Extend your heart (like a vast ocean)
seerdut laiyn puhrneh
The heart is considered the seat of emotions. When an Armenian says seerdut laiyn pehrneh he means “be patient, don’t get angry and fly off the handle.”
There has never been a night that did not become day
keehshehr chee yeghehr, vohr chee loussatzehr
Patience – hamperoutioun
Patience – hamperoutioun
Once upon a time there was and there wasn’t a poor family with one son. when the boy was 18, he made a strange request of his mother, “Go to Tateos Agha
and ask that he give his daughter in marriage to me.”
The mother remonstrated, “We are so poor. Tateos Agha is the richest man in town. He will never give his daughter to you.”
“Never mind, Mother. Please ask him. I am ready to do anything to win her hand in marriage.”
The mother seeing her son’s determination decided to ask the merchant although she was certain he would say no.
Arriving at the merchant’s house, she entered and said, “Tateos Agha, may your fortunes always increase. I have a sincere request to make of you. If you think it is appropriate, then please grant it. You know my family is poor. We have raised a good son who is honest and God fearing. He wants to marry your daughter.”
Tateos Agha was taken aback by the request for marriage. Yet, he respected the mother. Not wanting to hurt her feelings he said, “Good woman, please ask your son to come here so I can talk with him.”
The mother was pleasantly shocked by Tateos Agha’s reply. She hurried home and told the good news to her son. The young man went to see the merchant. When he sat across from Tateos Agha, the rich merchant spoke to him in kind words, “My son, you can marry my daughter if you go to Van and find out the history of the washer man who works from dawn to dusk but cannot even finish washing a single handkerchief.”
The young man journeyed to Van. He found the washer man who had a handkerchief in his hand and was about to wash it. The washer man looked toward the balcony of the church steeple nearby. He ran toward the church searching for something, looked around and returned again to the river. He nearly immersed the handkerchief into the river to wash it, but stopped and looked up at the steeple and again ran toward it, looked up and down and ran back to the river. He repeated this strange
routine from dawn to dusk. He was not able to wash the handkerchief or anything else.
The young man asked the washer man as he ran with him, “Washer man, why are you running up to the church and back? Why don’t you wash the clothes and earn a living?
You are not even washing one handkerchief.”
“I can’t answer your question until you find out why a blind beggar in Moush begs for alms near a church. When the people give it to him, he says, “Take your alms back and slap me instead.” If you can find out why he does this, then I will tell you my story,” said the washer man.
The young man left the washer man and went toward Moush to find the blind beggar. Walking through the town, the young man found a blind beggar near a church. He noticed that when a passerby gave him a pittance in charity, he said, “Please take this back, but slap my face instead.” After seeing this strange behavior several times, the young man approached the blind man and asked, “Why do you refuse to accept charity? Why do you ask your benefactors to slap you on the face?” Please answer me so that the washer man in Van will tell me his secret. Then, I can return to my home town and marry the one I love.” The blind beggar replied, “In Yerevan, you will find a rich merchant. He goes with his caravans for six years at a time. He sells merchandise in foreign lands and comes back with may precious wares.When he returns to Yerevan, he does something very strange. He goes to a place where he has set up two large rocks close together. He knocks himself first against one of them and then against the other. If you can find out why he does this come back to me and I will tell you why I act the way I do.”
The young man proceeded to Yerevan. He inquired about the merchant and found out that he had just left on a six year journey. The young man had no choice but to patiently wait until the return of the merchant. After six long years, the merchant returned with his horses laden with expensive merchandise. The young man waited until he saw the merchant go to the place where he had placed the two large rocks. He witnessed how the merchant ran into one rock and then the other. The merchant repeated this strange behavior until he was bleeding and fell down in a swoon. The merchant’s attendants carried him back to his home and cared for his injuries.
When the merchant recovered from his wounds, the young man asked to meet him. He was granted an audience. The young man asked the merchant, “Sir, please tell me why you knock yourself against those two large rocks and cause such bloody injuries to yourself.” If you would be so kind as to explain your strange behavior, then the blind beggar in Moush will tell me why he refuses alms. Then the washerman in Van will relate why he cannot wash a handerchief. Then, I will return to my home and marry the girl I love. I have been patiently waiting in Erevan for six years until you returned.”
The wealthy merchant explained, “Young man, because you have been so patient for six years, I will relate to you my life’s story. As a young man newly married, I decided to become a rich merchant. I left my pregnant wife and began to travel, buy and sell merchandise. After twenty years I became a rich man. I returned to my village late one night. Since it was late, when I arrived at my house, all the lights, were off. I climbed the roof and peeped into my bedroom. There was my wife, but beside her on a low cot was a handsome youth. I was shocked. It seemed to me that she was unfaithful since I had been away for so long. I rashly entered and murdered my wife and her lover. That night, I slept at a tavern in the village. The next morning, there was news of a double murder of a mother and her son. I was overwhelmed with grief. If only I was more patient, I would have found out that the young man next to my wife was my own son. I left that town and ever since I am trying to repent for my terrible mistake. I bruise myself by slamming into those two rocks as an act of repentance.”
The story was very sad. The young man was able to return to Moush to see the blind beggar. When he encountered the blind man, he said, “I met the rich merchant who revealed to me why he knocks himself against the two rocks.” The blind beggar asked the young man to repeat what the merchant told him.
The young man retold the story of the repentant merchant. “Please tell me your story now so that I can see the washer man in Van who will tell me his story and I will be able to get married.”
The blind beggar began to speak, “I was a camel driver at one time. I transported cargo from from one town to another. On my travel routes, I met an itinerant dervish who inquired what was my purpose in life. I answered that I was always searching for merchandise to carry from one place to another. He indicated that he had a large quantity of gold that could be loaded on 40 camels. He offered to give me one of the laden camels as recompense for my services. I was to safely deliver the other 39 to Kharput. I agreed to his proposal. I followed him to a cave that was closed with a giant rock. He said a strange incantation and the rock moved away so that we could enter the cave. He lit a candle and walked toward a groove in the wall where there was a small box that he put in his pocket. He told me to bring 40 camels into the cave and we loaded them with precious gold. He said, “You can take any one of these camels for your payment. The remaining 39 should be taken to Kharput.
I quickly reflected how one camel of gold is good but I would prefer to get 10 camels. I brazenly asked for 9 more camels. The Dervish agreed. I was happy he agreed. I still was not satisfied so I asked for ten more camels. He agreed that I could have 20 camels. I was happy but not satisfied. I asked for another ten and he agreed. Now, I had 30 camels.
I was still not satisfied. I asked for another 10 camels and he agreed. Now, I had all forty camels loaded with gold. But, I was still not satisfied. I asked the Dervish to give me the little box he put in his pocket. He said, “My dear friend, I have given you all 40 camels laden with gold and I have not complained. Are you not satisfied with such tremendous wealth?” I answered by shaking my head to say no. I wanted to know what was in the box. I impudently said, “Give me the little box!”
“There is a special medicine in this box. If you apply it to one eye, you will see what is hidden under the ground. You will see buried treasures and other valuable things hidden to the eye of normal people. If the medicine is applied to both eyes, however, you will become blind. Since you insist, you can have the box, but be very careful.”
I greedily took the box and applied the medicine on one eye. Amazingly, I saw buried treasures of gold, jewels and many other precious things. But surprisingly, I was not satisfied. I wanted more. I foolishly began to think that my ability to see with only one eye was holding me back from discovering more treasures. By the greed to acquire more covered my rational sense. I decided to apply the medicine on my other eye. To my horror, I became blind on both eyes. I began to scream for help. The Dervish came and saw my sorry plight. “You are so selfish, you cannot enjoy life. You have done this to yourself and now you must suffer the consequences. You must learn to repent for your mistakes,” said the Dervish. He slapped my face and took back the 40 camels and the little box of medicine. “This is my story young man,” said the blind beggar.
The young man was thankful to the beggar. “Now, I can go find the washer man in Van and ask to hear his story,” he said. After some time, he found the washer man and told him he heard the story of the blind beggar. He requested, “Please tell me your story.” The washer man first asked him to repeat the story of the blind beggar. The young man told it word for word. The washer man began his story.
“A long time ago, I was a washer man who lived and worked here. I washed clothes for anyone needing my service. One day, after long hours of hard toil, I returned to my little cottage exhausted. But to my utter amazement, it was transformed into a majestic palace. At first, I thought it was a mistake on my part. The entrance of the palace opened and a heavenly gorgeous woman beckoned me to come inside. She said, “Come in, this is your house and this is your family.” She took my hand and lead me into the palace. We entered a room full of precious jewels and gold objects. The curtains and rugs were made of the finest silk and tastefully colorful. There were 39 more beautiful women in the room all looking at me with eyes of affection. The lady who greeted me first said, ‘All of us belong to you. We will cook delicious food and serve you in every way possible for your pleasure. You can enjoy with all of us. The only precaution is you must never express dissatisfaction. If you complain three times, we will disappear and you will again become poor and miserable.’ It was unbelievable. I enjoyed these heavenly beauties for many years. I even had a beautiful child with one of them. Life was good. There was no dearth of anything. I became complacent. One day, there was a disturbing mist that covered everything outside. I couldn’t take my morning walk. “It is so misty, I can’t take my stroll outside and I enjoy the morning sun. What is wrong with nature?,” I said.
The most beautiful women said, ‘You have complained once. Be very careful. You have two more chances before you lose everything.’
Many months went by and I was enjoying life to the fullest. One day it rained very hard. I remarked, “I wish it wouldn’t rain so hard. It will ruin the beautiful flowers in our garden.” ‘Be careful, you have complained twice. You only have one more chance,” warned the most beautiful woman.’
Many months passed and again I was dulled by the continual routine of happiness. One day it was unbearably hot. I could hardly breathe. I said, ‘My god, what an unpleasant hot day. I can’t stand it any longer.’ As soon as I said this, everything disappeared and I was again in my miserable cottage in my ragged clothes. I lost all those beautiful women and my dear child.
I returned to my work as a washer man. When I go to the river to wash clothes, I see my wife and child on the balcony of the church steeple. I run toward them to beg them to come back, they disappear. I come back disappointed. Before I can wash even a handkerchief, again I see them and run toward them. This is why I cannot wash a single handkerchief from dawn to dusk.”
The young man was so happy to hear the story of the washer man. He thanked him and said, “Now I can return to Tateos Agha and marry his daughter. He returned home and visited the Aga. He related all that happened to him during the years he was away. Tateos Agha was very impressed by the patience and determination of the young man.
“My son, since you demonstrated such perseverance in finding out these stories, you are the one who deserves to marry my daughter.” The marriage was arrange and the young man reached his goal. May you also reach your goals.
Patience – hahmperoutioun
A person of patience can endure the trials of time
Forbear the ranting blasphemies of the ignorant
See not the errors of the innocent as a crime
Forgive the evil deeds of the proud and arrogant
Be patient and your father will bring you sugar candies (meaning an heritage)
hampereh babut kezi sahkar pereh
Be patient so that you experience the delicious taste (of life) or be patient so that a good taste (for everything achieved by honest work) develops (in your life)
Hampehreh vor hamuh pereh
In this proverb there is a play of words between hampereh, patience, and hamuh pereh, which means to experience a good taste. T
There is a story about Socrates. His wife was accustomed to insulting him in public even in front of the teacher’s students. One day, after such an outburst, one of the philosopher’s students asked how it was that he married such a shrewish woman. Socrates replied that the student misunderstood his wife. She was actually his teacher.
Perplexed, the student asked, “What can she teach you, dear master.” Socrates replied, “She is teaching me the most important lesson of life: how to be patient and tolerant.”
Later, when Socrates what falsely condemned to die for teaching false doctrines to the youth of Athens, he voluntarily accepted to drink hemlock (poison). Before doing so, he expounded on the nature of the eternal soul to his friends.
His wife was very grief stricken and begged him not to do it. He could have quietly left Athens with the approval of his executioners who preferred not to kill him. He chose to die because he had explicit faith that the soul is eternal. His wife begged him, but he had her taken away so that he could finish his dialogue and take hemlock. She loved him very much because of his kind and patient nature. With patience, self-control and faith in the eternal soul, one’s experience in life becomes sweeter and sweeter.
Slowly, slowly the raw cotton becomes thread
Gamahtz gamahtz pambaguh guhlah manadz
Slowly- slowly raw cotton (is drawn into or) becomes thread (which is woven into cloth). This is the wisdom of perseverance in work and study that finally produces its fruits of labor.
Gatil gatil kavatuh guh letzvee – drop by drop the cup is filled.
Gatilnerh kitch kitch, guh tarnan medz leegch – little drops accumulate to become a great lake.