Harry Terhanian.com

Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • ahskhahdahnkuh mahyruhn eh ahmehn pahreekee, dzouloutiounuh chahreekee

    (Honest) work is the mother of all blessings, laziness of misfortune.

    There is a story entitled the “The Eternal Apple,” written by M. Gohrhoun that illustrate this proverb.

    There was a man and a woman. They owned a small patch of land with grape vines.
    They diligently cared for their vines and lived off the land.

    They had children. They loved their children and showered affection and care on them.

    Beside the vineyard and their children, they kept a nightingale. Every evening,
    after they finished work, the parents returned home , hugged their children,
    loved then, embraced them, then approached the nightingale,
    and fed her seeds and water. Then the nightingale would sing sweet songs.

    One day the farmer noticed that the nightingale was sad and didn’t eat any seeds.

    “Sweet nightingale, why are you sad? You are not eating any seeds.” said the farmer.

    The nightingale replied, “What shall I do, I also have a father and mother. You never
    say, go and see your father and mother and satisfy your thirst to enjoy their company.”

    “If that is your desire,” said the farmer, “then I’ll open the door of your cage.
    Go and see your parents and communicate to them my family’s good wishes.”

    The nightingale promised to return quickly and flew happily out of its cage and soon found its
    dear parents and family. The nightingale’s parents showered their love and affection on their
    child. After a few days, they sent the nightingale back with a gift of an apple seed for the farmer.
    The nightingale kept the seed firmly in her beak and flew past green forests and over fragrant gardens.
    As the nightingale winged past white swanlike clouds, they began to speak to her.

    “Dear nightingale, why are you so hurriedly flying past us? Stay with us a bit and sing your sweet songs.”

    “No, I can’t. I gave my promise to the vine keeper to return as soon as possible,” said the nightingale.

    The fragrant gardens and the blooming rose bushes addressed the nightingale.

    Where are you going so fast, sweet nightingale? Come down and stay with us and sing your sweet songs.”

    “No, I can’t. I have given my word to the vine keeper,” said the nightingale, who continued her flight.

    Soon the nightingale reached the vineyard. She flew down and settled next to the farmer and delivered the apple seed.
    The vine keeper became happy seeing the nightingale and spoke the following.

    “Since you have not tricked me and promptly returned in time, from this day on, live freely without staying in the cage.
    Make your nest in or near the vineyard among the bushes.”

    The vine keeper accepted the apple seed from the nightingale. He planted it in a sunny part of his vineyard.
    The dedication and loving care by which the vinekeeper, his wife and child nurtured the apple seed is noteworthy.

    After some years the apple seed sprouted and gradually developed into a miraculous tree
    the likes of which the world has never seen. It eventually began to give a few apples. The apple tree was so beautiful and bewitchingly fragrant that passersby could not help but admire it and stare in amazement.

    Evenually the king of that country heard about the miraculous apple tree.

    “You won’t believe it, father king. A humble vinekeeper has a truly amazing apple tree which makes
    all your royal fruit trees pale in comparison.”

    The king ordered that a sample fruit from the apple tree be brought to him.

    The humble vinekeeper picked his sole fragrant apple and brought it to the king. The king and his retinue
    were dumbstruck with amazement when they saw the apple.

    “Words are not adequate to describe this amazing apple,” said the king. “Wait, let me cut off a piece and taste how delectible it is,”
    said the king. He cut off a half and began to eat it.

    He hardly ate a morcel before he began to choke, turned purple and died. The palace guards surrounded the vinekeeper.
    They were about to kill him because they thought he poisoned the king. The vizier, however, stopped them and spoke.

    “Since the king has died by eating the poisoned apple of the vinekeeper, let he and his wife eat a piece of the same apple so that they die too.”

    Guards were dispatched to fetch the vinekeeper’s wife. The guards were begged and beseeched to spare
    the lives of the wife and have pity on the children. But how could they hear such imploring when they received an unequivical
    order. An order is an order. The vinekeeper and his wife were forced to eat the remaining half of the apple.
    Everyone was anxious to see them die. But, contrary to their expectation, the vinekeeper and his wife, after eating the apple, became younger
    and healthier instead of dying.

    The palace residents were amazed by this apparent miracle. They ordered the vinekeeper to reveal the secret of this
    strange apple. The vinekeeper was also amazed by the events and insisted he knew nothing about the apple. He related how he received the seeds for the apple tree from a nightingale. The palace residents ordered the nightingale be brought to the palace. They implored the bird to reveal the secret of the apple.

    “This is an eternal apple,” said the nightingale. “Whoever eats that apple without having worked to grow it
    will be poisoned when they taste its flesh. But the opposite is true. Whoever works diligently and cares for the tree
    to produce the fruit with honest labor will be rejuvenated by eating the fruit.” Thus, after speaking, the nightingale left the palace with the vinekeeper and his wife.

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  • hayrrehneekees hehrahtzehl yehm, khelhj bahntoughdt yehm, douhn chouneem, ahzeez mohrehs pahjahnvehl yem, duhkhour-duhrdoum, kouhn chouneem

    This is a poem written by Avedis Isahakian

    hayrrehneekees hehrahtzehl yehm,
    khelhj bahntoughdt yehm, douhn chouneem,
    ahzeez mohrehs pahjahnvehl yem,
    duhkhour-duhrdoum, kouhn chouneem

    I am far from my homeland
    a lonely migrant nostalgic and forlorn
    separated from my dearest mother,
    sad and sleepless and so depressed.

    sahrehn goukahk, nakhshouhn hahvkehr,
    ahkh, eem mohrus dehssehl chehk?
    dzohvehn gouhkahk, mahrmahnt hohvehr,
    ahkhuhr pahreev pehrelh chehk!

    Oh fair winged birds flying over the mountains
    Have you not seen my dear mother
    You soft breezes that waft from the sea
    is there no greeting from my mother

    hahvk ou hohvehr yehgahn guhshdees,
    ahntzehn teebahn ou ahntzahn.
    bahbahg seerdees, pahpahk seerdees,
    ahnkhoss teebahn ou ahntzahn.

    birds and breezes both came next to me
    as they passed they touch me and left
    my yearning heart, my soft heart
    without a word they touched me and left

    ahkh, koh dehskeen, ahnoush lehzveen
    gahrodehl yehm, maiyreek jahn
    yehrnehk, yehrnehk, yehrahz leenehm
    tuhrneem mohdut, maiyreek jahn

    Oh, for the sight of you, your sweet voice
    I miss you so, dear Mother
    I wish, I wish, I was a dream
    To fly to you, dearest Mother

    yehrp kounut kah, lour keeshehrov
    hahzeev kuhrgehm, hampoiur dahm
    seerdeet guhbneem vahr gahrodov
    lahm ou khuhntahm, maiyreek jahn

    When your eyes tire, in the deep night
    To embrace your soul, and kiss your face
    And hug your sweet heart with my warm nostalgia
    Crying and smiling with tears of love, Oh My dearest mother

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  • (Addressing a water fountain basin built by a shepherder on a mountain side to catch the water from a natural spring)
    May he who built this basin (for spring water) live long life extended like the incessant flow of water.

    There is a beautiful poem by Hovhaness Toumanian that illustrates this proverbial good wish (pari maghthank).

    sahree lahncheen, jahyree dahg
    chour ehr pughoum sahrnohrag
    ou tzuhvehlov khohderoum,
    eezour jaheej ehr tahrnoum

    On the side of a mountain, under a rock
    a pristine spring flowed round the clock
    It ran swiftly through the grass
    becoming soon a swamp morass

    nuhrah ahrchev mee khor koush
    sheenetz hohveevuhn ou ahnoush
    khagh ahsehlov nah dhahrahv,
    chouretz hohsuh eer dzahrav

    Sweet- hearted shepherder built with care
    a basin for spring water in the open air
    Singing sweetly the water he ported
    Quenched the thirst of his herd transported

    bahkhrahn ahntzav ehn sahreetz
    shokeetz hahnadz chohr lehzoun
    gousht-gousht khuhmehtz aghpouyreetz
    ahbah nahyeetz nah hehrouhn

    A Goat herder passed that mountain fresh
    Whose tongue was scorched to dry flesh
    he drank and drank from the waters of spring
    And espied another coming to drink

    ahbvoruhn yehgahv dohkaghez
    sahrun aghpioureen vohr hahsahv
    kuhlkharguhn ahrahv ou chohketz
    khuhmetz, seerduh hohvatzahv

    The traveler arrived red with heat
    But when he reached the spring water sweet
    He took off his hat and bowed his head
    Drank the cool water ’til his thirst was fed

    ou duhvahv eer ohrnahnkuh
    ahntzvor mahrtuh ehn pahreen
    “Koh seenoghee ohr-giankuh
    churee nuhmahn yehrgahree…”

    He gave his blessing
    that virtuous traveler
    “To your maker many days of life
    may they flow like water from the spring.”

    There is an Armenian proverb that says (yehrp chour ehs khuhmoum, mee mohrahnah aghpiouruh bahdrahssogheen)
    when you drink water don’t forget the one who made the fountain (of spring water).

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  • tzehzee huhnahzahntoghnehreh ahnhuhnahr yehv ahngahrelee pahnehr mee bahahncher

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  • Don’t waste your time giving advice to lazies, crazies and drunkards.

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  • Give abundant advice to those who seek good counsel.

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  • lehzvahnee gheenehreh hehrou gehtzek

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  • Chee portzuhvahdz odahreen kohsskeen mee hahvahdahk

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  • khoghounee eenchkehreh sah mee puhnduhrehk

    You support a thief by purchasing his stolen merchandise offered at a very low price. Thus, you encourage him to continue to commit theft.

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  • bahrdkuh guhrahgeh sahbhig eh

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  • ahnbed giankuh maheetz ahl vahd eh

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  • aghvehss agha, eenchkahn elh vor leenehss uhzkoush, chareekeet vehrch teh vagh, teh oussh, uhsspahsoum eh shounee ahdahm, souur ou poush, ahbah ahl mehz hahmar kou bahdeej ahnoush

    Literally, Master wolf, however much the wicked are cautious in deceit, sooner or later the result of evil (will encounter) the sharp and thornlike teeth of a dog, thus for us your punishment will be sweet.

    There is a fable by Hovaness Toumanian about a mother cuckoo who was deceived by a fox. It is called “Chahree vehrchuh,” the end (result) of evil.

    There was a mountain,
    On the mountain a tree,
    On the tree a branch,
    On the branch a nest,
    In the nest three chicks,
    And on them a mother cuckoo,
    Cuckoo, cuckoo, said the mother cuckoo to her chcks,
    When will you grow your wings,
    Go away and fly,
    So I’ll be happy…
    So sang the mother cuckoo,
    When, suddenly,appeared a wily fox,
    “This mountain is mine,
    this tree is mine,
    there is a branch on the tree,
    a nest on the branch,
    who dares to perch here,
    poaching on my tree
    pretending to be master secretly?
    Oh, you cuckoo, foolish cuckoo,
    how many little chicks have you?
    —Three little ones, honorable sir.
    —I can show you three little chicks.
    Why don’t you say, you shameless one,
    For your service I’ll send one son,
    Let him drop down right away,
    If not my sharpened saw you’ll see,
    I’ll fetch it to cut down this tree,
    -Oh don’t cut it down
    -For the love of GOD
    -Here is one for you
    -May he serve you well
    -Please go your way
    -Don’t destroy us all
    -Our nest and home
    -Our entire race
    So pleaded the mother cuckoo
    Who let drop one of her chicks.
    The fox jumped to grab it and left.

    Alas, alas, sad so sad,
    My precious little cuckoo,
    On this black mountain,
    In this desolate place,
    Fallen under a thicket,
    Was snatched away forlorn.
    My precious cuckoo…

    The mother cuckoo lamented crying,
    when suddenly again the fox returned.
    This mountain is mine,
    This tree is mine,
    On the tree a branch,
    On the branch a nest,
    Who dares to perch here,
    Poaching on my tree,
    pretending to be master secretly?
    Oh, you cuckoo, foolish cuckoo,
    How many little chicks have you?
    -two liitle chicks master fox
    -remain to be shown of my flock
    Oh, crooked minded, you winged bandit,
    what a deceit to keep two chicks,
    Why so futilely do strive you
    To populate this place with cuckoos?
    Let one drop down right away
    If not my sharpened saw you’ll see,
    I’ll fetch it to cut down this tree,
    -Oh, please don’t cut down the tree,
    - for the love of God and decency,
    -Take this one and gives us a break,
    -Spare my last chick for God’s sake.

    The mother cuckoo pleaded and let fall the second chick,
    The fox grabbed the young one and left in haste.
    -Oh my, oh why,
    -for what reason,
    -did I settle on this mountain,
    -made my nest,
    -and gave birth to my chicks,
    -the fox came,
    -took two and ate them.
    -Two precious ones, two dear ones,
    -my litlle chicks, my cuckoos…
    So pitifully did the mother cuckoo lament.

    At that moment, ghah, ghah, ghah, the crow passing by
    heard the cuckoo’s tearful cries.

    -Such sadness and frightful lament
    -why,cuckoo sister, such torment?
    Godmother, my tears should lead you to condole
    For the fox came to deaden my soul
    unspeakable misfortune worked that troll
    who stole two of my chicks and ate them all.

    Out of my sight, you mindless cuckoo,
    Shamefully the fox deceived you,
    with lying words your chicks he slew
    who dares to say the mountain is his.
    Who gave the insolent fool the mountain anyway
    The mountains is for all to enjoy everyday.
    Who will let the fox prowl freely,
    To rule the entire mountain cruelly,
    And threaten your race with his saw,
    Frightening you with death’s jaw,
    To give up one today, another tomorrow
    For him to eat your chicks bone and marrow.
    Whatever he may say hence pay no attention,
    Fear not his greedy craw or his sharp saw,
    If he comes again to try to scare you
    Do not be afraid, just chase him away.

    Thus spoke the crow then he flew away.

    Again, the fox came again
    This mountain is mine,
    This tree is mine…
    He barely said this when the cuckoo flew into a rage
    -You speak lies you deceitful scum
    -ruthless carnivore, greedy, miserly bum
    -Who gave you the mountain anyway
    -When it is for all to enjoy everyday
    -Why have you come here pretending to be a lord
    -And I so gullible believed everything you told
    -Gave you two chicks with all my trust
    -Go away you beast whose appetite is lust
    -Finished your deceits and hills of lies
    -I know you now and am not afraid
    -You have no saw to cut this tree or even a blade

    Who told you this?
    -The crow, she said.
    The crow is it, very well!

    The fox became extremely upset with the crow and pulled his tail up and left.
    He went to an open field and layed down as if dead. The crow mistakenly thought the fox was indeed dead.
    The crow flew to the carcass and perched on it to begin to feast first on the soft eyes. The deceptive fox seized the crow who cried
    “gah, gah, gah, gah, Oh master fox!”

    -Oh, you mean spirited foul mouth crow,
    -What nonsense did you tell the cuckoo?
    -That I don’t have a sharpened saw ready to use…
    -I don’t have a saw, huh, now I’ll saw your throat..”

    “Oh my, I beg your mercy, master fox
    I will tell you without being puffed up,
    You can cook me, or you can eat me raw,
    But listen to my final words.
    I come from the opposite mountain
    I have a very precious treasure chest
    That you have never seen the likes before
    Neither in this life or in this world.
    What a waste to leave such a treasure buried underground.
    Lets go there and let me unbury it and give it to you
    If it doesn’t happen or is untrue,
    I am your prisoner here or there.

    Let’s go, said the fox, if it happens like you said, so much the better, if not, I’ll eat you.”
    They went their way.

    “Oh,” said the crow, “this bush is my secret treasure trove.”
    The fox anxious for spoils leaped toward the bush,
    The village dog resting under the bush, startled, leaped at the fox
    and grabbed his throat and wrestled him to the ground.

    The fox vexed began to beg and plead
    - Oh me…oh my..

    Cautious fox,
    Fallen in such a
    terrible predicament
    Alas, you liar
    you black crow

    -However much the wicked are cautious in their deceit, blinded by evil successes, sooner or later, a lesson awaits them in their defeat.
    said the crow who flew away.

    “gah, gah, gah, gah….”

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  • Joy won’t lessen for the joyful (or the partier).

    Harun al Rashid, an Abbasid caliph, went around at nights disguised as a poor person to see what his subjects were doing in his capital, Baghdad. In one of these night journeys he encountered a poor person who would always party and have fun even though he didn’t have much. Harun tries to make him more miserable to see whether his joy will continue. Harun rewards him in the end because the poor man continues his joyfulness even in the most trying circumstances.

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  • sahruh sahreen chee hahssnee, mahrtuh mahrtoun guh hahssnee

    A mountain won’t go to (seek out) a mountain, but a man will get to (seek out) a man

    Don’t mistreat a person thinking that there’s no tomorrow and there won’t be any consequences.

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  • mouhguh hahzeev eer dzahguh gahtznee, ahvehl muh gahbadz vohruh pohrtz guhneh muhdnehl

    Even though the mouse can barely enter its hole (in the wall), it has tied a broom to its ass and is trying to get in.

    Some people are so greedy and foolish that they try to acquire much more than they can possibly use.
    The above saying is used to designate such people.

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