The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #68318   Message #1152629
Posted By: Wilfried Schaum
02-Apr-04 - 04:52 AM
Thread Name: German folk song, help with translation
Subject: RE: German folk song, help with translation
Nigel - The entire discussion, and now your last sensible remarks about the girl's relation to 1. the hunter, 2. her mother made me think more and deeper about one of my favourite songs. There is more in folk poetry than is dreamt of in our philosophy, I must confess.
As I see it now:

- Girl and huntsman:
The girl is of peasant stock and seems to be of a firm character, as the talk with the huntsman shows. He might be interested mainly in the pleasures of a relationship. He is frivolous, suggesting a lie to have her company. [Would like to have such a son-in-law? Not me.] The girl does not reject him as a potential partner, but the nature of the relation is made clear. Instead of telling lies she prefers the truth: matrimony.

- Girl and mother
But the girl seems to have fallen deeply in love with the young huntsman [small wonder I must say since I have served in a Jaeger Bataillon], and she asks an experienced older woman in whom she confides what to do: Her mother.
The relations between peasants and their children are economical, too. Children and in-laws form a considerable working force, and a huntsman must be counted out because of his profession. It makes sense that the mother wants to keep her daughter for aa additional year.
The quarrel between the two is ended by the mother's resignation: She sets the daughter free to run off. But the girl knows her duty. She will NOT run off TO the hunter, but do it the right way. The huntsman has to come for her and lead her into matrimony viz. with due ceremonies; until the time comes she will stay with her mother. Maybe she doesn't trust the huntsman, as you remarked so well. There are too many folksongs [she must have known] about poor maidens seduced and forsaken.

So the vote goes to run off to.

Your reconstruction of the penultimate verse sounds quite good, but I think the idiomatic is too modern. I'd like to keep the translation as near to the original as possible - which is sometimes impossible, alas.