29. September 2015 · Comments Off on elders · Categories: Proverbs
  • This is my father’s brother and this is my mother’s brother. I have learned lessons from both of them.

    ays hohryeghpaiyr, ays kehree, pohlohrehn tahss ahree

    This is my father’s brother and this is my mother’s brother. I have learned lessons from both of them.

  • The living need to make a living

    Ahprogheen ahproustuh behdk eh

    There is a story that explains this saying.

    The wise old grandfather

    There was and there was not a good king. One day this monarch said to his vizier, “Vizier (minister or political advisor of a king in a Muslim government), I want you to accompany me to visit all the states of my kingdom. I want to examine first hand the condition of my subjects. Our purpose will be to study and learn how is the economic condition of the common folk who are artisans and farmers, their work conditions, their opinion of their state and local town government leaders. Further, I want to understand how the government bureaucrats of the large cities and small towns perceive the benefits that are dedicated for the development of the government and the people. Finally, I want to understand the relationships between the leaders and the people, the exploiters and the exploited, and so on and so on. To understand all this, my dear Vizier, you need to note all the minute details of our journey in a daily journal with particular attention to accurately write down every detail on a daily basis. You must chronicle every conversation with official and lay persons, the educated and the illiterate, the noble and the common people, the business men and the laborers, the landowners and the farm laborers. We will be disguised not as peddlers or beggars, but as noble, higher class men of stature.
    Prepare passports for both of us to traverse the different states, have two horses saddled and withdraw whatever necessary funds are required for the trip from the government treasury. To secure our safe passage draw up every sort of official documents to facilitate our discussions and appointments with the rich or the poor, with the officials or the lay persons, the noblemen or the commoners.
    I repeat that you have to keep a proper daily journal of all our conversations and encounters.”
    When all was arranged and ready, the king and his Vizier set off on their journey. They traveled from one state to another until they reached the most distant state called Ahmit. They settled in the surroundings of a far off town in that state. They stopped with the onset of night in a field where a very old man was laboring hard to plow it.
    When they approached the edge of the field, the king heard the old man commanding his oxen with the following: “Hey, my dear oxen, forward, the living must make a living.” (The Armenian phrase is, ahbrogheen abroustuh behdk eh).
    On hearing this wise statement, the king asked the Vizier.
    “Did you here that?”
    “Yes,” said the Vizier.
    “Let us approach this old man. We will relax and we will encourage him also to relax a little. It is not good for him to work so hard at his age.”
    The king and his Vizier entered into the field and got off their horses to rest themselves under the shade of a tree while they waited for the old man to approach them.
    The old man continued to plow his field and make furrows as he gradually approached his visitors. He continued to repeat, “Hey, my dear oxen, forward, the living must make a living.”
    When the old man approached them, the king and Vizier addressed the old man with a respectful greeting, “Good evening, father.”
    “May the goodness of God be with you,” answered the old man. He came right up to them. The king implored the old man to take a break from his plowing and join them for conversation.
    “Very well,” said the old man. “Not only I will rest a little, but my oxen will also rest.”
    The following question and answer ensued between the king and the old man.
    “Father, do you live alone?”
    “No, I live with my daughter.”
    “Father, you must begin early.”
    “I began early, but others took him.”
    “Father, how are you relating to the distant?”
    “I have reduced the distant to be close to me,” said the old man.
    “Father, how are the two of you together.”
    “The two of us have become three.”
    It being late in the day, the old man invited his guests, whose identity was already guessed, to his house. To arrive at his house, they had to pass through a small wooded area.
    When they approached the wooded area, the king said, “Let us enter singular and exit plural.”
    The Vizier did not understand the meaning of the king’s statements. When the king and the old man reached the end of the wooded area, both had cut the branches of trees and they were holding mighty sticks.
    They reached the old man’s house. His daughter had prepared the dinner table. As she served dinner, the king looked at the old man and said:
    “Father, your house is very nice, but the chimney of your fireplace is crooked.”
    The old man replied, “smoke rises straight.”
    The next morning, after breakfast, when the guests were about to leave, the king said to the old man:
    “Father, if I send you a goose, can you remove its feathers?”
    “Oh, I am an expert at plucking geese,” said the old man joyfully.
    The king withdrew from his pocket a royal present and placed some money in the palm of the old man and departed.
    The two returned to the royal capital and after resting for a week, the king called for his Vizier. He commanded him to organize his daily journal of their trip by separately distinguishing the events that occurred in each state, indicating which encounters were with government officials and which ones were with the common people. He expected to see the full report in two weeks time.
    Two weeks later, the king perused the vizier’s daily journal and according to his needs made known his management decisions along with his royal orders. After these urgent and necessary organizational decisions were made, the king summoned the Vizier and said.
    “I am very happy that you so expertly noted down the conversation I had with the old man who lived in the state of Ahmit in the district of Chounkoush. Now, you must describe that conversation by revealing the meaning of my questions and the old man’s answers. My first question to the old man was the following.
    “Do you live by yourself.”
    He answered, “I live with my daughter.”
    You must reveal the meaning of this question and answer. The old man has only one daughter in the house. I then asked the next question.
    “Father, you must have begun (your day) early.”
    “I began early, the others took him.”
    What is the meaning of this question and answer?
    I don’t understand said the Vizier.
    The king continued.
    “How are you relating to the distant?”
    “I have reduced the distant to be close to me,” answered the old man.
    What is the meaning of this question and answer?
    “I don’t know,” said the vizier.
    Without repeating all the questions and answers, the king finally said.
    “Therefore, my Vizier, I’ll give you one month so that you can understand the meaning of those questions and answers. If you fail to do so, I will have your head cut off.”
    The next day, the Vizier loaded a saddlebag with gold coins and mounted the horse and galloped briskly until he reached the outskirts of the old man’s village. He rushed to the old man’s field, where the he was plowing in a similar manner as before. The Vizier sat under the shade of the same tree.
    The old man approached the Vizier with a derisive smile and after greeting him settled his oxen to rest and came to sit next to him.
    After the customary “Good evening,” and “May God confer goodness on you,” the Vizier addressed the old man.
    “Father, I have come to you to obtain a very important request. My life depends on you.”
    “Tell me how I can serve you,” said the old man. I am ready to satisfy your request.”
    The Vizier began: “Do you remember, Father, two men, myself and another, came to see you two months ago?”
    “Yes,” replied the old man. “The second man was our most noble king. You are his Vizier.”
    The Vizier was amazed and surprised by this answer of the old man. He continued: “Oh wise Father, I have brought you a precious gift of gold coins.” The Vizier opened the sack laden with gold coins and placed it before the old man. He implored the old man: “Now I beg you to describe and explain to me the meaning of the question and answer discussion you had that day with the noble king.”
    “I’ll be happy to do it,” said the old man. “Now listen.” When the king first asked “Do you living by yourself?” I answered “I live with my daughter.” Then he said, “You must begin early,” and I answered “I began early but others benefited.” The meaning of this follows. The king seeing that in my advanced age, I have a young daughter implied that I should have married at a young age so that my children would have been mature by now. They could take care of me in my old age. My reply to the king was that I did marry at a young age and had one daughter after another. All but the youngest are married and have left me to live their family life.
    The second question that my noble king asked was “What is your relationship with those who are distant.” I answered that I have rendered the distant very close to me.” He meant the following by his question. “Are you able to see into the future?” My answer to him was “No, I have become shortsighted.”
    The third question by the king was “How are you both doing.” I replied, “I have turned two into three.” With this question, the king wanted to know how is strength of your legs?” “I answered “Not very good, I need a cane to walk.”
    “When we entered the forest”, said the old man, the king said, “Let us enter singular and exit plural.” He meant by this statement that we should gather branches from the forest trees and make ourselves walking canes. “Did you not see that when the king and I came out of the forest, we were holding canes made from the branches of trees?”
    “When we reached my house, my daughter prepared the dinner table and began to serve dinner.” The king noticed that the eyes of my daughter were crossed. He remarked, “Father, your house is very nice, but the chimney is crooked.” I replied, “The smoke rises in a straight column.” I meant to say that my daughter’s vision is straight (although her eyes seem crossed).”
    The next morning, when you were ready to leave, the king asked, “If I send you a goose, can you fleece its feathers?” I answered, “Oh yes, I am an expert at fleecing geese.”
    “Honorable Vizier, you are the goose referred to by the king. He threatened to cut off your head unless you decipher the meaning of the conversation. You have brought on your own accord a sack of gold coins which represents the goose’s feathers.”
    “I pray that God bless you and our noble king with long life. Who knows how many wise or poor men like me live in the kingdom that are waiting for the opportunity to share their wisdom with the noble king and receive a reward like this from him.”
    “Again and again, I give my blessings to the noble king and to your good self. May you both live long and happy lives and in peace manage the affairs of government in this great kingdom.”
    The wise old man achieved his wishes. I wish that the readers of this story likewise achieve their most cherished dreams and wishes.

  • Honey in an old beehive

    megheeruh heen pethageen metch

    This proverb shows the value of respecting elders who have profound thoughts and insights about the life. Just like an old beehive that still has aged sweet honey in it, elderly persons may have very serious and edifying thoughts that they can share with us about life and its meaning.

 

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