A Tiny Tale
In earlier times, a wolf, a fox and a hedgehog, these three, lived together.
Then one day, they found a single plum and when they discussed who should eat the tiny thing, the wolf said: “Whichever one of us gets drunk the easiest on arkhij, our schnaps made from milk, should ear it.” The other two agreed.
And so the wolf continued: “As soon as I taste arkhij, I’m drunk.”
And the fox said: “If I even smell it, I’m already drunk.”
The hedgehog meanwhile sat between them, swaying back and forth as if drunk, so people say. When the other two realized his state, they asked: “What is with you?”
“Oh, I’m drunk just from listening to you talk about arkhij. What have you been saying?” the hedgehog said swaying ever more dangerously from side to side. The hedgehog seemed the clear winner but just as he was about to eat the plum, the wolf interrupted by saying: “Let us make a race. Whichever one of us wins it, shall eat the plum.” Again the other two agreed.
When the started racing, the hedgehog hold onto the fox’s tail and when they approached the finish line, he swung himself over and – most unexpectedly won the race.
Copyright for translation and narration: TaleTellerin
Copyright for image: Albertus Seba’s illustration of a European hedgehog
This one not only strongly reminds of the tale of The Fox and the Wolf I have told you before, but also of the German (European?) tale of the race between hare and hedgehog.
But instead of musings about motifs and origins at length, today I’d like to share with you a peculiarity of the Mongolian language and my attempt to ‘transcreate’ it. In Mongolian you don’t say “fox and wolf” but “fox wolf two”. Or in this case, “wolf fox hedgehog three”. Now, how to translate this phrase without making it sound weird but still hinting at the special ways of the Mongolian language? I tried it with “a wolf, a fox and a hedgehog, these three”. What do you think? Useful translation without too much ‘transcreation’?