A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Note: This week’s proverb appears in almost every European language. The first known writing of it is attributed to Puplilius Syrus, a first century Latin writer, “Saxum volutum non obducitur musco.” There is a Spanish version of it, “Piedra movediza nunca moho la cobija.”
Italian — “Pietra mossa non fa musco.” French — “Pierre qui rolle n’ amasse point de mousse.” German — “Wälzender Stein wird nicht mossig.” Dutch — “Een rollende steen neemt geen mos mede.” Danish — “Den Steen der ofte flyttes, bliver ikke mossegroet. Scots Gaelic — “Cha chinn còinneach air clach an udalain.” Welch — “Y maen a dreigla ni fysygla.”
The idea is that if you keep yourself busy, if you keep moving, you will be free of the hindrances and distractions that afflict the sedentary. Like the rolling stone, you will not be swallowed up in useless moss. In the parlance of the Television Age, you will not become a couch potato.
Note also: You are not likely to find the word ‘reatha’ in an Irish dictionary, at least not directly. It is not a headword. The head word in this case is ‘rith’ which means ‘run.’ The verbal noun is also ‘rith.’ However, this verbal noun is modifying the noun ‘cloch,’ so it needs to be in the Genitive Case, which is ‘reatha.’