The full title is as follows: Proverb Lore: Many Sayings, Wise or Otherwise, on Many Subjects, Gleaned From Many Sources.
Quoted from Chapter 1:
"The study of proverbs is one of exceeding interest and value. By means of it our thoughts travel back through the ages to the childhood of the world, and we see at once how amidst the surroundings that vary so greatly in every age and in every clime the common inherent
oneness of humanity asserts itself: how, while fashions change, motives of action remain; how, beneath the burning sun of Bengal or Ashanti, in the tents of the Crees, or amidst the snows of Lapland, the thoughts of men on the great problems that confront the race are
strikingly at one. Hence, while the outward garb and phraseology of these proverbial utterances must necessarily greatly vary, we find, when we pierce below the surface, a remarkable similarity of idea. When we desire to point out the foolishness of providing any
place or person with anything that they are really better able to procure for themselves, the absurdity of "carrying coals to Newcastle" is pointed out, and we might at first sight very naturally say that surely here we have a popular saying that we can specially claim as a piece of English proverbial wisdom. We find, however, in the Middle Ages the popular saying,
"Send Indulgences to Rome"; while even before the Christian era the Greeks were teaching the same lesson in the formula, "Owls to Athens," the woods of Attica yielding these birds in abundance, while the city itself, under the special guardianship of Pallas Athene, had, as
its device and symbol, on its coinage and elsewhere, the yowl, the bird associated with that goddess — coals, owls, indulgences, so different in outward seeming, teaching the self-same truth."