Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Hobbit in Ancient Greek, part 17


«ἐφ’ οὗ ὀφειλω εἶναι;» εἶπεν ὁ μάγος. «εὐδοκῶ ὅμως μάνθανειν ὅτι μιμνῄσκῃ τινος περὶ ἐμοῦ. δοκῶ γε ὑμᾶς μιμνῄσκεσθαι φιλῶς τῶν πυροτεχνήματων μου, καὶ τούτο ἔστιν εὔελπις. ἕνεκεν οὖν Τουκ πάππου γέρου σου καί ἕνεκεν τῆς Βελλαδόννης τῆς τεθνηκυίας, δώσω σοι ὅ ᾐτήσω.»

«Ἄφες, οὐκ ᾐτήκα ούδεν.»

«Ναί, ναί. ἤδη ᾐτήκας δὶς ἄφεσιν ἐκ μου. δίδωμι αὐτην σοι. προσθήσομαι μενοῦνγε εἰς τοσοῦτο πέμπειν σε ἐπί τὸ τολμήμα τούτο. γέλοιον σφόδρα μοι ἀγαθον δὲ σφόδρα σοι καὶ ὠφέλιμον πάντως ἐὰν τυχόν περιλείπῃ.»


«Ἄφες! οὐ θέλω τινα τολμήματα, κάλλιστ’ ἐπαινῶ. οὐκ σήμερον. Καλόν πρωΐ! ἀλλά ἐλθὼν ἀριστήσον εἰ δοκεῖ σοι ὅταν θελείς. πῶς αὔριον? ἐλθέ αὔριον. χαῖρε!»


Μετὰ δέ τούτο στρέφων ὁ ὅββιτος ἐνώρμησεν εἰς τὴν θύραν κύκλην χλώραν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκλεῖσεν ταχύ ὡς ἐτολμήσεν μή φαίνων ἄγροικος. Μάγοι ἄρα εἶσιν μάγοι.


"Where else should I be?" said the wizard. "All the same I am pleased to find you remember something about me. You seem to remember my fireworks kindly, at any rate, and that is not without hope. Indeed for your old grand-father Took's sake, and for the sake of poor Belladonna, I will give you what you asked for."

"I beg your pardon, I haven't asked for anything!"

"Yes, you have! Twice now. My pardon. I give it you. In fact I will go so far as to send you on this adventure. Very amusing for me, very good for you and profitable too, very likely, if you ever get over it."

"Sorry! I don't want any adventures, thank you. Not today. Good morning! But please come to tea - any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Come tomorrow! Good-bye!"

With that the hobbit turned and scuttled inside his round green door, and shut it as quickly as he dared, not to seen rude. Wizards after all are wizards.

Translation notes:
  • τῆς Βελλαδόννης τῆς τεθνηκυίας: "departed Beladonna." "Poor Beladonna" implies that she is dead in English, but not in Greek.
  •  ἐλθὼν ἀριστήσον: The idea of "having tea" is not found in Ancient Greek, so I translated it as "come, have breakfast." That preserves the idea of social interaction over a meal. 
The picture: a 1962 edition of the Hobbit. According to nerdalicious, Tolkien said this about the cover art: what has it got to do with the story? Where is this place? Why a lion and emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with pink bulbs? I do not understand how anybody who had read the tale (I hope you are one) could think such a picture would please the author.

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