Posted by: ayac | September 19, 2014

Aesop’s Fables 1: The Goat and the Coyote

This is the first fable in the manuscript, a translation of The Fox and the Goat (Perry 9). If I’m right about the version of the fables used as a source, that means the translators chose to skip over three fables that would have come before it: The Eagle and the Fox (Perry 1), The Eagle and the Beetle (Perry 3), and The Nightingale and the Hawk (Perry 4). There’s also no Nahuatl translation of the Life of Aesop either.

The use of “coyote” for “fox” is not necessarily a conscious attempt to adapt the story to the New World. Coyotes at the time were apparently considered to be a kind of fox, and likewise Nahuas may have imagined that the European foxes they’d heard about were a kind of coyote. (The are also actual foxes in Mexico, which are called oztohua in Nahuatl.)

Nahuatl text:

¶ Quaquauh tentzone yhuan coyotl .

Ynquaquauhtentzone yhuan coyotl yniquac yetenian[?] amiqui , / cecni atlacomolco oncholoque auhyniquac opachiuhque atli : in / tentzone niman yenoyampa tlahtlachia , quitemohua yncampa / huelquiçazque , Auh incoyotl quilhui . macamoximotequipacho : ca / oniquittac yntleynticchihuazque ynichueltiquiçazque cayn tlatimo / tlamelauh caquetzaz , yhuan ynmoma caltech ticmahma naz yhuan / in motzonteco ticacocuiz ynichuelmicampa huêhuetztoz moquaquauh / innehuatl niman mocuitlapan nomtlêcoz ynichuelnomquiçaz atla / comolco : auh yniquac oniquiz niman nimitzhualanaz . auh inten / tzone yniquac oquihuelcac ytlahtol coyotl , niman quitlaca / ma ypan hualquiz incoyotl . auh ynoquicaco: niman ye atlacomol / tenco yca huetzcatinemi . auh yntentzone cenca oquitlahuelchiuh / ynitecanecayahualiz coyotl. auh incoyotl quilhui yntentzone . Nocnihue yntlayz quitetl yenimoyollo , yniz quima nimoten / tzo : ocachtotictemozquia yncanin huel tihualquizaz ynayamoton / cholohua atlacomolco.

ynin çaçanillahtolli yctimachtilo ynquenin huel achto monequi / ticnemilizque yntlein ticchihuaznequi : ynic ahmo çatepan ypan / tihuetzizque ynahnezcaliliztli , xolopiyotl.

Preliminary English translation:

¶ The Goat and the Coyote.

A goat and a coyote, being thisty, jumped into a well. And once they had satisfied their thirst, the goat looked all around; he searched for a way that they could get out. The coyote said to him, “Don’t worry.  I saw what we’ll do so we can get out. If you stand up straight, and put your hands against the wall, and raise your head up so that your horns can fall behind you, then I will climb onto your back so that I can get out of the well. And once I’ve gotten out, I’ll get you out.”  And the goat, having accepted what the coyote said, obeyed; the coyote got out because of him. And after climbing up, he walked around the outside of the well laughing at him. And the goat became very angry at the coyote’s trickery. And the coyote said to the goat, “My friend, if I were as smart as you, I’d be as bearded!” You should have first looked for a way you can get out before you jumped in the well.

Through this fable we are taught how it is necessary that we first consider what we want to do, so that we don’t subsequently fall into foolishness, stupidity.


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