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BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation

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A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD
BRAHMS' LULLABY
BUMM! BUMM!! BUMM!!!
CORPORAL SCHNAPPS
DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI
DIE GUTE KAMERAD
DIE LAPPEN HOCH
DIE MOORSOLDATEN
EDELWEISS
GORCH FOCK LIED
HANS BEIMLER
HEISE, ALL
LILI MARLEEN
MARIA DURCH EIN DORNWALD GING
ODE TO JOY (GERMAN)
YAW, YAW, YAW


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CapriUni 07 Jul 02 - 10:29 AM
mack/misophist 07 Jul 02 - 10:57 AM
MudGuard 07 Jul 02 - 10:57 AM
MudGuard 07 Jul 02 - 11:01 AM
Jeanie 07 Jul 02 - 11:04 AM
Jeanie 07 Jul 02 - 11:24 AM
MudGuard 07 Jul 02 - 11:36 AM
CapriUni 07 Jul 02 - 12:46 PM
Mr Red 07 Jul 02 - 07:58 PM
GUEST,Joerg 07 Jul 02 - 09:07 PM
CapriUni 07 Jul 02 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 08 Jul 02 - 02:44 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 08 Jul 02 - 02:49 AM
Wilfried Schaum 08 Jul 02 - 04:25 AM
Jeanie 08 Jul 02 - 04:39 AM
MudGuard 08 Jul 02 - 04:41 AM
Jeanie 08 Jul 02 - 06:29 AM
CapriUni 08 Jul 02 - 07:40 AM
MudGuard 08 Jul 02 - 08:18 AM
CapriUni 08 Jul 02 - 11:16 AM
MudGuard 08 Jul 02 - 02:15 PM
Stefan Wirz 08 Jul 02 - 02:35 PM
CapriUni 08 Jul 02 - 02:44 PM
CapriUni 08 Jul 02 - 02:51 PM
MMario 08 Jul 02 - 03:10 PM
CapriUni 08 Jul 02 - 06:10 PM
mack/misophist 08 Jul 02 - 10:32 PM
CapriUni 09 Jul 02 - 12:47 AM
Wolfgang 09 Jul 02 - 04:35 AM
Wilfried Schaum 09 Jul 02 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 09 Jul 02 - 06:38 AM
Mr Red 09 Jul 02 - 08:26 AM
CapriUni 09 Jul 02 - 01:25 PM
Stefan Wirz 10 Jul 02 - 03:00 AM
CapriUni 10 Jul 02 - 06:56 AM
CapriUni 10 Jul 02 - 07:31 AM
MudGuard 10 Jul 02 - 07:45 AM
Stefan Wirz 10 Jul 02 - 07:49 AM
Stefan Wirz 10 Jul 02 - 10:41 AM
CapriUni 10 Jul 02 - 12:05 PM
CapriUni 10 Jul 02 - 12:32 PM
MudGuard 10 Jul 02 - 01:36 PM
CapriUni 10 Jul 02 - 02:23 PM
Stefan Wirz 10 Jul 02 - 03:08 PM
MudGuard 10 Jul 02 - 03:08 PM
MudGuard 10 Jul 02 - 03:12 PM
Stefan Wirz 10 Jul 02 - 03:25 PM
MudGuard 10 Jul 02 - 03:29 PM
CapriUni 10 Jul 02 - 04:48 PM
MudGuard 10 Jul 02 - 04:58 PM
MudGuard 10 Jul 02 - 05:00 PM
CapriUni 10 Jul 02 - 08:49 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 11 Jul 02 - 01:51 AM
CapriUni 11 Jul 02 - 02:49 AM
CapriUni 11 Jul 02 - 02:49 AM
Wilfried Schaum 16 Jul 02 - 10:24 AM
CapriUni 16 Jul 02 - 01:21 PM
Wilfried Schaum 23 Jul 02 - 09:41 AM
CapriUni 23 Jul 02 - 10:26 AM
Wilfried Schaum 24 Jul 02 - 08:20 AM
CapriUni 24 Jul 02 - 10:29 AM
Wilfried Schaum 13 Jan 03 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Jan 03 - 11:01 AM
MMario 13 Jan 03 - 11:07 AM
Wilfried Schaum 14 Jan 03 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Jan 03 - 11:07 AM
Bob Bolton 14 Jan 03 - 09:53 PM
CapriUni 15 Jan 03 - 12:23 AM
Wilfried Schaum 29 Jan 03 - 07:11 AM
CapriUni 29 Jan 03 - 09:40 AM

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Subject: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 10:29 AM

Hello! I am currently working on a private project of collecting and illustrating my favorite folktales, and one of the stories I want to include is Das Meerhäschen, from the Brothers Grimm (an English version can be found here).

Here's my problem: The translated title I most often seen for this story is "The sea-hare" But I had no idea what a "sea-hare" is... looking it up in the American Heritage Dictionary I discovered that, in English at least, a sea-hare is a kind of primative marine snail with a shell about 10 times too small for its own back.... Which hardly makes sense, since the hero of the story allows himself to be changed to a sea-hair and sold as a cuddly pet to a haughty princess, and primative marine snails do not make very cuddly pets.

Ralph Manhiem titled the story The Mongoose in his 1977 translation, so he probably thought "Sea-hare" didn't make much sense, either... But I have no idea whether the translation is legitimate, or if he just made it up...

So, if anyone knows: What, pray tell, is "Das Meerhäschen"? Is it, in fact, a mongoose? or a bunny rabbit with a fish's tail, or an ordinary bunny that lives by the sea, or... what?

Now, so that this thread isn't complete BS: I've often thought that this story (by whatever title) is a second cousin, at least motif-wise, of the Child Ballad "The Two Magicians", in that the princess/proud lady puts a challenge to her suitor before she will have sex with him, and that challenge takes the form of hide-and-seek with metamorphoses... (I prefer this version from Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland to the one in Child).


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: mack/misophist
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 10:57 AM

I'm not German, but the LEO dictionary gives little lambkin for haschen w/umlaut, and for that form has an idiom - to fish for compliments. With a haughty princess involved, I suspect the idiom may play an important part.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 10:57 AM

http://www.ip.kyusan-u.ac.jp/J/noguti/kai1-37/kai-zf/37umenai.htm states that "Meerhäschen" in some cases has the meaning of "Kaninchen" (rabbit), but in this case it should be an animal with the latin name "Apiysia kurodai" (whatever this is - I couldn't find anything on that)

MudGuard from Munich, Germany


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 11:01 AM

misophist: "Häschen" is a small "Hase" (Hase = hare).
"haschen" is quite a different word, its pronounciation is very different not only because of the umlaut, but also because the sch is one sound in haschen, and two sounds (s and ch) in "Häschen".

MudGuard


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Jeanie
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 11:04 AM

I've been looking in the same place, Mudguard ! I also found a drawing of one on http://wissdok.de/kurioses/monster/imagepages/meerhase.html and another reference to it "resembling a small cuttle-fish" (which that picture certainly doesn't !)

More to follow... maybe ...

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Jeanie
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 11:24 AM

Aplysia kurodai is a sea slug ! Photos of these beauties can be found on www.sea-slug.com/species/umisusi207/htm

Looking at the photos, I suppose their various protuberances could look a bit like hare's ears, hence the name.

Sea slugs have their own version of Mudcat: The Sea Slug Forum on www.seaslugforum.net/seahchem.htm

I wouldn't mind having one for a pet, anyway...they don't look as though they would be much trouble !

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 11:36 AM

Why were you looking in the same place? Same search-engine? I used Google...

MudGuard


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 12:46 PM

MudGuard: states that "Meerhäschen" in some cases has the meaning of "Kaninchen" (rabbit), but in this case it should be an animal with the latin name "Apiysia kurodai" (whatever this is - I couldn't find anything on that)

Jeanie: Aplysia kurodai is a sea slug!

[snip]

Looking at the photos, I suppose their various protuberances could look a bit like hare's ears, hence the name.

I wouldn't mind having one for a pet, anyway...they don't look as though they would be much trouble !

Neither would I... in a a fish tank. I don't think I'd feel much need to carry in my arms as I look out on my kinggdom for an entire day, or to let it crawl up on my shoulder, right against my neck, though (which is what the princess in this story does). And I don't think a sea slug would be happy with that arrangement, either.

.... I just read an altavista translation of the Web page Mudguard posted, and while the author makes the argument that a sea slug does make sense, because it is smaller (i.e. easier to hide) and more exotic than an ordinary rabbit, it still comes across as rather odd, especially since the transformation takes place in a mountain forest. So I'll just stick to "rabbit"

This story reminds me of another I've read from a collection of Scandinavian tales. I don't have the collection within reach at the moment, but I think the story is from Finland...

In this story, a young man also wishes to marry a princess, and she agrees to -- if he can hide from her while she looks in a magic mirror (? I think -- I'll have to go back and reread it). An old wise man/mentor wishes to help the young man, and so gives him a spell that opens up the hearts of creatures so he can hide inside. First, he hides in the heart of a bear, but the princess recognizes that the bear is acting differently, so she calls him out. So next, he hides in the heart of a rabbit, but again, she finds him. At last, the young man opens the heart of the princess and hides there, and because she herself has changed, she doesn't recognize it, and so admits defeat. Then the young man comes out and says: "I was here all along."

...Awww...

A much more romantic ending, but the story leading up to that point is rather weak, so I'm using the Grimms' story instead.

Anyway, there is a European cousin of the story where the rabbit shows up, even if it's not the final answer.

And, hey! Thanks guys!


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Mr Red
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 07:58 PM

Thread drift on
I am looking for help with several languages. I have a few pages of FAQ's on my site cresby.com and the Spanish & French are woeful but then I blame Babelfish,
Anyone keen to have a look at the German page and tell me what is wrong?
TIA


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 09:07 PM

CapriUni - 'Meerhäschen'(= small 'sea rabbit' or 'sea hare') is unknown to me and so is the story you mentioned. If it is from the Brothers Grimm I will have to admit that I don't know their stories.

What I know is a 'Meerschweinchen' (= small 'sea pig'). I had to look up the english expression 'guinea pig' in a dictionary. At least english and german agree that the rodent in question should be thought of as some kind of pig...

If I'm not completely unaware of my native tongue I can state that 'Meerhäschen' is deliberate nonsense. A correct translation should be 'guinea rabbit' (the same way as 'Meerschweinchen' was perverted to 'Meerhäschen'). Why 'mongoose'?

Hope that helps.

Joerg


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 10:03 PM

Joerg,

I don't know why "mongoose" (which is a member of the civet family, native to India, semi-domesticated and kept for the purpose of killing venomous snakes)...

Except maybe the translator decided that the animal in question should be exotic, as the author of the webpage Mudgaurd posted suggested... And it certainly makes more sense as an exotic animal than a sea-slug, given the context of the story (As my dad pointed out, if you put 'Aplysia kurodai' on display in a public market stall, it wouldn't be a sea-slug for very long -- it would be a dead little puddle thing)...

But guinea (sea)pig works, too... it fulfills the exotic catagory (they are native to South America) they are smaller than a rabbit (weighing about a kilo at their largest), they are cute and cuddly (mongooses are famous for being viscious), and they like to climb on people.

So, here's the $64,000 question: How did the story #191 get the title "Das Meerhäschen", anyway?


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 02:44 AM

It is a type of "Sea Lice" not much different than the "Sea Monkeys" (but much bigger) sold at the back of American Comix and advertised as entertaining and fun for the entire family.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 02:49 AM

Joerg -

häschen can also mean a "bunny" i.e. "playboy"

häschen can also refer to "smoke" as in "hasher"....so....while it won't fit with the story....."Sea Smoke" could be viable version of "pipe-dream."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 04:25 AM

Meer-häs-chen is diminutive of Meerhase. This in some German dictionaries is also Seehase, Colypterus lumpus, an ugly fish I would not like to keep as a pet.
Having scrutinized all dictionaries at our University Library, I found two entries what a Meerhäschen is:
A fairy tale from Eastern Europe, retold by the Grimm brothers; follows a short outline of the story. Bad luck.
Now let us consider the description of the animal: It is pretty, and small enough not to be noticed immediately when climbing the princess to hide under her braids.
So Joerg's suggestion seems quite probale to me. The guinea pig got its German name Meerschweinchen = sea pig because it was imported from overseas. There also is a Meerkatze = sea cat, a small kind of ape very appreciated by children. Those names I immediately associate with a sea-rabbit.
Perhaps our sea-hare should be imagined as an undefined small pretty, fluffy, jolly, and maybe bigeyed pet, immediately attracting princesses. The connection of a hare, or the smaller rabbit, changed in the waters of a magic well, with the watery sea hints to a far place of origin making it valuable too. So every listener may make up a pet of his own like when hearing the tale.
By the way: I would prefer sea rabbit instead of the hare, because it sounds fluffier to me.

Wilfried

P.S. - But there is a rabbit looking member of the guinea pig family: the Mara, or Pampas Hare. This would not fit under the braids of the maid - but the Grimm brothers are known to have changed some aspects of their tales ad usum Delphini. If were a prince changed into a small pet I knew where I should hide: under her wide skirts, by the way having a jolly good look. I am sure the fox would give me this advice, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Jeanie
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 04:39 AM

I don't know whether any of you have looked at the website I posted here yesterday, which has an old woodcut drawing of a Meerhase (as opposed to the photo of the sea-slug !). I reckon this is what the Brothers Grimm are talking about: a Mer-hare (like a mer-maid) half hare, half fish. Here's the website with the drawing:

http://wissdok.de/kurioses/monster/imagepages/meerhase.html

I wouldn't mind having him nestling anywhere about my person !!

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 04:41 AM

Another thing to consider:

The Grimm brothers lived in the late 18th, early 19th century (1785-1863/1786-1859), i.e. about 200 years ago.

And some of the stories the two collected are probably a bit older than that.

Could the German name for a guinea pig have changed from Meerhäschen to Meerschweinchen since then?
At the moment I do not know where to find a dictionary of German at that time...

MudGuard

PS: Mr. Red, I will have a look at your page tonight.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Jeanie
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 06:29 AM

Mudguard, I think you're on the right track !

English, German, Dutch and French all have -pig for "guinea pig" (Schweinchen, zwijn, cochon) plus either Meer- or Guinea or Indes, indicating where the animal came from... BUT, Spanish is different and calls it a "little rabbit from the Indes" - conejillo de Indias. "Conejillo" is a little rabbit or bunny - much more cuddly.

So guinea pig is a very likely contender for what the creature in the story might be. Clearly, when these creatures first arrived in Europe (I read that this was in the 1500s) nobody knew what to call them - I've always thought they are very *unlike* pigs.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 07:40 AM

Thanks for all this info, folks!

Interesting about the etomology of "guinea-Indes-Sea-pig" According to my American Heritage Dictionary, "Guinea" is often used as a prefix for anything from a far away, exotic location. Is "meers-" used the same way in German?

Also, there is a note that perhaps 'Guinea' is an alteration of 'Guiana' (a region in South America) -- could the same be said of "Indes"? Was it originally "Andes" (whether pig or bunny)? Since the Spaniards were the first Europeans to really colonize South America and come upon the beasties... they would have a clearer idea that they were more closely related to rabbits than pigs. The only pig-like thing about them that I can think of is that when they're happy, they sometimes make a little grunting sound...

And you're right, Jeanie, I didn't check the picture, yesterday. But I have, now. It looks a bit as if a monk from that time read a description of a sea-slug as "being a small sea creature with rabbit-like 'ears' on its head" and tried to make sense of it.

It is rather phallic, isn't it? ... are you sure you'd like to snuggle with it anywhere on your person, or in one particularly cozy place?

Makes me think that Wilfried is right when he imagines the real place the fox would suggest for the prince's hiding place. After all, they were taking stories from the folk tradition and changing them quite a bit to appeal to an upper-middle-class readership, so I can imagine how the original advice might have been to "nestle in her hair", and the brothers just conveniently changed which bit of hair the fox was referrring to.

Now, if the hair being hidden in was of the curlier sort, it would certainly explain why the princess was suddenly happy to get married -- "He can hide in places I've never imagined, and he's so talented!" ;-)

(and I was wrong yesterday, when I first looked up "sea-hare" it was in my Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia).


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 08:18 AM

Indes - I'd guess it comes from the West Indies, a Caribbean group of islands, I think in French they are called (Ouest) Indes.

Guyana would be not too far from there, while Guinea is is in Africa.
Guyana/Guinea could be mixed up esp. when heard, not read...

Now, if the hair being hidden in was of the curlier sort, it would certainly explain why the princess was suddenly happy to get married -- "He can hide in places I've never imagined, and he's so talented!" ;-)
But what would he want to do and why would it make the princess so happy if he were in the princess's arm pits? ;-)

MudGuard


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 11:16 AM

But what would he want to do and why would it make the princess so happy if he were in the princess's arm pits? ;-)

Well, isn't it obvious?

She's ticklish.

But she's been so obsessed with knowing everything between heaven and the deep blue sea that she hasn't laughed in years... all she needed was a little (comic) relief...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 02:15 PM

Mr Red, I sent you a Private Message with the translations.

CapriUni, no, it was not obvious to me... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 02:35 PM

Being neither an expert at hares nor at fairytales I suggest the following solution: 'Meerhase' or 'Seehase' (Cyclopterus lumpus) is a north atlantic fish, whose (black) eggs are used as a caviar ersatz in Germany ('Deutscher Kaviar'). Such an egg (a 'Meerhaeschen'?) could easily hide itself (remember: it's fairytale!) in the hair of a princess - couldn't it ?!?


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 02:44 PM

I suppose it could, Stefan... but any fish would have the same problem as a sea-slug: take it out of water and it would quickly deflate.

Besides, I thought of something else: the author of that article Mudguard posted mentioned that the prince who succeeds is #100 -- the number of completeness. Well, the first place he hides is in a Raven's egg (air), the second place he hides is inside a fish (water)... to complete the triad he'd need to hide in some way that represents earth... so a guinea pig/ would fit that better than another kind of fish...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 02:51 PM

"bunny" should, of course, be inserted after the '/'...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MMario
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 03:10 PM

As far as the problem of either fish or sea-slug not being capable of living out of water - hey, we *are* talking fairytale here. The prince is already changing into various animals - why not one that can survive out of its natural habitat?

But the guinea pig idea has merit - they DO like to nestle in hair. (and trim sideburns when they are bored)


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 06:10 PM

It's a bit of a misconception that anything can happen in a wonder tale, especially in a version by the Grimms... remember, their training was as lawyers, and they were retelling the stories as German propaganda -- to promote rationality and other social values they deemed "proper" (their heroines got meeker and more dutiful in each subsequent edition, for example [in my retellings, they're shifting back to the uppity end of the spectrum]).

Yes, magical things happen, but there is a logic behind every one of them. Every good deed is rewarded, bad deeds are punished, and the punishments fit the crimes... and creatures generally remain true to their basic natures. The birds who help Aschenputtel (Cinderella, or Ashley Pelt) get her work done in time to go to the ball, for example, do so in a very bird-like way: pecking at seeds and ash -- no Disney-fied singing mice in sight!


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: mack/misophist
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 10:32 PM

Capri Uni, I must ask. Where did you get your information about the Brothers Grimm? All my life I have heard that they were philogists who collected the stories to study language shifts. And that, indeed, the stories they gathered provided the data for Grimm's Law of Indo-European Vowel Shifts. As a matter of fact, my copy of Grimm's 'original' tales rather rubs one's nose in it.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 09 Jul 02 - 12:47 AM

I got my information from a book I picked up from the local library: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World by Jack Zipes (1988), especially the first chapter, which was based on a speach Zipes gave at some university or other, iirc.

I just checked Amazon for the listing here, and saw that it is currently out of print, but is planned to be reissued as a second edition in both hardcover and paperback in December of this year.

They were philogists who collected fairy tales to study language shifts, but they first got interested in those language shifts when they started studying the history of German law -- how the then near-fuedal system of German city states got encoded into law, and, more important, how they might get out of that system...

A bit like our discussion of "sea-guinea-rabbit-pig" in this thread (i.e. "This is what the wording of law X means now, but what did this wording mean when law X was first thought up?"). It didn't take long for them to realize that studying the language and the stories that language was a lot more interesting than law, and not just more interesting to them, but also "civilians". o they shifted their focus to the stories fairly early... (I think they made a good call on that one ;-))

But they did start out studying law...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wolfgang
Date: 09 Jul 02 - 04:35 AM

The animal is described as 'niedlich' so it can't be a fish, can it? My wild guess is that 'Meerhäschen' is either an old name for (or a mistake in retelling) 'Meerkatze' or also 'Meerkätzchen', mentioned above by Wilfried. 'Meerkatze' is guenon.

My books are all in boxes right now so I can't look in 'Brehm's Tierleben' which is a likely candidate for corroboration if I should be right.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 09 Jul 02 - 06:06 AM

misophist - Grimm Bros. lawyers? - They were registered at Marburg University as students of jurisprudence (1802 and 1803). Jacob served his native country as member of the War Council and private librarian to king Jérome Bonaparte. In 1848 he was member of the Frankfurt Parliament.
Both were librarians in Kassel, the North Hessian Metropolis, and started as a sort of early "mudcatters", collecting German folk songs (still not yet published) like their friends Arnim and Brentano (published their famous collection "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" = the boy's magic horn).
Soon they were called to Goettingen (the university of Hanover) as professors for German philology.

Jeanie - Thanks for the Meerhase picture. This is no mythological animal like Pegasus et al., but a fiction of seafaring people spinning their yarns to baffle the landlubbers. Style of the image leads to 16th century.

CapriUni - You're right, we have to look up the word in older dictionaries of their time. In Grimms' own dictionary the entry Meerhase is a reference to Adelungs dictionary (18th century): Here it's the bloody fish (lumpus) again.
Your'e also right in your statement about the logic in fairy tales. Some times we consider as magic what we don't understand anymore. In the "fairy" tales we find believings and everyday life of our ancestors; calendar stories and initiation rites going back till the late stone age.
"meers-", correctly Meer- is used to denote everything which has a connection to the Ocean first. The Meerschweincen (guinea pig) is the only case in German I know where Meer- is used for an animal coming a long way over the sea, not out of it.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 09 Jul 02 - 06:38 AM

Meer
~fahren Seaside
~busen Gulf
~boden Fauna
~flora Flora
~forshung Oceanography
~friheit Freedom
~grund Seabed
~hohe Climate
~spiegel Climate
~klima ~kunde Oceanography
~leuchten Phosphorescence
~oberlache Surface
~stille Calm
~strand Seashore
~strass Waterway
~stromun Current
~tiefe Depth
~gott God
~gottin Goddess
~grun Green
~jungfer jungfrau Mermaid
~katze Monkey guenon
~retich Horsewradish
~saiz Salt
~schaumfeife Pipe
~spine Crab Spider
~umschlung Seabound
~umgeheuer Monster
~wasser Water

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 Jul 02 - 08:26 AM

Thanx Mudgaurd
Danka
merci
I have been embroiled in some Pagemaker scripting (don't ask)... and boy does PM7 look almost as dated as PM5 but the germaine text will be posted 2day.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 09 Jul 02 - 01:25 PM

Wolfgang: The animal is described as 'niedlich' so it can't be a fish, can it?

I dunno... maybe to another fish, it could... But, as I said earlier, the prince has already hidden inside the belly of a fish, so that would be a little redundant...

Off to Google, to see if I can find a picture of a Meerkatze, so I know what we're talking about (babel fish had no idea).


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 03:00 AM

Could it be that it just don't make *sense* asking what *real* existing animal is meant by 'Meerhaeschen' - just like asking which *real existing* (human?) being could be meant by 'Rumpelstielzchen' (Rumplestilzkin - by the way another diminutive: '-chen') Why not leave it to (children's) fantasy to *imagine* what might be a 'Meerhaeschen' so tiny that it can hide in the hair of somebody)? Couldn't it be the Grimm's *motivation* to pick up a name which they themselves may have heard somewhere (i.e. from the 28. chapter of Jean Paul's 'Flegeljahre' who himself takes the name for a heading, but doesn't relate to it anywhere in his text, perhaps out of the same motivation!?), but didn't even know the exact animal behind the word (or - if they knew - could imagine that readers/listening children couldn't know about the exact meaning, may it be a snail or a fish or anything). In shorter words: 'Meerhaeschen' only being used as a means to stimulate the reader's /listener's imagination !?!


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 06:56 AM

That could very well be, Stefan... Especially since "Das Meerhäschen" didn't appear until the later editions of the collection.

'Rumpelstielzchen' isn't exactly a good comparison, though, as we are told what kind of creature he is (or at least, what he looks like): a little human being. And besides, Rumpelstielzchen is a proper name. I'd be equally frustrated trying to figure out what kind of beast you are if I tried looking up "Stefan Wirz" in my Natural History field guide...

Off to reread that web page posted by Mudguard... maybe Google will have a clearer translation than babel fish.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 07:31 AM

No such luck. The passase:

Aber das Märchen wurde in der letzten siebten Ausgabe (1857) gegen „Meerhäschen" ausgewechselt. Über die Auswechslung kommentiert Heinz Rölleke folgendes: „Am 29.4.1857 schreibt Wilhelm Grimm an Josef Haltrich in Rumänien, KHM 191 in den Ausgaben von 1843 und 1850 erinnere zu stark an den Polyphen-Mythos und sollte daher als nicht typisch deutsch eliminiert werden; um die Lücke zu füllen, bittet er Haltrich um Erlaubnis, dessen Sammlung Deutsche Volksmärchen aus dem Sachsenlande in Siebenbürgen (1856) benutzen zu dürfen, und entnimmt daraufhin dessen Nr. 38 » Von der Königstochter, die aus ihrem Schlosse alles in ihrem Reich sah«".

Was translated as:

But the fairy tale was replaced in the last sieved expenditure (1857) against?Meerhaeschen ". Over replacing Heinz Roelleke the following commentates: William Grimm writes 29,4,1857 Josef Haltrich in Romania, KHM 191 in the expenditures of 1843 and 1850 reminds too strongly of the Polyphen myth and should not therefore as be not typically German eliminated; in order to fill the gap, he asks Haltrich for permission, whose collection infers German people fairy tales from the Saxonia country in filter defiency guarantees (1856) to use to be allowed, and thereupon its No. 38 "of the king daughter, who saw everything from its lock in their realm" ".

So.... does this mean that the story was removed from the last edition because it wasn't German enough? Picky, picky...

Not exactly sure what "Polyphen Myth" is. The closest I could find in my American Dictionary was Polyphemus, the Cyclops that imprisoned Odysseus and his crew, and almost had them for supper (literally) until Odysseus blinded him... I guess I see a connection, kinda, sorta, but it's a mighty big stretch., in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 07:45 AM

LOL:
siebten = seventh, not sieved...

It is really amazing what machines do...
Another bug: Ausgabe = edition, not expenditure

The rest is also very far from a translation...

The "Meerhäschen"-Fairytale came into the collection in the seventh edition, some other story was taken out.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 07:49 AM

Don't know what drives me to dig further - but anyhow ;-): Found the following sentance at http://www.members.aon.at/fresh/maerchen/josef_haltrich.htm (it's in German, again!): "Das Meerhäschen ist die dem Wasser entsteigende Wolke, die sich um das Haupt der Sonne, unter ihren Zopf d. i. ihre Strahlen legt und so ihrem Allblick entgeht." roughly translated by SW: "The 'Meerhäschen' is the cloud emerging from the water, which lays down around the head of the sun, underneath her plait [braid?] i.e. her shaft of light and by this escapes her 'Allblick' [old expression meaning 'seeing everything'; is there something like 'all-eye' in english?]


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 10:41 AM

Addendum: You can read the original Saxonian fairytale 'Von der Koenigstochter, die aus ihrem Schlosse alles in ihrem Reiche sah' as collected by Josef Haltrich at http://www.members.aon.at/fresh/maerchen/index.htm and have a look at the original book-pages at http://sun250.biblio.etc.tu-bs.de/2005-3341/start.htm (Go to pages 88 ff.)
Sorry - all in German again !
Stefan


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 12:05 PM

The 'Meerhäschen' is the cloud emerging from the water, which lays down around the head of the sun, underneath her plait [braid?] i.e. her shaft of light and by this escapes her 'Allblick' [old expression meaning 'seeing everything'; is there something like 'all-eye' in english?]

Fascinating .... Absolutely fascinating!

A few years ago a friend of mine lent me a book (now out of print) entitled O, Mother Sun! A New View of the Cosmic Feminine by Patricia Monaghan (1984) that puts forth the thesis (rather convincingly, I thought) that in the earliest religions, the Sun Deity was a female Goddess instead of a male God, and that the golden rays of the sun are the strands of Her hair (which is why so many fairy tale princesses are blonde), and/or that the rays of light from the sun are the threads the heroine is so often spinning (as in the Rumpelstielzchen story you mentioned). Wells are also important images associated with the sun because they are round (like the sun), and reflect the sun's image in the surface of their water, thereby bringing the sun's power to earth (and the fox and the prince jump into a well to change their forms).

Rather nice, I think, to find another author putting forth a similiar thesis.

This is actually the "second edition" of this collection; I did the first one a couple of years ago. I'm illustrating this editiion (which got me thinking about what a 'Meerhäschen' looks like -- even if I don't actually do a picture of one for the final draft).

Anyway, I picked #191 because of the queen's (in the original, her parents don't even make an appearance, and she's the one making all the rules, so I gave her an upgrade from "princess" ;-)) sun-like qualities -- up in her high tower (in the sky), the twelve windows that look out in all directions echo the twelve months of the year, and are like the rays of the sun.

And yes, when this thing is finished, I will put a copy up in the Mudcat Auction... probably a little before Christmas (that's when people start really wanting to tell stories).

I'll check out that story... And I'll come back here for the real translation when babel fish has a breakdown ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 12:32 PM

Well, because I already knew a version that was translated by a human being, I was able to make sense of the story, and to tell that it was the same story I first learned in college (the one where the translater substituted "mongoose" for sea-rabbit).

But I just had to share this bit that gave me a good laugh:

The fox vibrated precariously the head and spoke: "TC, that is a heavy piece; but stop, I hab's! Consequence me!"

:::Chuckle:::


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 01:36 PM

Could you give the original line for that fox stuff?

Do foxes use vibrators? ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 02:23 PM

Here is the original German:

"Der Fuchs schüttelte bedenklich das Haupt und sprach: 'Hm, das ist ein schweres Stück; doch halt, ich hab's ! Folge mir!'"

Do foxes use vibrators? ;-)

I don't know... but perhaps that's another bit of evidence supporting Wilfried's theory about where the special hiding place really is...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 03:08 PM

"Der Fuchs schüttelte bedenklich das Haupt und sprach: 'Hm, das ist ein schweres Stück; doch halt, ich hab's ! Folge mir!'" A 'Ger-man-made' translation could be: "The fox apprehensively shook his head and spoke: 'Hm, seems like a difficult job/task; but wait, I see ! Follow me!'" Does that make any sense?


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 03:08 PM

LOL...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 03:12 PM

LOL to the original German and the Google translation, not to your posting, Stefan, which did not exist when I posted...

Btw, where in Germany are you from?

Greetings from Munich,
MudGuard


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 03:25 PM

MudGuard,
I reside in Hannover - home of the CHANCELLOR !
greetings to Munich - home of the candidate ;-)
Stefan


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 03:29 PM

home of the candidate but hopefully not the next chancelor (on the other hand - we in Bavaria would get rid of him here...)

Greetings to Hannover! MudGuard (Andreas)


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 04:48 PM

A 'Ger-man-made' translation could be: "The fox apprehensively shook his head and spoke: 'Hm, seems like a difficult job/task; but wait, I see ! Follow me!'" Does that make any sense?

Makes perfect sense... And I think I see where the machine tripped up: "apprensively" = "precariously" ...sort of (if you're in a precarious situation, you get aprehensive); "Shook" = "Vibrated" (very, very slowly) "Diffecult" = "hard"... Is 'hard' a similar word to 'heavy', in German? "Follow" = "consequence" because a consequence is something that follows (comes after, in time, at least) a cause...

With Babel Fish and MegaHal as examples, I think it will be a long, long time before we get intelligent artificial intelligence....


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 04:58 PM

heavy = schwer (heavy-weight)

hard = hart (hard as metal) or schwierig (difficult)


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MudGuard
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 05:00 PM

The moment I had hit the submit-Button I noticed something:

difficult can be translated as "schwierig" as well as "schwer".


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 08:49 PM

I figured it was something like that... languages often have double meanings for several words, and which one you choose depends on context.

But translation engines only pick one meaning per word, and they can't tell context from a hole in the ground...

So half the time (at least), the meaning they spit back at you will be the wrong choice...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 01:51 AM

häschen to catch, to snatch Hugo Pocket Dictionary 1935....previous postings were from Collins 1975.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 02:49 AM

Interesting, Garg, Thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 02:49 AM

Interesting, Garg, Thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 16 Jul 02 - 10:24 AM

No, no, no, Garg!

Throw away your pocket dictionary!
Haschen (NOT häschen) means to snatch, to catch. It is separated ha-schen. Nowadays it also can mean to smoke hashish.
Häschen (with the umlaut, bunny) is a diminutive of Hase(rabbit)and is separated Häs-chen.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Jul 02 - 01:21 PM

Thanks for the clarification, Wilfried!

What is it about pocket dictionaries, anyway? They seem to be a low tech version of babel fish... right only about half the time, if you are lucky...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 09:41 AM

A new animal to throw into the discussion; when I looked into the cage into my younger daughter's room I saw a small, furry, nosey, and cuddly little beast liking to climb everywhere. How about a hamster?
But resuming the discussion and browsing through the remarks of the native speakers, the best is not to ask about the exact name of the animal in question and to imagine any which suits the description given above.
I now remember what I imagined when I heard the tale as a child: Since it came out of a well and was called after the sea, I thought of the Meerhäschen as a wet bunny.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 10:26 AM

I now remember what I imagined when I heard the tale as a child: Since it came out of a well and was called after the sea, I thought of the Meerhäschen as a wet bunny.

:::Chuckle::: That makes sense...

Certainly, nothing like a Mongoose at all...

You know, I first came across this tale in college, (in a fourth-year level course on fairy tales), and the professor who taught it was a stickler for academic standards. So when he picked a translation, I just assumed it was the most accurate available.

But now that I have easy access to other translations, I discover that the translator made arbitrary changes in at least two of the stories: substituting "Mongoose" for "sea hare", just because (it seems) it made more sense to him; and in "Hans My Hedgehog", completely changing the scene where Hans punishes the first princess -- the daughter of the false king (In the original, he rips off her gown, and cuts her with his quills... in the translation I read, Hans buys a fancy coat for himself, which he takes off in the carriage -- releasing his quills. I can see no other reason for this than the first version was too sexual and/or violent for Mr. Manheim's sensibilities).

This discovery, of course, puts the whole translation, which I studied so carefully, with highlighters and notes in the margin, into question...

:::Sigh:::


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 08:20 AM

I can see no other reason for this than the first version was too sexual and/or violent for Mr. Manheim's sensibilities

Don't forget that the Grimm Bros. themselves started to bowdlerize some of their tales because of this reason. A good example is Rapunzel.
She was visited during her seclusion by a prince, and gess what they did? Must have something to do with the fact that she gave birth to twins later on.
But the witch guarding her noticed those intimacies by a slip of Rapunzel's tongue! Bloody nonsense. As I told my eldest daughter: "Remember how mama looked before she gave birth to your sister? That was the way the old hag detected it!"
I'm sure there are other changes ad usum delphini in the tales, but it is too much time gone since I read them.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 10:29 AM

Don't forget that the Grimm Bros. themselves started to bowdlerize some of their tales because of this reason. A good example is Rapunzel.

Oh, I know... But the interesting thing about the Grimms' retellings is that they put out seven editions of their collection between 1812 and 1857. Here is a paragraph by paragraph comparison between the 1812 version and 1857 version of Rapunzel translated by professor D. L. Ashliman.

He has the same sort of comparison for Hans my Hedgehog... and no fancy coat appears in either version. Then again, for some reason, the translation we used in class was of the 1819 edition (perhaps because that was the largest edition [?] 210 tales, total), so maybe they put the coat in, then took it out again... But I find it unlikely that they would make the story more violent in the final version when they had edited out that violence in the second version... but maybe...

In any case, they set a precedent that makes me more comfortable with making changes of my own... especially when their heroines are too much like glass figurines to be believable...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 08:36 AM

Final solution found? Let's hope so.

Another conjecture I wanted to throw in is the marmot or woodchuck (Am.), in German: Murmeltier, but I dont do it - because today I was visited by a researcher in sagas, myths and fairy tales. He is a German, but was born in Romania and lived there in his youth in the Banat, a German speaking part of the land.
When asked whether he knew the tale of the Meerhäschen, and what sort of an animal it could be, he answered: yes, we called it so, but you call it a Meerschweinchen = guinea pig in Germany.
He saw the Meerhäschen in his youth when it was used on the markets by travelling diviners with their trade. This animal picked little papers out of a box which held the answers to the questions the diviner was asked.

Wilfried

P.S. The marmot in former times was used by hurdygurdy men for dancing to their music (there even is a song about it written by the great Goethe).


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 11:01 AM

It helps to read the story (use the link in the first post). The fox and the lad jump into a spring and are changed into a merchant and a Meerhaschen, "a sea-hare." But Meer can refer to fresh water, as well as to the salt sea, can't it?

So the lad is changed into some kind of fresh-water creature. Then he hides in the princess' hair. How could a rabbit, guinea pig or hamster hide in her hair? Couldn't. But a little slug could. After all, they hide themselves in the garden very well, as any peasant would know.

So I say that the meerhaschen is a fresh-water invertebrate, probably with feelers that look a bit like a rabbit's ears.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: MMario
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 11:07 AM

well - yes, I know from experience a guinea-pig or hamster could indeed hide in hair - or a beard. I've seen it done. A rabbit, if full grown might be difficult.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 08:27 AM

Come on, Leeneia, be fair - I just gave a reference by a native speaker grown up in the country the fairy tale is reported to come from. And that is a stronger evidence than guesses.
A well, pool, or even a kettle containing water often stands for the place of birth and rebirth (esp. in Celtic mythology); and like the fox is transformed into a human beeing and not into a mermaid, so the lad must not be necessarily change into a slug or another slimy water animal.
Rereading the story again as you proposed, I found:
The youth had to dip himself in the water also, and was changed into a small sea-hare. The merchant went into the town, and showed the pretty little animal, and many persons gathered together to see it.
Beg your pardon, but what do you think is so pretty about a slug that the people gather together to see it?

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 11:07 AM

As for "pretty", maybe these animals have pretty shells.

But the main point of the story is how the suitor and and magician dealt with the cruel princess and her magic windows. By hiding in her hair, a part of herself that she could not see out the window, they got the better of her. Her feelings about the creature in her hair are unimportant.

It's interesting to think that if we didn't have good-quality mirrors, none of us would know what our own hair looks like.


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 09:53 PM

G'day all,

There is a recurring mention of mongoose: I might mention the the meerkat (literally "sea-cat" ... in Dutch/Afrikaans?) is a social breed of mongoose - unless you get on the wrong side of it!

A drift from "sea-hare" to "sea-cat" is quite in line with our own confusion of the two ... maybe all traceable to the Latin for "hare" = lepus ~ le pus(s). Maybe pet meerkats were popular ... no worse that pet ferrets ...

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Jan 03 - 12:23 AM

Hey, wow! This thread has been revived! Cool!

Wilfried -- thank you for relaying the story from your friend... I was leaning toward "Ginea Pig" for the translation, based on our earlier discussions... It just seemed the best fit. Now I have firmer evidence for my choice... would you mind PM'ing this person's name, and where he teaches / studies folklore, so that I can credit him in the introduction to my retelling?

Leenea -- actually, how the queen feels about the creature is important; she has to be pleased with it enough to want to take in in her arms and carry it with her while she looks out the windows. I really doubt she'd want to do that with a water slug...

Bob Bolton -- perhaps the translater of the version I read in college used your theory to come up with the translation of "mongoose"... I just think it would have been more honest of him to talk a little about how he translated the stories in his introduction...


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 07:11 AM

Final solution: addition

Today I got two references from my visiting researcher:

1. In the East German edition of the Grimm Fairy Tales Meerhäschen is explained as Guinea pig. (Kinder und Hausmärchen / gesammelt durch die Brüder Grimm. - Berlin und Weimar : Aufbau, 1979. - pg. 780)

2. In the Saxon language Meerhäschen denotes the rabbit, a smaller relative of the hare. (Haltrich, Josef: Sächsische Volksmärchen aus Siebenbürgen. - [Repr. of the ed. Berlin, 1856]. - Bukarest : Kriterion, 1971. - pg. 444: sax. Miërhôsen, Miërhâsken = Kaninchen)

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: German 'Catters? Help with translation
From: CapriUni
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 09:40 AM

Thanks, Wilfried!

This further information will be helpful...

And I know rabbits; they are more common in eastern America than hares, and because I do not try to keep "weeds" out of my lawn, like many of my neighbors do, I often have rabbits come visit my yard for a meal... :-) I feel like I'm in a Disney movie, sometimes...


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Mudcat time: 22 October 1:31 PM EDT

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