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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

Vectēvs mīlēja viens pats apkalpot savu bišu baznīcu, jo bites viņu mīlēja un padevās viņa rīcībā. Varbūt tas bija tāpēc, ka viņš pamazām tuvojās tam vecumam, kad cilvēku atstāj viss, kas nepatīkams viņa miesā un garā. Debess un gadu saules bija viņa stāvu izžāvējušas, padarot to līdzīgu ilgi un lēni kaltētam liepas kokam, no kā vecie latvieši taisīja savas skanīgās kokles. Jūnija mēnesī, kad bija spietošanas laiks, viņu arvien redzēja uz trepītēm pakāpušos rīkojamies ap kokiem, neapsegtu seju, ar dūlāgu rokā, un tur, lēni runādamies, viņš apvārdoja savas Dieva gotiņas. Neviena saime viņam neaizbēga, un ja kāda bērnus laižot taisījās uz laišanos, viņš to apmierināja, uzlaizdams tai ūdeni no šļīcenes, kas bija izmaukta no jaunas priedītes galotnes. Tā viņš tur kustējās balti balinātās pakulu biksēs, baltā atloku kreklā, siksnu apjozies, ar katru gadu vairāk līdzinādamies vecajam senču Dieviņam, zibinādams savas zem biezām uzacīm nogrimušās 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.