Harry Terhanian.com

Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • sireleen guh hanteemaneh

    This is a paraphrase of a biblical statement that follows:

    For whom the LORD loves He reproves,
    Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
    ( How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
    And the man who gains understanding. )

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  • mahrt yehrp yerchaneek guhlah - yehrp vor chee pakhcheer kordzeh

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  • guhngahn fehluh pahrtzur yen sehluh

    There is a story entitled “May God protect us” that illustrates this proverb.

    One day a man sat outside the entrance of his friend’s store. An old beggar woman approached this man and stretched her hand to beg from him.
    “May God protect you from the deceits perpetrated by women,” she said. “Now give me some money.” The man looked at the beggar women with disdain and said, “Go about your business old woman. What power do women have that they can even think of doing harm with their evil designs?”

    Just then an attractive, respectable woman walked by and heard the exchange between the old woman and the man. When she walked past the man, she looked at him and aknowleged him by signaling to him with her eyes to follow her. The man was bewitched by the youthful glance and stunning beauty of the woman. He stood up and followed her to a side street that was deserted. The woman turned and spoke to the man.

    “I am confident you understand why I signaled to you with my eyes. I’m attracted to you. Here, take this money and fetch a roasted chicken and some other delicious preparations for a dinner. I’ll wait for you here and come back quickly so we can go to my house and have a good time tonight. My husband is not at home tonight. He went to a far off village for the night.

    The man took the money and following the woman’s instructions purchased a roasted hen and other delicious preparations. On his return, they proceed to her house and entered.

    The woman set the table with a clean linen cloth and they sat together and engaged each other in intimate small talk as they leisurely ate and drank.
    Suddenly they heard someone opening the front door.

    The woman addressed her guest, “Quickly, climb into this big chest, it is my husband.” When he stepped into the chest, she closed the lid and locked it and hid the key in her pocket. She composed herself as if nothing had happened as her husband entered the dining room.

    The husband noticed that the table was set for two with plenty of food that seemed to be half eaten. Not doubting the faithfulness of his wife, he passingly remarked to his wife, “How is it that you are all alone and yet have set a table for two with such abundance of tasty roast chicken and other savory treats and are eating by yourself.

    His wife replied, ” First sit down and let’s have a kind of “wishbone contest” in the following way. If you can tell me a tall tale and fool me, I’ll buy you a bundle of white underpants. If I succeed in tricking you , you buy me a nice necklace.”

    “Your on,” said the husband. The wife began to recount her “tall tale” to fool her husband.

    “I was doing my shopping in the market today when I saw a beggar woman ask a young man for ten coins. The beggar said to the man, “May God protect you from a woman’s evil ways.” The young man replied, “What power do women have that they can even think of doing harm with their evil designs?” Hearing the young man’s words, I decided to teach him a lesson. As I walked by him, I made eye contact with him and made him understand that I was interested in him. He followed me. I turned to him and gave him some money to buy the foodstuff that you see on the table.
    We came home together and sat down at this table. We were eating and drinking and warming up to each other when you knocked on the door.”

    The husband jumps up in disgust and yells, “What the hell are you saying you conniving woman.” You dare to tell me a tall tale like this, I expect better from you.”

    “Wait, I am not finished,” said the wife. “When you knocked on the door, I was so frightened that I pleaded with my male guest to hide in this big chest.”

    “What more nonsense are you babbling, you…”

    “If you don’t believe me, here, take the key, open the chest and look for yourself,” said the wife as she handed him the key. The husband’s heart began to miss a few beats. His honor was wounded. He was visibly shaken and instinctively took the key from his wife’s hand.

    “I won,” said the wife almost faint with glee. “I gotcha.”

    “Oh my God,” you naughty woman, God……,” said the jaded husband. “Just to get a necklace from me you made up this tasteless game. You spent money, set the table, and fabricated this phony story and “wishbone contest” to make a fool of me. ” He threw the key at his wife and left the house disheartened.

    The wife opened the chest to let the young man out. He was in a frightful condition from the woman’s machinations. She said, “Get on your way, young man. Now you can understand what a woman is, and what she is capable of if she puts her mind to it.” Never forget what the beggar woman told you about the wiles of women. The machinations of women are so great that even a powerful cart pulled by burly oxes cannot bear the weight.”

    The young man learned his lesson from the unexpected and amazingly engineered ploy of the woman. At the same time, he was in awe of the woman’s moral high ground. He left as fast as he could run.

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  • kuhrvadzuh cahvreer, chee kuhrvadzuh yerpeck chee gahdahvreer

    What is written will never be destroyed (or changed) and what is not written will never take place( or happen).
    One can never exact taxes from the sun for passing over a country.

    There is an old Armenian story about fate that explains this proverb.

    There was a king who may have been or may not have been.

    This king had an only child, a wonderful daughter, who he loved dearly.
    One day the king addressed his vizier (or personal adviser}, “Make all necessary preparations
    so that you and I can roam disguised in the pleasant pastures for two days to relax.” The vizier
    arranged all the preparations. The vizier and the king dressed as merchants traveled away from the capital city
    for two days and arrived in beautiful park like country spot.

    After two days of enjoying the scenic pastoral sights, they began their journey back. They met a mendicant dervish.
    They greeted him with respect, parev-ahsduhdzoh pareen hello, May God bless you. Then the king and the dervish had the following discussion.
    “What are you doing on this path, dervish baba ( dervish father)”, said the king.
    “I am a fortune telling dervish. I am foretelling the future for the travelers I encounter”, said the dervish.
    “Can you tell me what my fate is”, said the king.
    “Why not, my Lord”, said the dervish.
    “How did you find out that I am the king.”
    “God told me that you are the king of this country and traveling with you is your vizer”, said the dervish.
    “Very good,” said the king, “How many children do I have?”
    “One daughter, you do not have any other children, and you are a very nice person.”
    “Very good, now tell me, who will marry my daughter?”, asked the king.
    Your most trustworthy servant who is a black Arab! Many prominent high class youths have asked for the hand of your daughter, but you have not been impressed by any of them, because the black servant is destined to marry your daughter.”

    The king stopped asking any further questions and seemed to become pensive, but without revealing his troubled mind. He politely offered a gift to the dervish, who refused and commented: “My gift will be your well being, My Lord.” God will look out for me.”

    The next day when the king and his vizier returned to the palace, the king ordered his vizier to not reveal the dervish’s prophecy to anyone. The king and the vizier began to consult and plan head to head how they would find a pretext to send the black servant away for good without resorting to murdering him.

    It was providential that the king could not imagine putting to death his black servant, who served him so faithfully for so many years, without having a very serious reason. Yet, he could not accept what he considered the dervish’s vile prophecy for his daughter. The king and the vizier
    agreed on a plan to send the black servant on such an impossible mission that he would not be able to return alive. They devised a plan to send him to meet the sun and demand that the sun pay a tax to cross over the king’s kingdom. The king and his vizier were certain that the servant would never return from such an impossible task. The king would then be free to choose the future husband of his preference for his daughter.

    The next day, the vizier called the black servant to his quarters and communicated the king’s order. The servant was ordered by the king to find the spot where and the exact time when the sun rises. The black servant was commanded to demand the sun to pay a daily tax for crossing over the sky that overlooked the king’s kingdom.

    “I accept as my duty and destiny (kuhloughus vrai – which literally means in Armenian “on my head”) the order of my most esteemed king,” said the black servant.

    “My son,” continued the vizier, “the king puts at your disposal the best horse available in the palace stable along with a saddle bag full of gold coins to cover your travel expenses. The king will allow you six months time to accomplish the task. However, be aware that if you fail to exact a tax for passage from the sun, the king will have you beheaded on your return.”

    “My most esteemed king’s will is my duty and destiny,” repeated the servant for a second time. He immediately began to prepare himself and set out on his impossible task the next day.

    He went far and wide ( shad knatz, keetch kehnatz which literally means he went far, and didn’t go far), going over mountains and through valleys, the servant finally found himself in a deserted pasture where he espied a vast troupe of wild horses who were grazing freely without (without any human supervision – the Armenian says undehr or undehragan meaning literally no master and no supervisor) without a human trainer or troupe master. The trustworthy servant was amazed by this extraordinary find but didn’t waver or slow down his gait nor did he take too much interest in the horses because he had his inalienable duty to perform for the king. He continued his journey.

    He went far and didn’t go far (shad knatz, keetch kenatz), suddenly two small lakes appeared before his eyes. He saw a flock of black birds enter one lake and became all white like snow, then they entered the other lake and became black like amber.

    Seeing this, the black servant said to himself, “Let me also try and test the power of these two lake waters. Perhaps my black skin can also become white.” He remembered God by saying, “In the name of the almighty God the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit,” he immersed his hands in the lake that whitened the birds. He was amazed to see that his hands became white. He pulled his horse into the water so that his legs were immersed and he saw the horse’s legs whiten like snow. Next, he took off all his clothes except his leather belt which he tightened around his waist and again praised God: “In the name of the almighty God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” He completely immersed himself into the miraculous water and saw that from his feet to his head his entire body became white. Coming out of the lake, he unloosened his belt and saw that that the skin under the belt remained black. He began to smile happily and said to himself, “This is great. When I return to the palace I can prove my original identity to the king who might otherwise doubt that I am his faithful servant. Saying this, he again praised God for permitting him to change the color of his skin. He now continued his journey.

    His went little and he went far, he espied a very large mountain in the distance. “That must be the place from which the sun rises,” he thought to himself. Again he praised God for permitting him to find his journey’s goal. He came to the base of the mountain and started to ride up it. He rode
    up the mountain on his horse until the approach of night and saw a small hut. He heard a voice speaking to him, “Son of man, come here.” He approached the direction of the voice and found a blind man in the hut. After saying hello, the blind man asked him, “Why have you come to this place?” The king’s servant answered his query by explaining his mission which was to exact a tax from the sun.

    “Very good,” said the blind man, “It is good you found me.” “This is indeed the place from which the sun rises on its journey everyday. I will now explain to you the only way by which you can speak to the sun. On the summit of this mountain is a vast cliff with a hole-like cave. That hole is the only refuge from which those who desire to converse with the sun can protect themselves from the scorching rays of the sun when it rises up. Very early in the morning before the sunrise, you must find that hole and wait there until the sun rises and ascend the heavens enough for its burning rays to lessen their intensity. Only at that time can you exit from your safe haven and call out loudly to the sun to hear you. If you don’t do as I say you will burn and turn to ashes because the sun’s rays at that time are so intense that they nearly turn everything into molten lava. Do you understand me?”

    “Yes sir,” said the servant.

    “Go now and take rest. When the time comes for you to wake up, I will call you. But wait a minute, I also have a wish to beg from you. When you speak with the sun, ask him why he blinded my eyes. Beg the sun to heal my eyes, please.”

    “Very well, I promise,” said the servant.

    “Then good night, rest yourself. I will call you to awaken at the right time.”

    Very early the next morning before sunrise, the blind man wakened the servant, who began his climb to the summit. He reached the cliff and found the cave which he entered. He could feel the heat of the approaching sun increase in intensity. Squeezed into the tight cave, he waited patiently until the mighty sun rose up into the heavens. He gradually felt the intense heat of the sun diminish enough that he would not burn to death. He climbed out of the cave and stood up on the cliff and began to call out loudly.

    “My lord sun, my king has sent me to collect from you the right of passage tax.”

    The sun answered.

    “My son, go and tell your king, “what is written can never be destroyed, and what is not written can never be accomplished,
    therefore, you can never collect a right of passage tax from the sun.”

    The helpless servant reiterated his request. The sun repeated his response.

    The servant repeated his request a third time and added, “If I return without collecting the right of passage tax from you, my most noble king will sever my head off.

    The sun repeated his response again for the third time and advised him, ” You return and tell the king what I have said. He cannot harm you be cause his entire kingdom and wealth will be inherited by you, my dear boy.”

    Being encouraged by the sun’s authoritative and explicit statement, the servant said:
    “Therefore, I have two more requests of you: First, during my journey here I encountered a seemingly unlimited number of wild horses in a vast pasture, please tell me who owns those horses.”

    The sun answered, “When you reach those horses on your return journey, rope one of those valuable wild horses and tie him to your horse. All the other wild horses will follow the roped horse and will make the journey with you back to the kingdom.”

    “My second request is on behalf of a blind man living in a small hut on one side of this mountain who begs you to confer on him a medicinal cure for his blindness, Oh Lord sun.”

    “Yes, I know, ” said the sun. “On awakening every morning from his bed that shameless man faces me and relieves his body’s wastes. For that reason I have punished him by blinding his eyes. If he can discipline himself to stop disrespecting me in such a disgusting manner, then quickly I will heal his blindness and end his suffering.”

    “I thank you very much, My Lord Sun.”

    “May you go in peace and experience only goodness, my son.”

    Returning to the blind man, the servant explained the cause of his blindness and the promise of the sun to heal him if he stops his shameless behavior toward the sun. The blind man came to his senses and promised by falling on his knees to beg forgiveness and from that moment on
    to act most respectfully in the presence of the sun.

    Without losing a second the servant jumped back on his horse and prompted the animal to gallop at full speed toward the kingdom. On reaching the vast pasture where the unlimited number of valuable horses were grazing, the servant descended from his horse. Following the advice of the sun, the boy roped one of the wild horses and tied him to his horse. He mounted his horse and proceeded on his journey. All the herd of wild horses followed him.

    While the servant journeys back, let us return to the palace of the king.

    Five months had passed since the king sent his servant on the impossible mission. The king and his vizier were confident that the servant would not return. The many noble and princely suitors who vied to win the hand of the king’s daughter were delayed in their attempts because the king , as are all noble rulers, felt bound by the spoken prophecy (of the dervish) to wait until the end of the six month period he set for his loyal servant to return.

    With only three days remaining until the end of the six month period, the king and his vizier decided to mount as watchmen on the palace roof and carefully observe the direction the servant had departed toward (and from where he would most probably return). On the last day of the designated period, before noon, the king noticed a dust like cloud rising from the distant fog. He offered his binoculars to his vizier and said: “Vizier, I am observing a dust cloud rising up to the sky in the direction from where the servant should return. You take a look and verify you see the same thing too.” With undivided attention the vizier methodically examined the cloud of dust and noticed the cause of the dust was a vast herd of horses that were fast approaching the palace. The vizier said: “My dear King, I see a large number of horses with only one lone horseman.” The king took back the binoculars and verified the vizier’s observation. He looked at the vizier and said: ‘Vizier, the horseman does not seem to be a ordinary person. He is probably a man of noble birth or a prince. He will probably want to stay as a guest in our palace. We must welcome him in a fitting manner.”

    The vizier immediately summoned an experienced horseman mounted on a fast horse and dispatched him as a messenger to find out the identity of the vast horse herd’s master. He asked the messenger to report back from where the herdsman has come, where he plans to travel next and why he has come to his noble king’s country.

    The messenger quickly approached the lone horseman and received the following answers to the king’s questions. The lone horseman said that he was proceeding directly to the king’s palace. He wanted to personally explain to the king his identity and purpose.

    On returning to the palace, the messenger related the answer (to the questions of the vizier) of the person who was directing the vast herd of horses (fast approaching the palace). Quickly the vizier organized a welcome party of military horsemen to greet the honored guest at main entrance of the royal city and escort him respectfully to the palace.

    The vast number of horses that were following the lone horseman were barely sheltered in all the stables of the palace and throughout the royal city. The horse that the honored guest was riding was quartered in the private and exclusive stable reserved only for the noble king’s precious horses.

    Without losing a second the honored guest who was in reality the loyal servant of the king was directed into the reception hall of the palace that was reserved for kings, princes and emperors. A large number of servants began to cater to the personal needs of the honored guest. Meanwhile, the king and his vizier met privately to determine how to broach the question of the stranger’s identity. The king’s stable chamberlain approached and motioned to the vizier to speak privately. He began to whisper into the ear of the vizier about what he considered extraordinary things he witnessed. He explained that the honored guest horse appeared to be the same horse that was given to the king’s loyal servant, but with one difference: the horse’s hooves were very beautiful and his legs from the thighs upward were black and below the knees white. The horse also seemed to be very familiar with the palace’s surroundings and the horse was able to find the king’s stables without any guidance and entered his original stable.

    The king was insistent to know what the chamberlain reported. The vizier related what he heard and both he and the king were amazed. They were, however, rushed and turned their attention again to determining what timing would be appropriate to ask their guest to explain his identity. They decided to ask him after his dinner.

    The mysterious guest had some light refreshment alone. He was impatient and reflected that he was a man facing death because he returned to his noble king without having secured the right of passage tax from the sun as he promised the king. He thought that when he presented to the king the gift of the horses, it could also prompt the king to ask him to reveal his identity. The revelation of his identity could make his destiny worse because the king could order his execution immediately without hearing his explanations or his apologies. The loyal servant was not sure what to do. He became resigned to accept his fate.

    When dinner time arrived, the king, the vizier and the honored guest sat together with the palace guests and dined. After dinner, they went to the royal reception hall where the king addressed the honored guest with respect and royal protocol. “You are our honored guest. We humbly request you to stay in the royal palace as long as you desire or as long as your schedule permits you. It is appropriate that we become well acquainted with each other. Can you please explain about yourself and the purpose of your visit.”

    The guest was anticipating the king’s question, yet he was still somewhat distressed by it. He masked his alarm and requested that only the king and his vizier hear about his identity.

    All the other guests left the royal assembly hall. When the three were alone, the loyal servant prostrated himself before the noble king and embraced his feet and spoke the following:

    “I am the worthless black servant of my noble king and am destined to be executed because I was not able to satisfy the order of my noble king.
    I was not able to exact a right of passage tax from the sun. However, I beg you to allow me to explain my story. I know very well that my head will be severed for not satisfying your order, but I did not want to run away from my fate. I could have easily run away and enjoyed the incredible wealth accrued by owning the vast herd of wild horses that I could have taken to a foreign country and sought shelter there. I chose rather to be executed by my own king than live under the protection of an unknown king. The loyal servant then began his narration about how he encountered the enormous herd of horses grazing in the wild without any master or herdsman. He told how he was not interested in them and continued his journey. He next related his discovery of the contiguous small lakes in which he witnessed how small birds were transformed in color from black to white by entering one lake and black again by entering the other lake. He tested the lake water by immersing his hands first and then the feet of his horse. Seeing the transformation of color, he immersed his whole body after tying a tight belt around his waist so that he could prove that he was indeed the same person whose body changed from black to white. He then asked permission to take off his shirt and show the king and the vizier the part of his waist that was still his original black color.

    The king and the vizier looked at each other and with facial expressions and raising of their eyebrows they signaled each other while they listened and gradually their countenances revealed their utter stupefaction resulting from the servant’s narration. They did not interrupt the servant’s recounting of his adventures.

    The loyal servant explained how after changing the color of his skin he continued his journey. Next, he encountered the blind man who made him promise to ask the sun why he was blinded. The blind man instructed the servant how to avoid being burned by the sun’s scorching rays. Finally,
    he retold the conversation he had with the sun and how he demanded the sun to pay a tax and how he repeated it. The sun repeatedly refused to comply and stated authoritatively,” What is written can never be destroyed (or changed), what is not written can never be accomplished, and a tax on the sun’s passage can never be collected.”

    The loyal servant deftly cut short his narration to not reveal his complaint to the sun that if he returned empty handed his king would cut off his head. The sun answered in such a way as to give the servant hope. The sun said, “You return my son and tell the king what I have spoken. The king cannot dare to harm you because his entire kingdom and wealth will be inherited by you. ” He left out this part of his narration.

    He continued by explaining the sun’s revelation why he blinded old man and his instructions how the old man could see again by stopping his evacuation facing the sun. The sun also revealed to the servant how he would become the master of the herd of wild horses. The sun said, “Those horses belong to you my son.” Remembering the words of the sun, the loyal servant asked the king innocently, “My noble Lord, I clearly understand the sun’s final words, “a tax on the sun’s passage can never be collected.” “However, my Lord, I don’t understand why the sun said, ‘What is written can never be destroyed (or changed), what is not written can never be accomplished.’” “What did the sun mean by those words?”

    At that moment the king made a sign with his eyes and eyebrows to the vizier who began to explain in detail the old dervish’s prophecy. He continued by relating what he and the king discussed as to how they would remove the loyal servant from the palace by sending him on an impossible mission from which he would never return and make the prophecy void.

    The king cut short the vizier’s narration. He addressed his loyal servant with the following words: “My dear loyal and most faithful servant you will soon be my son in law and rightful hereditary of my kingdom and wealth. The sun’s words will come to pass and the dervish’s prophecy will become reality for my daughter will become as fated your bride. It was predestined that she has not become attracted to any of the other suitors until now because “what is not written can never be accomplished.” Therefore, it did not happen. But, you were “written” and thus you will succeed to my throne.”

    The king announced a royal decree to all his subjects in all the corners of his kingdom that destiny had ordained his only daughter will be married to his most faithful black servant whose skin has become snow white and he has become the darling of his dearest daughter.

    For forty days and forty nights the royal wedding was feted by the tens of thousands of the king’s subjects who came from the four corners of his kingdom. They all ate, drank and danced to their heart’s content to celebrate the marriage of the king’s only daughter to his most loyal black servant.

    They all attained their most cherished wishes and may you also achieve your cherished wishes.

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  • aghkahdeen ohknoutioun bahhanchell guh nuhmanee portz uhnehl kehdeen choura dzagehl

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  • aghkadeen hatz duhvogh chee gah, kuhrad duvogh sad

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  • Lahv hahrvahnuh vohsgee eh

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  • herossuh mehg ahnkam eh mehrnoum, vaghgohduh hazar

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  • Badeev tangahkeen ahtamantee muh guh nuhmahnee, voroun vrrah kudnuhvogh chuhcheen peedz muh guh nuhvadzehtzneh ahnor ahrzehkuh.

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  • kayleen kulkhoun vrrhah kahroz gartatzeen, uhsahv, “Shoud erhek, votchkharuh lehr knatz.”

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  • kayluh karnougeen vrrah bahhak chehn garkerr

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  • sooud gah doun guh kahnteh, sooud gah vor yehgeghuhtzee guh seeneh

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