Saturday, September 08, 2007

Spanish Tales for Beginners: Los Consejos de un Padre

Here is the first chapter of a translation we are doing as a group (a kind of exquisite corpse) where we translate a story line by line. We are of varied skills at our Spanish, but it makes no matter. The point (for me, anyway) is to use and think and learn about Spanish a little bit every day. Join us if you would like.

Dear folks,
I was thinking it might be good to try using a good old-fashioned spanish dictionary (not the online kind). The process of looking up the word will help cement it in your brain, and also you will end up shopping through and reading other words. If you have grammatical questions feel free to ask! I can probably answer or at least find someone better to tell us.

This is all from a book that was first copyrighted in 1909. This copy is from 1946. Arwen found it at Pak 'n Save in Vermont.

El león, el rey de las selvas, agonizaba en el hucco de su caverna...
Lion, King of the Jungle, lay dying in a hollow of his cave...*

A su lado estaba su hijo, el nuevo león, el rey futuro de todos los animales.
To his side was his son, the new lion, the future king of all the animals.

El monarca moribundo le daba penosamente el último consejo, el más importante.

—Huye del hombre—le decía:—huye siempre; no pretendas luchar con él.
Flee from man—he said:—always flee; do not seek a fight with him.*

Eres señor absoluto de los démas animales, no los temas; domínalos, castígalos, devóralos si tienes hambre.
You are an absolute master of other animals, do not be afraid of them; dominate them, punish them, devour them if you are hungry.

Con todos puedes luchar, a todos puedes vencer; pero no pretendas luchar con el hombre: te daría muerte y sin piedad, porque es cruel, más cruel que nosotros.
You can fight them all, and beat them all, but don't fight with Man: he will give you death and without pity, because he is cruel, the most cruel of all.

—¿Tan fuerte es el hombre?— preguntó el hijo.
How bouncing/strong is this man? asked the son.*

—No es fuerte, no —replicó el padre. —Y continuó diciendo: —De un latigazo de tu cola le podrías lanzar por los aires como al más miserable animalejo.
No-replied the father- it is not strong and continued speaking of a rotten lashing from a line of miserable animals hurled into the air.

*Andrea: El hucco is an old word, no longer commonly used. It shows up in a few obscure online texts from the Gutenberg Project, and it's translated as hollow, cavernous; subst. m., hollow, hole, niche, cavity, grave.

*Catherine is on the Pilgrimage to Compostela in Spain and so I'm translating her line for her now. She'll rejoin when she can.

*Meara: I used an on-line dictionary, word by word, and couldn't resist the fact that fuerte was defined as bouncing Or strong.

*Yoni: uhh-this could be the story but I think there are some errors. I couldn't find diciendo and animalejo in the dictionary for some reason. A little dictionary, a little improvisation, a little fantasia.

*Hannah: It's tough doing it word for word. Sorry it took so long I just didn't want to use the computer.