This proverb simply translates that those who lack stability, manage to shirk responsibilities but also accrue no prosperity. They are not encumbered or weighed by the burden of responsibilities but prosperity or wealth shall equally elude them. Just as mosses or lichens thrive on permanence, prosperity and wealth too is bestowed upon those who remain dedicated and persevere and do not waver or shift gears perpetually. A person who is constantly wavering and changing sides can never gain the trust of his fellow-men. On the other hand, it also signifies that a person who is dynamic and is constantly on the move learns to be alive and creative and does not rust or become outdated and obsolete.
A vagabond or wanderer shall never gain the trust of people in matters of grave importance. Derived from Latin, this proverb found its way into English lexicon in 1546 in the works of John Heywood. The following narrative shall beautifully illustrate the implication of this proverb.
Once long back, there lived in the village a farmer. He was not by nature very hard-working and as a result always looked for excuses to shirk from his responsibilities and indulged in lazing around. One day, at the end of the harvest, he saw a trader come down in a embellished bullock cart and purchase all the produce from the village to be sold at a steeper rate in the market. The farmer felt that the trader is in so much better position than him. He did not have to get his hands dirty or toil in the sun, instead he gets to ride around on an ornamented bullock cart and earn big bucks.
So, he decide to change gears and become a middleman instead. He started purchasing produce from the village, load it in a bullock cart and took it to the market for sale. But the road was bumpy and hard. His whole body was aching by the time he was about to reach the market. Just before reaching the market, there was a big boulder in his way and since because was dozing, the bullock cart overturned and all his produce bit the dust. The man was crestfallen. He lost a lot of money on account of the damaged goods and had to work twice harder to re-load the produce and take it to the market.
Once, at the market, the goods did not fetch good money on account of their being damaged in transit and he had to suffer losses. Once back at the village after a long and tiring day, he saw all the farmers gathered around the village square laughing contentedly after having disposed off all their harvest, while he , being fool-hardy had to go again to the market the next day to catch new customers. He began to feel the farmers were a better lot but the damage was done. The land was sold and he had no way of turning back the clock.
His discontentment and his cryptic illusion that the grass in green on the other side cost him dearly. He wanted to shirk away from his responsibilities and in the bargain also lost his contentment and peace of mind.