Harry Terhanian.com Wisdom from the son of Armenia.


  • Yes keedhem vor choreen mouslougheen metch neh,

    Yes keedhem vor choreen mouslougheen metch neh, paytz aysbesi nuhgadoum
    Gianki ougheegh jampen guh suhvaretzneh ( yev khentahnotchee metch guh muhdnem)

    Although I know for sure that the mule entered the water faucet, such knowledge will only confuse and deter my progressive march on the path of life (and I’ll end up in the crazy house).

    Guhllee chuleer, haiee vajaragan muh gullee (whether there was or wasn’t, there was an Armenian shopkeeper) whose name was Mardiros. He was respectfully called Mardiros aghpar (Brother Mardiros). He and other respectable men of Chunkoush (a town in southeastern Turkey with a small and closely knit Armenian population) were given this title of respect.

    Brother Mardiros owned a large shop in the town center of Chunkoush. He was known to be an honest and God-fearing Christian.

    Early in the morning, when Brother Mardiros would awaken, his first statement of the day would be, “Mighty is the power of Jesus, may the devil be cursed.” (mehdzen eh zoroutioun kristosee, naahlet sadanayeen – naahlet is a Turkish word meaning “let him be cursed” for which the Armenian equivalent is anehdzk) Then Brother Mardiros would make the sign of the cross, take his bath, and proceed to the Armenian church. In church he would prostrate himself several times in prayer, light a candle, then go to town to open his shop. Before opening the door to his shop, he would say “Mighty is the power of Jesus, may the devil be cursed.” He would only then insert the key into the locked metal awning of the shop and open it. He would then draw a cross and repete “Mighty is the power of Jesus, may the devil be cursed,” and enter the shop to begin his work. Before breakfast, lunch and dinner he would say the the Lord’s prayer ( hayir mehr) “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,” and follow it with (mehdzen eh zoroutioun kristosee, naahlet sadanayeen) “Mighty is the power of Jesus, may the devil be cursed.” After eating he would say ( park astdoudzoh) “Glory to God” and again he would repete “Mighty is the power of Jesus, may the devil be cursed.”

    Satan began to get very annoyed by Brother Mardiros’ continual cursing. During Satan’s annual meeting with his kindred evil spirits that inhabited Brother Mardiros’ town, the subject of punishing Brother Mardiros was put on their agenda for discussion. It was decided that Brother Mardiros would be very appropriately punished for his blaspheming Satan many times a day.

    The next day, Brother Mardiros followed his usual early morning routine. As he opened the metal awning of his store he repeated for the fourth or fifth time that morning, Mighty is the power of Jesus, may the devil be cursed – medzen eh zoroutioun kristosee, nahlet sadanayeen. Just as Brother Mardiros began his work day he noticed ( ahchkeen zargav – literally it struck his eyes) an unbridled mule that sidled and walked from one end of the marketplace to the other.

    All day Brother Mardiros kept his eye on the unfetterred mule that wandered here and there. He concluded in his mind that either the mule wandered away from his owner or that the mule was abandoned.

    As night approached, Brother Mardiros waited patiently for all the other shopkeepers to close before he closed shop himself. He cautiously observed if anyone claimed the mule. The mule remained alone in the marketplace. When he reached home that night he spoke to his wife, “Woman, an amazing thing happened today.” He explained how he observed the stray mule all day in the marketplace. He added, “If the mule’s owner doesn’t show up tomorrow, I’ll bring it home. What do you say, woman?” His wife liked the idea of having a mule.

    The next day, Brother Mardiros brought the mule home. He placed an expensive bit in its mouth and harnessed it with a nice saddle. Then, husband and wife began to rejoice using the helpful mule at the marketplace and for home chores. (dounov-deghov uhguhssan vayellehr – they rejoiced enjoyed at home and elsewhere)

    After several weeks the shopkeeper’s mule became quite a popular sight in Chunkoush village. Every morning the shopkeeper would ride the mule to work. The mule would return on its own to the house. The wife would use the mule to help her do certain chores at home. The mule would return to the shop on its own carrying Brother Mardiros’ lunch. Again it would return home and be of service to his wife and children. “The onlt thing the mule can’t do is talk,” Brother Mardiros would tell his admiring friends. Every Sunday, they would hitch the mule to a carriage and take the whole family for a visit to the Armenian monastery in the near mountain area of Chunkoush. At night, whenever Brother Mardiros would visit his friends and relatives he would proudly praise the virtues of his new found mule.

    After some time there was not a soul who did not hear the praises of Brother Mardiros’ mule.( choreein chuhlehshogh yev chuhnogh chehmunhatz-there was no one left that didn’t hear about the deeds and qualities of the donkey)

    One day there was a large wedding party in the town. After the wedding ceremony the bride and groom went toward the groom’s home. They stopped in front of a cousin’s house and everyone was offered raki (a strong alcoholic drink flavored with anis) as was the custom in Chunkoush. While everyone in the wedding party was drinking and dancing joyfully, Brother Mardiros, who rode his mule to the wedding, noticed that his mule was acting as if it was agitated. He said, “Dzarav eh hehvanuh – the poor beast (hehvan is a Farci word which means animal and is often used somewhat affectionately) is thirsty.” He pointed the mule in the direction of the public water faucet and trough used for the animals in town. When the mule reached the trough it entered into the small faucet pipe. Mardiros didn’t believe what he just witnessed. He wiped his eyes in disbelief. He was confused and befuddled. “Guhlee mee chuleer mee – did it really happen or not,” he murmured under his breath. He looked up into the faucet and saw the ears of the mule squeezed together and slightly moving. Brother Mardiros with a deathly fright pointed to the faucet and yelled out in a loud, anxious voice, “ Chu Chu Chu Choreen mouslougheen metchen eh – the mule entered into the faucet ( mouslough is the Turkish word for faucet, the Armenian word is dzorak). He kept stuttering chu chu chu, he could hardly finish the phrase and just kept on stuttering.

    Some of Brother Mardiros’ friends he was absent for a long time. They went off ahead of the wedding party toward the watering trough to find him. They saw him sitting with his legs and arm pointing at the faucet and repeating “ Chu, chu, chu, chu…” One of the friends called out, “Ahsee eench hal eh ( hal is the Turkish word for condition) – what’s happened to you?”, Mardiros, where is the mule?”

    Brother Mardiros answered in disarray, “Choreen mouslougheen metch muhdhav -
    The mule entered into the faucet.”

    The friends looked at each other for a minute, “ahckov hohnkov eerahroo nuhshan urhreen – they made (facial) gestures to each other by moving their eyes and eyebrows.” They raised Brother Mardiros who looked startled and confused. They gently led him back to the wedding party. He continued to murmur, “Chu, chu, chu ….” Everyone saw Brother Mardiros in his pitiable state.

    The news spread that Brother Mardiros had gone crazy, he was jibbering continually, “The mule went into the faucet.” The town mayor decided to place Mardiros under guarded scrutiny in the town jail until he came to his senses again. He assigned a guard to watch over him at all times. Everyday the guard asked Brother Mardiros about the mule. When he answered, “The mule entered into the faucet,” the guard said, “You remain in custody.” The guard went about his business and Brother Mardiros remained locked up.

    His wife brought food and drink to him every day. His friends visited him often. To everyone that came, Brother Mardiros repeated his refrain, “The mule entered the faucet.” How could he not say it. He saw with his own eyes how the mule entered the faucet and looking into the faucet he saw the mule’s ears slightly moving.

    Brother Mardiros remained locked up for many months. His creditors were forced to repossess his stock and sell it to recuperate their loans. His wife and young children were suffered from the anxiety and uncertainty for the future. His close friends were troubled by this unfortunate turn of events of this good Christian family. Brother Mardiros, however, kept on insisting uninterruptedly, “The mule entered into the faucet.”

    One day Brother Mardiros’ three closest friends decided they must do something to end this ordeal. They visited Brother Mardiros in the municipal jail. They asked permission to see him without his guard present. They met with Maridiros privately in his cell and began to speak in very confidential and serious tones of voice.

    “Mardiros brother, you know us as your most intimate friends, is it not?”
    “harghav, ahyit al khosk eh – Of course, that goes without saying.”
    “If so, then are you going to listen to what we say?”
    “harghav, eenchou chee, thouk eem muhdehreen parigamneeruhs ehk, lavoutiounuhs gouzehk, ahyit bes chee – of course, why not, you are my closest friends, you only wish me the best, is it not?”
    “Good, now please listen to us. You are not crazy, Mardiros, you know that, and we know your not crazy. Your craziness is only when you say, “The mule entered into the faucet.” You understand?
    “I’m following your words.”
    “heemah aghek muhdeek erhehk – Now listen to me real carefully, Mardiros: You actually saw the mule enter into the faucet, you looked up the faucet and saw the mule’s ears moving inside. We are your friends, we understand that what you say is true. Fakhat – but - ahmen askharuh chee guhrnarrh kabhoul (uhntouneel, kabhoul is the Turkish word and uhntouneel is the Armenian word) ehneh – the whole world cannot understand or accept that the mule entered into the faucet. Do you understand, Mardiros?
    “Hah, fakat – yes, but….”
    “Fakat makat chee gah – There’s no but mat. Mardiros, Khehlut kloughut joghveh – unscramble your brain (get your head back together again). You promised us you would listen and follow our advice. Ahl guh paveh – enough is enough. You shop is closed, you wife and children pherrh ou peroushan – (this is Turkish phrase meaning) are in a mess…. Tomorrow when your jailer comes and asks you about the mule, you say “What mule, what are you talking about!” If he says, “But you said the mule entered the faucet.” You say, “Khent ehs, inch ehs, Are you crazy or what, you think a mule can enter into a faucet?” You say like that and they’ll let you out of here right away. You’ll go home to your family. We will help you get your shop open again and gahzadvees ehs hahlet – you will be free of this mess.”

    Brother Mardiros followed the advice of his sincere friends. The next day he was set free from the jail, he quickly opened his shop again. After some time he was able to regain his losses and normalize his life. One night, tzerk-vodk kasvadz poghotznerehn – all the streets of the town were empty (of people) or literally every hand and foot had retired from the streets – Mardiros got out of bed very quietly and careful not to wake anyone. He cautiously went to the town center where the water faucet was for watering the animals. He looked up the faucet and again he saw the ears of the donkey squeezed together and moving slightly. This time, however, Maediros did not lose his composure. He thought to himself, “I know the mule is in the faucet, fakat (but) arkhelaranen jahmpan sashourmish guhneh (sashourmish a Turkish word that can be translated as to be confused as a drunk and not understand properly, it has the Armenian equivalent shuhvaretzneh) but if I say this then I will get confused and never get out of the crazy house. He turned away from the cursed place, made the sign of the cross and said, “medtz eh zoroutioun kreesthosee, nahlet sadanayeen – great is the power and glory of Jesus, let the devil be cursed,” as he walked home.

    The success of the devil was only for a certain time, the final victory was achieved by the power and glory of Jesus.

    From that day on in the village of Chunkhoush, whenever a proud and prosperous man cannot reach his desired goal or has an obstacle in his life that obsesses him, he very prudently remembers this proverb, “I know for sure that the mule is in the faucet, but if I say this then I will get confused (and be misunderstood) and never get out of the crazy house,” and remains silent. He understands he is limited and consoles himself by remembering the power and glory of Christ and cursing the devil forever.

    Published on December 13, 2005 · Filed under: Common Sense;
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