Posted by: ayac | December 1, 2015

Aesop’s Fables 47: A Negro

Perry 393. For other Aesop’s fables see here.

This story works well in Nahuatl, because the word cahcatzactli means both ‘black’ and ‘dirty’.


Cetlacatl quimocohui cecahcatzactli; momatia[x?] çacantlaxic/cahualli ynic opochehuac, caye omalti ynompa / achto otetlayecolti. yehica quipehualti incahaltiaqui/pahpaca momuztlaye, Cenca qui[ma]matelohua, quitequi/xaqualohua yninacayo auh incahcatzactli aychueloqui/cauh ynicatzahuaca ynipochehuaca, çaycilhuice / ycpeuh ycmocohua, omic.

Yniçaçanilli techmachtia, caynquenami ceceyaca yyeliz yni/pantlacat; ayac huel oc centlamantli ypan quicuepiliz.

Cē  cahcatzac-tli.
one black-ABS
A negro.

Cē  tlāca-tl   qui-mo-cōhu-ih-Ø       cē  cahcatzac-tli.
one person-ABS 3sgO-3sgR-buy-APPL-PST one dirty-ABS
A man bought himself a negro.

mo-mati-ya     zā   cān   tlaxiccāhual-li in=īc       ō=pōch-ēhua-c.
3sgR-know-IMPF just where neglected-ABS   SUB=thereby PST=get_smoky-PST
He wondered if he was just covered in smoke from neglect.

Ca  ye      ō=m-āltih-Ø        in  ōmpa  achto ō=tē-tlayecoltih-Ø,
IND already PST=3sgR-bathe-PST SUB there first PST=someone-serve-PST
[But actually] he had already bathed where he first served.

Yehīca qui-pēhua-ltih-Ø    in  c-ahāltia  qui-pahpāca mōmōztlayeh,
since  3sgO-begin-CAUS-PST SUB 3sgO-bathe 3sgO-wash   every_day
Since he began to bathe and wash him every day,

cencah qui-mamateloa qui-tequi-xacualoa in  ī-naca-yō.
very   3sgO-bruise   3sgO-work-rub      SUB 3sgP-flesh-ness
he bruised and excessively scrubbed his body.

Auh in  cahcatzac-tli a-īc     huel ō=qui-cāuh-Ø       in  ī-catzahuaca   in  ī-pōchēhuaca.
and SUB black-ABS     not-when ably PST=3sgO-leave-PST SUB 3sgP-blackness SUB 3sgP-smokiness
But the negro could never lose his blackness, his smokiness.

Ça   īc      ilhuiceh  īc      pēuh-Ø    īc      mo-cocoa;
just thereby much_more thereby begin-PST thereby 3sgR-hurt
He just started to get sicker and sicker,

[until] he died.

In  ī[n] çaçanil-li tēch-mach-tia:
SUB this fable-ABS  1plO-know-CAUS
This fable teaches us:

Ca  in  quēnamih ceceyaca ī-yeliz    in  ī-pan   tlācat-Ø
IND SUB how      each     3sgP-being SUB 3sgP-on be_born-PST
The way each person is, which they are born into,

ay-āc   huel oc=cen-tlaman-tli        ī-pan   qui-cuep-ili-z.
not-who ably still=one-flat_thing-ABS 3sgP-on 3sgO-change-APPL-FUT
nobody can change into something else.

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