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Early Indo-European Texts

Latvian

Lilita Zalkalns and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Latvian with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Baltic Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Latvian language and its speakers' culture.

"Straumeni: The Story of an Old Farm in Zemgale through the Changing Seasons," by Edvarts Virza

Vecte'vs mi'le'ja viens pats apkalpot savu bis'u bazni'cu, jo bites vin'u mi'le'ja un padeva's vin'a ri'ci'ba'. Varbu't tas bija ta'pe'c, ka vin's' pamaza'm tuvoja's tam vecumam, kad cilve'ku atsta'j viss, kas nepati'kams vin'a miesa' un gara'. Debess un gadu saules bija vin'a sta'vu izz'a've'jus'as, padarot to li'dzi'gu ilgi un le'ni kalte'tam liepas kokam, no ka' vecie latvies'i taisi'ja savas skani'ga's kokles. Ju'nija me'nesi', kad bija spietos'anas laiks, vin'u arvien redze'ja uz trepi'te'm paka'pus'os ri'kojamies ap kokiem, neapsegtu seju, ar du'la'gu roka', un tur, le'ni runa'damies, vin's' apva'rdoja savas Dieva gotin'as. Neviena saime vin'am neaizbe'ga, un ja ka'da be'rnus laiz'ot taisi'ja's uz lais'anos, vin's' to apmierina'ja, uzlaizdams tai u'deni no s'l'i'cenes, kas bija izmaukta no jaunas priedi'tes galotnes. Ta' vin's' tur kuste'ja's balti balina'ta's pakulu bikse's, balta' atloku krekla', siksnu apjozies, ar katru gadu vaira'k li'dzina'damies vecajam senc'u Dievin'am, zibina'dams savas zem bieza'm uzaci'm nogrimus'a's acis.

Translation

Grandfather loved to attend to his bee church, by himself, because the bees loved him and yielded to his care. Perhaps this was so because he was gradually approaching the age when everything that is unpleasant to the body and spirit departs from a person. Over the years the heavens and the sun had dried out his body, making it like the slowly-cured wood of the linden tree, from which the ancient Latvians made their sonorous "kokles" [a traditional music instrument]. In June, when it was swarming season, he could always be seen standing on the step ladder, working among the trees, his face uncovered, holding a smoking branch, and there, talking softly, he would weave a spell on God's little creatures. Not a single bee colony ever escaped from him, and if a colony releasing its brood was preparing to fly away, he calmed it down by hosing it with water from a hose that was made from the top of a young pine tree. So he worked in bleached white coarse linen trousers, a white collared shirt, a belt around his waist, with every passing year becoming increasingly similar to the old God of his ancestors, his eyes flashing, sunk beneath his thick eyebrows.