Friday, September 20, 2013

Dārys Se Jaes

The King and the God

The King and the God is a short parable created by historical linguists in the 1990s in reconstructed Proto-Indo-European, in a fashion similar to Schleicher's famous fable: The Sheep and the Horses. This new one in particular is loosely based on a passage from the Rigveda, involving a king and the god Varuna. I thought this was such a good candidate to be translated into High Valyrian the language created by David J. Peterson for the HBO Game of Thrones series. It's short, it's concise, the sentences are simple and plain, plus I was excited to notice our current High Valyrian lexicon had almost all the entries to translate the parable.

So I decided to try my hand at it. This is the first final draft of the parable translated into High Valyrian with the invaluable help of my good friend and Editor, Mad Latinist, also responsible for this great blog with his insights and analyses on High Valyrian and Astapori Valyrian. Thanks!

Dārys Se Jaes

Dārys istas.[1][2] Riñosa mijetas.[2] Dārys trēsi jaeliles. "Trēsi yne tepō!"[3][4], zȳhot voktot jeptas.[5] "Rullori jaes rijībās"[6], voktys dārī ivestratas.[7] Dārys va Rullorī istas sesīr jaes rijīptas.[8] "Yne rȳbagās, Āeksios Rulloris!"[9], jaes Rullor hen perzȳ māstas.[10] "Skorion[11] jaelā?". "Trēsi jaelan". "Kesir[12] iksos[4]", jaes Rullor perzo vestras.[13] Dāria dārot trēsi teptas.

English translation of the High Valyrian:

The King and the God

There was a king. He had no child. The king wanted a son. He said to his priest: "Give me a son!". The priest said to the king: "Worship god R'hllor". The king went towards R'hllor and now worshiped the god: "Hear me, Lord R'hllor!", the god R'hllor came from the fire. "What do you want?". "I want a son". The god R'hllor of fire said: "May this be". The queen gave the king a son.

There are some differences to accommodate to the available vocabulary and the change from Varuna/Werunos to R'hllor, the only name of a god given so far. I guess it could also work as an example of the conversion to the R'hllorian cult. I can't resist pointing out that Stannis Baratheon also desires a son in the series. This has been a lot of fun and a good practice for the language which looks really cool, I hope the grammar is correct.

For more information about the fable and to hear an audio file of Andrew Byrd reciting it check: The King and the God parable.


[1] We have no word for "once" or the construction "there was", not to mention that there could even be a special construction for "there was once..." as in story-telling.
[2] Probably the verb should be in the Imperfect Active, but we don't know the forms for many verbs.
[3] There original has here: "May a son be born to me!", but we have no word for "to be born".
[4] I assumed the subjunctive can here be used as a jussive construction of the type "May-it-be".
[5] Is this the correct usage of the verb? How about the cases?
[6] We don't have a word for "pray" so I had to use the next best thing: worship, a well-attested verb. Is this the correct imperative?
[7] Again, is this the correct usage of the verb? Are the cases correctly used?
[8] Is this the correct form of the Perfect Active?
[9] Replaced "Father Werunos" with "Lord R'hllor" as we have no word for "father" and this seems more appropriate when talking of R'hllor.
[10] We have no word for "heaven", also it seems more likely that the God of Light, R'hllor, should appear from a fire, maybe one used to communicate with him as seen in the series.
[11] Is this the correct form and usage of "skorion" for "what"? We have at least two sentences attested using a form of the root skor-, "Skorion massitas?" 'What happened?', and also "Skoros otāpā?" 'What do you think?'. Although we have some theories about the difference in these two it is still uncertain what each one actually represents, as the sentences seem to share the same structure and role of "what".
[12] Is this the correct term for "this" used as a pronoun "May THIS be done"?
[13] Replaced "bright god" with "god R'hllor of fire", taking "of fire" as a kind of attribute similar to "jelmazmo".

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