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Stories from Quechan Oral Literature

 | 
A. M Halpern
, 
Amy Miller

1. The Man Who Bothered Ants

Jessie Webb Escalante
Traduction de Barbara Levy, George Bryant et Amy Miller

Texte intégral

Notes and synopsis

1This story was told to Abe Halpern by Jessie Webb Escalante on April 22, 1980. Halpern later reviewed his transcript of the story with Ernest Cachora.

2The main character in this story is a person who has a habit of annoying ants by poking their nest with a stick. Eventually an angry ant pulls both the man and his horse into the nest. Man and horse are held captive for such a long time that the manʹs family and friends begin to mourn his death. Finally, the man and his horse are released and return home. The horse, once pure white, is now covered with red spots which are the handprints of ants.

3In some ways, this is a simple story explaining a fact of nature: how the appaloosa got his spots. At a deeper level, however, the story is revealing about Quechan literature, culture, and worldview. It takes place at the beginning of time, and its characters are among the First People. It features a theme favored in Quechan oral literature: the main characterʹs love of his home and people. No explanation is given for the manʹs behavior, and none is needed: in Quechan culture, people are the way they are, and others around them accept this. In the end, the man understands that what has happened to him is the consequence of his own actions.

The Man Who Bothered Ants

4Told by Jessie Webb Escalante

5Pa'iipáats suuváat.
Pa'iipáats nyaváyk suuváa.

6Pa'iipáats 'atáyk nyaváyk viivák,
athúus
athótk
aváts' ashéntək alyuuváapətəka.
Tsam'athúlyəm éevtək uuváat.

7'Anyáayk viithíim,
amanək,
tsam'athúly nyaványa,
tsam'athúly kéek a'ét.
'Anyétsəts nyuu'ítsk.

8Tsam'athúly kéek uuváak.
Nyaványa ka'ák viiwáam
uukakyáav.

9Awétk uuváat.

10Nyáavəm éevtək,
'ashéntək alyuuváak awétk uuváa.

11Tsam'athúly 'avá xalykwáak awétk,
uuváat.

12Vuuváam,
uuyóov va'árək,
tsam'athúlyavats,
uuyóovk vuunóotsáa,
nyamuuév aly'émətək vuunóo.

13Vuunóom,
vuuváatk,
vatháts,
'anyáa atspák viithíim,
nyáanyəm éevtək,
nyáanyəm éevtək uuváat.

14Uuyóovt,
avuuváak,
nyáavəts,
'axátt-ts siiv'áwəm,
atháwk alyvák viiyáa.

15Makyéely aakwíink aváatk a'étk athúm.

16Xátt xamáaly nyiipáq kwa'ítsənyts.

17Uuváak,
kór alynyaayémək uuváa.

18Nyaawínyəm'áshk viiyáak.

19Viiyáaxáyəm,
tsam'athúlyənyts atspákəta.
Ayúutka.

20Siiv'áwt.
Aváts 'axáttəny alyta'ór alyaskyíik a'éxaym,
nyiiv'áwtk viiv'áwt.

21“Móo,
maapa'iipáa,
máanyts mawíi va'árək viimuuváak,
ammawíim,
'ayúutk 'awétkítya,”
a'íi,
a'ávəks,
a'étk uu'áv lyavíitəm,
a'ávək siiv'áw.

22Kórəly nyaa'ím,
'axáttəny ayáak nyiktaxpályk,
nyavály alyaakxávət.
Tsam'athúly nyavály alyaakxávək,
iiwáa.

23Nyaaiiwáamk,
vanyaawáam,
'avá alyaakxáva.
'Amátt maxák aakxávətəm.
Nyaváyapátk siivák athúm,
alyaakxáv.

24Ayúutk siiv'áwət.
'Amáttənyts 'axwétt-tək.
Pa'iipáavəts 'axwétt-tək athótəm,
ayúutk siiv'áw.

25Pa'iipáats athót,
'axwéttk,
pa'iipáanyanyts.

26Athúm,
pa'iipáanyts vaathíik apák,
'axáttəny uuyóovək vuuv'ótsk,
séx a'étk vuuv'ótst.

27'Axáttənyts xamáaly nyiipáq a'étum.

28Viithíik,
'axáttəny apásk a'áv.

29'Axátt-ts athótəm ayúutk,
apásk a'ávək a'étk uuváat.
Tsam'athúly 'ashéntəts nyiivapáay.

30Iisháalya —
athúts,
nyiitsáam.

31Axtátt nyiitsáam,
sharéq,
avík atsáam,
awím,
awétk suuváat.

32Suuváam,
vatháts ayúuk suuváa.
'Amáttəvats xáam athúum ayúuk suuváatk,
amétk suuváat,
kaathóm takuuvékxats athúulyemtəm.

33Suuváam,
pa'iipáanyənyts shataméevək vuunóok.

34“Pa'iipáanyts kaathómtan 'anyéwk athómúm?”
a'étk vuunóo.

35Uuyóov alyém,
shatmatháav.

36“Apúykəm athótkitya,”
a'étk vuunóo.

37Matsats'étk vuunóot.
Apúyk a'étk awítya.
Matsats'íi vuunóo.

38Vuunóok,
kór alynyaayéməm,
pa'iipáats 'atáytan mattaaévk,
matsats'íim viitháwk,
níimtək viitháw.

39“Móo,
nyamáam,
apúytək athútya,”
a'ét.
“Kaathómək uuváaxats athúulyəmk,”
a'étk viitíiv.

40'Anyáats vanyaathík,
kór alynyaayémk,
vanyaatháwəm,
takavék —
uukavék.
Tsam'athúlyənyts atháwk uukavék.

41“Móo,
nyamáam.
Kayémk,” a'ét.

42Uukavék vuuthíik,
nyavány 'avuuyáanyəm shapíittk awét.

43Atspákt.
'Axáttəny uunaxwíly alyaskyíik atspákt.

44Atspák,
avathíim.
'axáttənya
tsam'athúly nyiisháalya nyiitháawətk,
'axwéttk,
'axwéttk athót,
xamáalyətk 'axwétt.

45Takavék viithíit.

46Vatháts apúyk a'étk athúm,
nyaashtamatháavk viitíivt.
Viitíivxayəm,
nyiiv'áw a'ét.

47“Ta'axánək athúuk kaathúu?” aaly'étk,
ayóovxayəm,
ta'axánək —
aváamək athót!

48Ayóovət,
matsats'étk siitháw.

49'Axáttəny láw a'ím ayúuxayəm;
'axwéttk,
iisháalya nyiitháaw,
'axwéttk,
'axwéttk a'ét.
Ayúutk viiv'áw.

50Anák,
mattkanáavək vuunóot.

51Vatháts pa'iipáava xalykwáak vuunóok,
aaéevək vuunóok.
'Atáytank viivám,
nyuukanáavək vuunóot.

52“'Anyáats 'athúu 'ayáaxayəm,
tsam'athúlyəm 'éevək 'uuváam,
vanyawítsəm 'athúum nya'thúuva,” a'í.
'Atsuuyúuny kanáavək vuunóot.

53'Axáttəny atháw,
tasháttk uuyóovək vuunóot.

54'Axwéttk.

55Axtátt nyiitháaw,
'axwéttk athót,
iisháalyənyts.

56Athúum,
uuyóovək vuunóo.

57Móo,
nyamáam.
Takavék aváak a'étk.

58Vuunóok athúuk a'étk,
nyaamáam.
Apáyəx.

Translation

59Someone was over there.
Someone was living over there.

60A lot of people were living here,
but
it happened
that this (person) was the only one (who did it ).
He bothered ants.

61When the sun came up,
he got up,
and as for the ants’ nest,
he was going to stir up the ants.
We say that.

62He went about stirring up the ants.
He went along kicking their nest,
going all around it.

63That’s what he was doing.

64He bothered these (ants ),
and he was the only one who did.

65He looked for ants’ nests, and so,
there he was.

66Here he was,
and they always watched him,
those ants,
they watched him, but
they didn’t bother him.

67Here they were,
and here he was,
this (person),
and the sun came up,
and he bothered them,
he kept on bothering them.

68They watched him,
and there he was,
this (person),
and there was a horse over there,
and he took it and went riding on it.

69He was planning to turn around somewhere and come back.

70It was a pure white horse.

71There he was,
he was there for a long time.

72He went along doing it once again.

73He went along, and suddenly,
an ant came out, they say.
And he saw him.

74He stood there.
This (man) was still on top of the horse, and suddenly
(the ant) was standing there.

75“Okay,
you person,
you are the one who is always doing that,
that’s what you do,
I’ve seen it,”
he said,
and (the man) heard it, or
he heard something like that,
and he stood there listening.

76After a while,
(the ant) went after the horse and pulled him,
and he took them into the nest.
He took them into the ants’ nest,
all by himself.

77All by himself,
he took them away,
and he brought them into the nest.
He took them under the ground.
(Other ants) were living there too, and so,
he took them in.

78(The man) stood there looking.
The ground was red.
The (ant) people were red, and so,
he stood there looking.

79They were people,
and they were red,
those people (were).

80So,
those (ant) people came,
and they stood there looking at the horse,
they stood there in a crowd.

81The horse was pure white.

82(One of them) came,
and he touched the horse with the palm of his hand.

83He saw that it was a horse,
and he wanted to touch it.
One of the ants leaned on it.

84His hands —
he did it,
he put them down there.

85He put them down on the (horse’s) back,
he took hold of him,
he put (his hands) down there,
and so,
he went about doing it.

86There he was,
and this (man) was watching.
He saw that the place was different,
and he was weeping,
(because) there was no way he could return.

87There he was,
and the people (back home) were missing him.

88“How could that person have disappeared?”
they were saying.

89They didn’t see him,
and they didn’t know what had happened to him.

90“It must be that he has died,”
they were saying.

91They were weeping.
They thought he was dead.
They were weeping.

92There they were.
and after a while,
a lot of people got together,
and they were weeping,
and they got through it.

93“Okay,
that’s all,
he is dead,”
they said.
“There’s no way he will be here again,”
they were saying.

94Time lay here,
a long time passed,
and while they were there,
he came back —
they brought him back.
The ants took him and brought him back.

95“Okay,
that’s all.
Go on back,” they said.

96They brought him back,
and they closed the door of their house.

97He reappeared.
Still leading the horse, he reappeared.

98He reappeared,
he came (back ),
and as for the horse,
the ants’ handprints were here and there on his back,
and they were red,
they were red, and so,
(the horse) was white and red.

99He came back.

100They thought he was dead, and so,
they sat here without recognizing him.
They sat here, and suddenly
he was standing there.

101“Could it really be him?” they wondered,
and they looked, and suddenly
it really was him —
he was back!

102They looked at him,
and they were weeping.

103They turned their heads and looked at the horse;
they were red,
the handprints were here and there,
and they were red,
they were red, they say.
(The people) stood there looking.

104He sat down,
and he went about telling his story.

105This one went looking for people,
and he gathered them together.
A lot (of people) were here,
and (the man) went about telling them.

106“I went along doing (that),
I bothered ants,
and this is what they did to me,” he said.
He went about explaining what he had seen.

107They took the horse,
they stood it there and looked it over.

108It was (marked with) red.

109They were here and there on its back,
and they were red,
the handprints.

110So,
they were looking at it.

111Well,
that’s all.
He came back, they say.

112Here they were, and so,
that’s all.
That will be the end.

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