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Two Valdyan folk songs (was: Hildegard's List)

From:Irina Rempt <ira@...>
Date:Friday, March 26, 1999, 22:10
On Thu, 25 Mar 1999, Nik Taylor wrote:

> Irina Rempt wrote: > > > _nove_ "woman's breast", _inove_ "bosom" (there's also the poetic > > _isam_, meaning "two fruits") > > Interesting. "Two fruits" for "bosom"? I like that.
It actually comes from a little folk song, one of the very first things I wrote in Valdyan: Ni farean dorythe samea na pulay Ni salnea dorythe samea na pulay Ni parien dorythe brusean na brusay Ni lhaye, razie, isamea na trisay. Don't pick the fruit too green Don't pick the fruit too ripe Don't smoke the pipe too joyfully Don't wantonly, lad, steal the two fruits. It's meant as a jocular warning to a young man: all things in moderation, and hands off the girls until you're sure you mean it. _Brusen_ "pipe" and _brusa_ "to smoke" are derived from _brus_ "hemp", the only thing smoked in Valdyas until very recently when _faranre_ "herb-south", tobacco, was imported from overseas. Most people think _faranre_ is only fit to exterminate lice. _Lhaye_ literally means "left(-handed)" and is used to express something "not for real"; fiction is supposed to be written with the left hand, facts with the right, regardless of the actual handedness of the writer. The most famous book of folk tales, collected by King Vegelin the Great's historian Mailei Halla in her old age, is called _Mailei Hallei rainei lhayi gylsin_, "the Book of Halla's Left Hand". The form of the song is called _hanleni halsen_ "starlings' song", after a very old instance of the genre, generally thought to be the very first: Hanleni halsen varyenan laynat Daysinen verein idanla le listat Havien hinla laziena forat Culea rachleni arlea a chalat? The song of the starlings speaks of heroic deeds In the morning rain the heron does its laundry In the night the lark worships the stars Who sees the true nature of birds? When I published an article about this song in a a conculture magazine, I misspelled the first line as "... varsinen laynat", meaning "the song of the starlings says that I'm lying" :-) The lark traditionally doesn't sleep, but flies above the clouds at night. Its name _hinla_ means "high-bird". _Hanleni halsin_ tend to have a rather plaintive melody, in a minor key. It has four lines, usually rhyming aaaa, each with four feet; a foot consists of two or three syllables, at least one long and one short, at most two long and one short. All combinations of two or three long or short syllables within those limits are permitted. A syllable is long when it contains a diphthong or a long vowel (only in southern dialects; long vowels have been shortened or diphthongized everywhere except in the south) or a vowel followed by two or more consonants in the same word. The last syllable is usually unstressed; this is a result of the SOV-ness of Valdyan which makes the last word of a sentence usually a verb with an unstressed ending. This rhyme scheme might be very boring if it were not for the penultimate (stressed) syllables being different and livening it up. There is a song about King Vegelin the Great (Vegelin II, the greatest king in history) modelled on the _hanleni halsen_. It has a great many stanzas (and more are constantly being made up by the travelling players who use the song in the folk play "King Valain and the Witch", which is about the battle for the throne between the king and his sister-in-law) all ending with _duyen anin Valain tay valan_ "when our lord Valain was king"; _Valain_ is a "familiar" and slightly irreverent form of _Vegelin_, showing that the people who made the song really liked their king. Irina (mailing list address) (myself) (English) (Nederlands)