Le meunier, son fils, et l’ane
A number of the stories that are preserved in Chinuk Wawa have French roots…
As with vocabulary items in the Jargon, this happened for two separate broad reasons. Some of the material came in through the intense participation in Chinook Jargon’s speech community by French Canadians. Other material can be traced to French-speaking missionaries’ usually more literary influence.
Today’s early Kamloops Wawa text is an example of the latter. Just a few months into that newspaper’s lifespan, Father Le Jeune (a native of Brittany in France) took a couple of pages to share this nice example of expressive Jargon. As a likely source for Le Jeune’s knowing it, it’s one of La Fontaine’s tales, and a worthy read, even with a couple of illegible gaps.
My English translation below tries to give you the colloquial flavor that the Chinook Jargon rendering has. (Notice that it makes the French donkey into a more familiar BC mule!)
(Bracketed stuff seemed somewhat legible to me; asterisks indicate less confidence in my reading of it; “Menier” is a misspelling of “Meunier”.)
<Le Menier, son fils, et l’âne.>
The Miller, His Son, and the Donkey
Iht man iaka mitlait mula: iaka tiki sillim ukuk mula; kakwa iaka mamuk
One man he have mule: he want sell that mule; so he make
A certain man had a mule: he wanted to sell this mule; so he
wash ukuk mula pi iaka mamuk kaw iaka lipii pi iaka iskom aias lon stik pi iaka
wash that mule and he make tie his foot and he take very long wood and he
cleaned up the mule and tied up its feet, and he took a long pole and
lolo ukuk mula kanamokst iaka tanas kakwa Shaina man klaska lolo kosho
carry that mule together his child like Chinese men they carry pig
carried the mule together with his son, like Chinese people carry pigs
Tilikom nanitsh klaska pi klaska wawa: “Halo, nanitsh ukuk mokst man
People see them and they say: “Hello, look that two man
People saw them and said: “Hey, look at those two fellas
klaska pak klaska mula: aias taii ukuk mula pi kakwa mula ukuk
they pack their mule: big chief that mule and like mule that
packing their mule around: that mule is the big boss and those
two men are like the mules.”
[Ol man chako shim pi iaka wawa] [ILLEGIBLE] [tiki]*. Pi klaska mash
Old man become shame and he say [ILLEGIBLE] want. And they throw
The old man was ashamed and he said, “[ILLEGIBLE] wants.” And they took the
rop kopa iaka lipii pi klaska raid mokst kanamokst kopa ukuk mula.
rope from his foot and they ride two together on that mule.
rope off its feet and they rode, both together, on the mule.
Hlwima tilikom nanitsh klaska pi klaska wawa: “Nanitsh ukuk tilikom klaska
Other people see them and they say: “Look that people they
Some other people saw them and said: “Look at those guys, they’re
tiki mamuk mimlus klaska mula. Aias klahawiam ukuk mula.”
want make die their mule. Very poor that mule.”
trying to kill their mule. That poor mule!”
Ol man wiht iaka chako shim pi iaka wawa kopa iaka tanas: “Tlus maika
Old man again he become shame and he say to his child: “Good you
The old man was ashamed again, and he told his son: “You
klatwa kopa ilihi pi kopit ixt naika raid.”
go on ground and only one I ride.”
walk on the ground, I’ll ride alone.”
Hlwima tilikom nanitsh klaska pi klaska wawa: “Nanitsh ukuk ol man
Other people see them and they say: “Look that old man
Some more people saw them and said: “Look at that old man.
Kakwa aias taii iaka sit dawn kopa mula, pi ukuk tanas man kakwa
Like big chief he sit down on mule, and that little man like
He’s like some big boss sitting on the mule, and that boy is like
tanas musmus iaka kuli kopa lipii.”
little cow he run on foot.”
a calf running after on foot.”
Ol man wixt chako shim pi iaka wawa kopa iaka tanas: “Tlus alta maika raid
Old man again become shame and he say to his child: “Good now you ride
The old man was embarrassed again and he told his son: “How about you ride
pi naika klatwa kopa lipii.”
and I go on foot.”
now and I walk.”
Wixt xlwima tilikom nanitsh klaska pi klaska wawa: “Nanitsh ukuk
Again other people see them and they say: “See that
Still more people saw them and said: “Look at that
aias papus iaka sit dawn kopa kyutan pi iaka ol man aias klahawiam iaka kuli
big baby he sit down on horse and his old man very poor he run
big baby sitting on the horsey and his elder pitiful and
kopa ilihi.” Iawa ol man iaka wawa: “Tlus klatwa msaika wixat tilikom:
on ground.” There old man he say: “Good go you-folks path people:
walking.” Then the old man said: “Be on your way, people:
alta naika nanitsh wik kata* naika* mamuk kanawi [ILLEGIBLE] tiki mamuk
now I see not how I make all [ILLEGIBLE] want do
now I see there’s no way I can do every [ILLEGIBLE] want to do.
Kopit iht naika tomtom pi wixt ST ( = Sahali Taii) iaka tomtom.
Only one my heart and also God his heart.
I only have one mind and it’s God’s mind too.”
— Kamloops Wawa #12b (21 February 1892), pages 14-15