Friday, March 11, 2005

I've just started reading a book by Bashir Dalgat (1870-1934), "Pervobytnaya religiya chechentsev i ingushey" ("Ancient Religion of the Chechens and the Ingush"). One of the first works by the author was an 1892 translation into Russian of 12 folk songs in the Dargwa (Dargin), one of the languages spoken in Daghestan.

Here's one of these songs, which I wish I could listen to - not read in translation and then translate awkwardly myself. In the song, a young woman who just learned of her fiance's death, addresses the grave-diggers:

Do not dig a grave for my friend: I'll lay him into a silver coffin; but if you do make the grave, do not throw earth into it: I'll fill it with precious stones instead; and if you do throw the earth, do not put up a gravestone: I will stand facing the South in its place; but if you do erect the gravestone, then don't read the burial prayers: I'll sing love songs instead.

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