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Juha the giant – A translation from Arabic

Today, I sat down and translated The following Arabic text is a short story  that I found on the internet (source). I translated the text from Arabic to English and Danish. I count on doing short translations more often as a way of reading Arabic in a much more intensive fashion. The reason that I also did a Danish version is, that I hope that I can create a little collection of bi or tri-lingual texts that might help some of the Arabophone refugees and immigrants who’re trying to learn my native language. I am considering recording the Danish version read aloud too.

Please let me know if you have any corrections, suggestions or opinions.
I hope to work more with translation in various languages in the future. This is my first attempt at translating a text from Arabic, and it should be considered as such.

The below story is one of the many popular stories about Juha (Read about Juha on Wikipedia) Juha is known all across the Muslim world, even as far as China. He’s mostly a comical character, but the Juha stories also often present some kind of deeper morale or wisdom.

جحا العملاق

تمنى جحا يوما أن يصير عملاقا، فلما أخبر أهل قريته بما يريده، أرادوا أن يمازحوه فقالوا له : يا جحا إذا أردت أن تصير عملاقا، عليك أن تأكل الكثير من البصل والثوم، صدق جحا كلامهم فذهب إلى السوق واشترى كل البص والثوم، وصار يأكل الثوم والبصل في كل الوجبات و مرت الأيام واستغرب جحا لعدم تغيره ولو قليلا، وصارت رائحته كريهة بسبب أكل الثوم والبصل، ثم اكتشف بأن أهل القرية قد خدعوه فأراد جحا أن يرد لهم الصاع صاعين، وأتى يوما إليهم يحمل الكثير من الذهب، وقد كان معروفا عند أهل القرية بأن جحا ليس برجل غني فسألوه أهل القرية : من أين أتيت بهذا الذهب يا جحا ؟

قال جحا : لقد تحول الثوم والبصل إلى ذهب.

قال أهل القرية : وكيف ذلك يا جحا نحن نعلم بأن الثوم والبصل لا يتحول إلى ذهب.

قال لهم جحا : بل يمكن ذلك وانا أعرف السر.

قالوا له : أخبرنا أرجوك يا جحا.

قال لهم عليكم أن تقوموا بطحن الثوم والبصل  وسوف يتحول إلى ذهب بعد 20 يوما.

فعل أهل القرية ما قال لهم جحا، لكن بعد مرور تلك الأيام لم يتحول خليط الثوم والبصل إلى ذهب، وصارت رائحة منازلهم كريهة جدا حتى أنهم لم يستطيعوا المكوث فيها.

Juha, the giant

Juha hoped to one day become a giant and when he told the people of his village what he wanted, the villagers decided to play a trick on him. ”Listen, Juha, if you want to become a giant, you need to eat a lot of onions and garlic. Juha believed their words, and went to the marketplace to buy all of their onions and garlic and he started eating garlic and onions for each meal. Days passed and Juha stated to wonder why he hadn’t even changed slightly. He also began having a foul smell because of all the garlic and onions. Finally he realised that the villagers had tricked him, and he wanted revenge.

One day he went to them carrying a lot of gold. It was well known, among the villagers, that Juha was no rich man, so they started asking him: From where have you got all of that gold, Juha?
Juha replied: All of the garlic and onions has turned into gold!

And the villagers replied: But how so, Juha? We know very well that garlic and onions don’t turn into gold! Juha answered them: But they do! I know a secret. They answered: Please tell us, Juha! Then he said; grind the garlic and the onions, and they’ll turn into gold after 20 days. The villagers did what Juha had told them, but after the time had gone, the garlic and onion-mix hadn’t turned into gold and their houses had begun stinking so horribly that they couldn’t stay inside of them!

Kæmpen Juha

Juha håbede at han en dag ville blive til en kæmpe, og da han fortalte folkene i sin landsby hvad han ville, besluttede de sig for at narre ham. ”Du, Juha, hvis du gerne vil blive til en kæmpe, så bliver du nødt til at spise en masse løg og hvidløg.

Juha troede på hvad de sagde, og tog til markedet og købte alle deres løg og hvidløg og han begyndte at spise hvidløg og løg til hvert måltid. Dagene gik, og Juha begyndte at undre sig over at han stadig ikke havde ændret sig det mindste, og han var begyndt at lugte hæsligt på grund af alle de løg og hvidløg, han havde spist.

Til sidst gik det op for ham at landsbyboerne havde snydt ham, og han ville hævne sig. En dag gik han derfor hen til dem, bærende på en masse guld.

Det var allerede kendt blandt landsbyboerne at Juha ikke var nogen rig mand, så de spurgte ham: Hvor kommer dog alt det guld fra, Juha? Juha svarede: Alle løgene og hvidløgene er blevet til guld! Hvortil landsbyboerne svarede: Hvordan det, Juha? Vi ved godt at hvidløg og løg ikke bare kan blive til guld! Juha svarede dem: Jo, det kan de. Jeg kender en hemmelighed. Så svarede de ham: Vil du ikke nok fortælle os det, Juha? Så sagde han; mos hvidløgene og løgene, så bliver de til guld efter 20 dage. Landsbyboerne gjorde som Juha havde fortalt dem, men efter at dagene var gået, var løg- og hvidløgs-blandingen ikke blevet til guld, men deres huse var begyndt at lugte så fælt, at de ikke kunne være i dem!

 

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