.

  304. You shall be rewarded for a dastardly deed.

  305. You will always have good luck in your personal affairs.

  306. You will attract cultured and artistic people to your home.

  307. You will be aided greatly by a person whom you thought to be unimportant.

  308. You will be awarded a medal for disregarding safety in saving someone.

  309. You will be awarded some great honor.

  310. You will be called upon to help a friend in trouble.

  311. You will be given a post of trust and responsibility.

  312. You will be honored for contributing your time and skill to a worthy cause.

  313. You will be married within a year.

  314. You will be recognized and honored as a community leader.

  315. You will be singled out for promotion in your work.

  316. You will be successful in love.

  317. You will be surprised by a loud noise.

  318. You will be surrounded by luxury.

  319. You will be traveling and coming into a fortune.

  320. You will engage in a profitable business activity.

  321. You will gain money by a speculation or lottery.

  322. You will have good luck and overcome many hardships.

  323. You will have long and healthy life.

  324. You will hear good news from one you thought unfriendly to you.

  325. You will inherit some money or a small piece of land.

  326. You will meet an important person who will help you advance professionally.

  327. You will never know hunger.

  328. You will overcome the attacks of jealous associates.

  329. You will probably marry after a very brief courtship.

  330. You will receive a legacy which will place you above want.

  331. You will soon meet a person who will play an important role in your life.

  332. You will step on the soil of many countries.

  333. You will triumph over your enemy.

  334. You will win success in whatever calling you adopt.

  335. Your aims are high, and you are capable of much.

  336. Your business will assume vast proportions.

  337. Your depth of comprehension may tend to make you lax in worldly ways.

  338. Your domestic life may be harmonious.

  339. Your happiness is intertwined with your outlook on life.

  340. Your heart is pure, and your mind clear, and your soul devout.

  341. Your love life will be happy and harmonious.

  342. Your lover will never wish to leave you.

  343. Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart, what is true.

  344. Your mode of life will be changed for the better because of good news soon.

  345. Your mode of life will be changed for the better because of new developments.

  346. Your nature demands love and your happiness depends on it.

  347. Your own qualities will help prevent your advancement in the world.

  348. Your present plans will be successful.

  349. Your reasoning powers are good, and you are a fairly good planner.

  350. Your society will be sought by people of taste and refinment.

  351. Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded.

  352. Your temporary financial embarassment will be relieved in a surprising manner.

  353. Youth had been a habit of hers so long that she could not part with it.


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First uploaded on 2019 November 27.

E-Mail Address: dwise1@aol.com.