Mese az asszonyról, aki túl sokat beszélt
A következő humoros történet "Az Ezeregyéjszaka meséi" részletének angol nyelvű fordítása. Központi alakja egy cserfes (angolul: loquacious) asszonyság, aki hömgölygő szóáradatával képes lyukat beszélni bárki hasába (angolul: to talk sy's head off; to talk the hind legs off a donkey). Békés természetű férjének egyetlen vágya van csupán: hogy pár órára csendet és nyugalmat találjon.
Főbb szereplőit és motívumait tekintve a történet sok hasonlóságot mutat más mesékkel, például "A furfangos székely menyecske" című bukovinai székely népmesével, melyben (az Ezeregyéjszaka rettenetes dzsinnje helyett) még az ördögöt is riogatni lehet a szószátyár és akaratos asszonysággal.
The Man with Three Wives
The first wife
Sidi Ahmad was a lucky man. He had a nice home, a pretty wife and a pleasant job. He had a donkey too. Every day he cut wood in the forest and sold it in the market. He was very happy. Only one thing in his life was wrong. Sidi Ahmad's wife never stopped talking.
'Why don't you come home earlier? You never talk to me! You never tell me I'm pretty! I don't know if you love me. Perhaps you don't. You spend all your time in the forest. Do you love the trees more than me?' She went on and on. Sidi Ahmad loved her, but he was always very glad to get into the forest. It was quiet and peaceful there.
But one morning, his wife got on the donkey's back. 'I'm coming with you,' she said. 'I want to make sure you work hard. We never have much money. I'm sure you spend half the day dreaming.'
Sidi Ahmad said nothing. But he thought of a clever plan.
When they had gone a little way towards the forest, he stopped the donkey. 'My dear,' he said, 'I wasn't going to tell you. I wanted it to be a surprise. But there is a wonderful treasure down there.'
'Down where? Down in that old well?' said Sidi Ahmad's wife. 'Don't just stand there talking. Take me to the well and let me look!'
'It isn't safe, dear. You wait here. I'll go down and get the treasure.'
'No,' said Sidi Ahmad's wife. 'You will go down and stay there all day long. I will look for the treasure for myself.' She made Sidi Ahmad help her get into the bucket. Then he slowly let her down into the deep, dark well.
The quiet genie
Sidi Ahmad smiled quietly. He climbed on the donkey's back and rode away. 'My wife will be very angry,' he said to himself. 'But I don't care; it's so lovely and quiet without her! I'll come back and help her up later.' He spent a happy, busy day in the forest.
When it was getting dark he went back to the well. He pulled up the bucket, and got ready to hear the angry voice of his wife.
'Saved at last!' said a deep, soft voice. 'Oh, my friend, you have saved me from that horrible woman! How can I thank you, my dear, kind friend?'
Sidi Ahmad was very surprised. He almost let go of the bucket. He had not pulled his wife out of the well, but a large, ugly-looking genie.
'I'm a very quiet person,' said the genie. 'I hate noise. I don't like people talking and laughing all the time. I want to be calm and peaceful. Peaceful and calm. That's what I like to be.'
He looked at Sidi Ahmad with large, sad eyes. 'I've lived at the bottom of this well for hundreds of years, you know. No one has ever disturbed me before. Then suddenly this horrible woman appeared. Talking, talking, talking, talking. I have never heard anyone talk so much. But now you have saved me! What a good, kind friend you are!'
Then the genie picked up Sidi Ahmad and the donkey and flew away with them.
'Where are we going?' asked Sidi Ahmad.
'Away from that horrible woman, of course,' said the genie. 'Now tell me, what can I give you? Do you want gold? Jewels? A king's daughter for your wife?'
'I don't want another wife, thank you - one is quite enough!' laughed Sidi Ahmad.
The king's daughter
'Not all women are like that,' said the genie. 'Look at this one; and if you want her, she's yours.'
He put Sidi Ahmad carefully down on the roof of a beautiful palace. This palace belongs to the King of China,' said the genie. 'His daughter is down there, in the garden.'
Sidi Ahmad looked down at the beautiful young girl. 'Oh, yes. I would like to marry her,' he said. Help me, Genie, please!'
'Very well,' said the genie. 'Listen ...' He spoke a few words in Sidi Ahmad's ear.
One minute the King's daughter was picking flowers. The next minute she was lying on the ground. She looked dead. The servants ran to her; her eyes were shut and her face was as white as milk. They called the King's doctor, but he could do nothing.
'I will give anything - anything - to the man who makes her well!' promised the King.
Sidi Ahmad walked into the room. I hear that your daughter is ill. Great King,' he said. They led him to her. 'I see,' he said. 'A bad genie has got into your daughter, Great King. This sometimes happens in my country. I must try to make the genie go, but it will not be easy.'
He spoke to the white, still girl. 'Come out of there, genie. Can't you see the girl's father is frightened?'
The second wife
'It's nice in here!' a deep soft voice said. 'Nice and peaceful!' The voice seemed to come from the lovely lips of the King's beautiful daughter. The King fell down on his knees. 'Please help her!' he cried.
'Get out!' said Sidi Ahmad again. 'Oh, all right!' said the deep voice. The girl's body shook like a leaf and the genie flew out of her mouth in a cloud of smoke.
'Oh, I've had such a strange dream,' the girl said in her own sweet voice. She sat up and rubbed her eyes. Her father ran to her and took her in his arms.
Soon Sidi Ahmad married the King's daughter.
They had a beautiful wedding and were very happy. Sidi Ahmad forgot about his other wife. The one he left in the well.
One day some servants arrived from the King of India. 'Great King,' they said, 'we hear that you have a wonderful doctor who can make genies obey him. Our King's daughter is very ill, and the palace magician can do nothing. He says that a genie is inside her, and the genie is too strong for him.'
'Of course, my son-in-law will help,' said the King of China. 'He took a genie out of my daughter when she was close to death. Sidi Ahmad, go at once and help these good people.'
The third wife
Sidi Ahmad did not want to go. He was very happy with his new wife, but he had to obey the King.
The King of India was very glad to see Sidi Ahmad. 'Sir,' he said, 'I will give you anything - anything - if you can help my daughter.'
'I will do my best,' said Sidi Ahmad. He lifted the girl's veil - and fell in love. She was tall and dark, with red lips and hair like a black cloud around her lovely face. 'Dear lady,' he said, 'I am so sorry I can't help you.'
To his surprise, a deep, soft voice answered, 'Oh! So they asked you to come!' It was the genie from the well.
'Come out!' cried Sidi Ahmad in a loud voice. Quietly he whispered, 'If you don't come out, they will cut off my head!'
'But I like it here,' said the deep voice. 'It is so calm, so peaceful.'
'Please!' begged Sidi Ahmad. 'I saved you once.'
'That was a long time ago,' said the genie. 'I'm very happy here. I'm going to stay.'
Then Sidi Ahmad remembered something. He looked behind him.
'Genie,' he said. 'I have brought someone with me. She wants to talk to you.'
'Who?' said the deep voice.
'That nice woman from the well,' replied Sidi Ahmad. 'She says she could not find the treasure at the bottom of the well. She thinks you know where it is. Shall I tell her you're here?'
'Oh, no!' said the deep, soft voice. 'Not that talking woman. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Oh, no! Don't tell her I am here. Tell her I have gone away, and you don't know where I am.'
Then the girl's body began to shake like a leaf. The genie flew out of her mouth like a cloud of black smoke. The girl sat up and nibbed her beautiful dark eyes.
'Good day, dear lady,' said Sidi Ahmad. 'Will you marry me?' Of course, she agreed.
The end of the story
And so Sidi Ahmad became the husband of three wives. One was the daughter of the King of China. One was the daughter of the King of India. Both were sweet and pretty and kind, but Sidi Ahmad loved his first wife best. She always took great care of him, and she never said a word.
You see, when Sidi Ahmad was in India, talking to the genie, he remembered his poor first wife. He went straight back to the well and pulled her up.
The cold well had hurt her throat. She had lost her voice and could not say anything to him. Before she could get her voice back, Sidi Ahmad told his servants to make wells everywhere. Each well had a bucket of gold, with his wife's name on it.
'How sweet,' people said. Sidi Ahmad loves his first wife so much!' His wife understood, too. She knew that Sidi Ahmad loved her. When her voice got better, she stayed quiet. She did not want to be a prisoner in the well again! Yes, Sidi Ahmad was a very lucky man.
bucket - vödör
to let sg down - leenged, leereszt
to pull sg up - felhúz vmit
to ride away - ellovagol
to let go of sg - elenged vamit
to pick sg up - felvesz vmit
to put sg down - letesz vmit
roof - tető
still - mozdulatlan
Come out of there! - Gyere ki onnan!
a cloud of smoke - füstfelhő
to rub one's eyes - dörzsöli a szemét
to obey - engedelmeskedik
son-in-law - vő
veil - fátyol
to cut sg off - levág vmit
to beg - könyörög
to nib one's eyes - erőlteti a szemét
A szöveg forrása: Tales from the Arabian Nights, ed. David Foulds. Progressive English Readers Grade 1. Oxford: OUP,
A képek forrása: Freepik