El Pes’cheir


“The Fisherman”, by C. Carlüs Xheráltsëfiglheu, written of the culture of the Talossan island of Cézembre in preparation for St. Brendan’s Day, translated into Talossan by Iustì Canun and Ma la Mha in 2012.

The Fisherman

The weather was not favourable for the fishermen of Cézembre. Rain beat heavily down on the temporary metal roofing of their simplistic abodes like a persistent beating of a drum. Only a fool would venture out in this horrific weather; as if to affirm the judgement of the islanders, a lightning bolt cut through the dull sky, accompanied by the rumble of displeased clouds. A simply dressed man heaved himself out of his chair and made his way over to the corner of his home; he reached into the alcove with a lit match, taking care to place it centrally. The fire grew slowly, and when he was finally satisfied with its size, he retreated back into his chair, and was content.
El Pes’cheir

Non endreßevent els pes’cheirs da Cézembre.  Pioveva dals cordas sür els tetschen metalici es tempuraes da sieux residençuns simplistici com’iensa detunda d’iens tambour.  Solamint ’n calucjeu rischciadra in acest ümvaireu þorival; come schi àð affirmarh el dischtept dels ínsuleirs, ’n bolt da blitzeu manitzeva el çéu tiern, acompagnhat par el ruclaziun dels nivois zesagradeschti.  ’N vür qi füt viestiçat simplamint se xherveva ut da sieu cadeira es veneva àl cjuing da sieu domeu; o esforçeva l’aucova cün ’n lucifeir enfëuçat, estind várlegeu à setarh-en centralmint.  El féu grültiçeva lintamint, es quand o füt finalmint satisfiat cün ça grülteça, o restrateva à sieu cadeira, es füt contenteu.
It wasn’t long before he noticed a flicker blemishing the dull, grey monotony of the horizon; this was unexpected. Unprepared to disturb the comfortable position in which his aching back was finally satisfied, he did not leave his chair. Instead, he carelessly tapped the surface of the adjacent table, searching for his aging binoculars. The binoculars had belonged to his father and his grandfather before him; consequently one lens had cracked, rendering it useful only as a telescope of unorthodox shape. Through the binoculars he saw the familiar outline of a ship fighting desperately with the ferocious sea. Momentarily, he wore an expression of puzzlement at the novel sight until his gaze fell upon the ship’s flag. Though it was difficult to make out its details, the man had seen the flag many times before and had recognised it immediately. Almost in anticipation of an unforeseen occurrence, he lifted his frame from his old oak chair and grabbed his boots. Non c’estev’iens grültemp avant o trac’hev’iens crenaziun q’interompeva la monotonica tiern es grischun del þorizont; c’esteva unexpectat. Incunt per zestorvarh la posiziun cunfurtaval in qi sieu tersch ac’hind esteva finalmint satisfiat, o non alçeva da sieu cadeira. Anstada, o spendindamint tapeva la surfacea dal maisa axhaçint, çerçind à sieux binoculaes vells. Els binoculaes tignhovent apoartescu à sieu patreu es sieu apa avant o; cunsequamint, viensa lensa tignhova caschcat, qi en rendeva utzil solamint com’iens portavischta da forma estragnh. Trans els binoculaes o videva l’utlignha famiglhar d’iens vaißal kämpfind eflictim cün la mar feroçéa. Momenteir, o apoartev’iensa exprimaziun schmort àl vischta nïef txusca sieu miraziun tombeva pa el vaißal sè drapéu. Ainda qe füt unfaþil à ziçernarh sieux detaileux, el vür tignhova vidat el drapéu muiteux fäts avant es en tignhova reconeiçat strax. Presca come schi in l’anticipaziun d’iensa paßonça unprevidescu, o se leviteva da sieu cadeira vell d’alcina es ignhireva sieux stivelours.
A cumbersome, heavy, and not entirely unexpected knock on the door stole the wiry haired man’s attention. He opened the door, revealing a worried young woman who appeared to be soaked through. “Th…Th…There’s a ship getting close to the island! I…” she broke off in order to catch her breath. ’N frapaziun grotz es non complätsmint unexpectat sür la poarta furteva el vür crespat s’atenziun. O apneva la poarta, expoçind ’n covina questada qi apiareva àð estarh insicaval. “Ja’…Ja’…Ja’iens vaißal atraþind àl ínsula! Éu…” a þauteva per piacarh-se.
“It’s all right, I’ve already seen it. Why don’t you come in, you look a little wet from the rain,” the man replied. Reluctantly, the small woman agreed to the man’s hospitable offer; her dark, dripping hair clung to her face and she tried to wipe it out of her eyes as the man kindly offered her a seat by the fire. “They’re friends, don’t you worry. I’ll head on down to the harbour to greet them. You stay here and get warm; help yourself to some tea. I’d be no gentleman if I sent you on your way in this weather!” He smiled; an expression irregular to his serious and worn face, yet seemingly fitting his perceivably content personality. “I may be some time,” he announced as he opened the door to the pouring rain once more. The woman smiled shyly and nodded. “C’e okinawa, detxa en videveu. ¿Perqet non entrás’t, víu qe tu isch ’n po üd cün la plovia,” el vür rezireva. Niac’hatnéamint, la fru tita agreéva àl vür s’ufra þospitaval; sieux caveglhen fuschti es glopinds avititscheva sieu faça es a atenteva àð estaidrarh-lor da sieux uglhen quand el vür la profreva ’n pläts við el féu. “Os sint amici, non questetz. Véu àl höfneu per graitarh-lor. Fichetz aicì es scaldetz-se; si txubind tenetz-tu dal ceai. ¡Estadréu aucün cavalair schi t’envoiaxhadreu sür tu vej in acest trovatz!” O smaideva; estev’iensa exprimaziun qi für unregular per sieu faça seriös es espuiçada, mas semblamint cuvegnhens à sieu personalità cuntenta sensival. “Sa’starh seréu ut pr’iens temp,” o anunçeva quand apneva la poarta àl pluvoida ’n altreu fäts. La fru smaideva queschéamint es adnuteva.
As he arrived at the dock, the rain finally stopped falling. The ship was nearing the dock now, but the man anticipated it would take the unfamiliar sailors a great deal longer to dock than any experienced Cézembrean so he sat down at the edge of the pier. To his left rested a fishing rod belonging to one of the older islanders who no longer ventured out to sea, so, in order to pass the time he cast the line out to sea and, unconcerned, watched the weight bob. Quand o ariveva àl trespadour, la piova termineva. El vaißal esteva próxim àl trespadour nun, mas el vür anticipieva q’els mastelots unfamiglhaes neçeßadrent del temp pü grült per vincülarh tu vaißal q’ingen Cézembrean vedrain neçeßadra, sa o se sesteva àl voira dal pierada. À sieu sinistrà perçeßev’iensa canavera q’apoarteva à’iens dels ínsuleir pü vells qe non pü rischcieva àl mar, sa, per paßarh el temp o xheteva el drecnuglh àl mar es, unconçernat, mireva el fiot.
By the time the boat had arrived, the fisherman’s hat had dried considerably. He reeled the line in and set it down on the wooden pier; he picked his hat up from his side and placed it firmly on his head. When the first of the boat’s passengers stepped off the boat, the fisherman climbed to his feet and wandered over towards the approaching well-dressed gentleman. The man, whom the fisherman did not recognise, did not greet the unshaven islander; he said quite simply: “Take me to whomever you call ‘Master’, peasant.” Quand el vaißal tignhova arivat, el pes’cheir sè capéu tignhova eschamurcat putrops. O remonteva el drecnuglh es en seteva pa la pierada lignhol; o recampeva sieu capéu da sieu sida es en seteva incuncuß pa sieu cäps. Quand el prüm del vaißal sè viatours stigeva del vaißal, el pes’cheir surgeva à sieux peds es obambuleva värts el cavalair catiu proximind. El vür, qi el pes’cheir non reconeiçeva, non graiteva l’ínsuleir unscarþ; o zía trei simplamint: “Conducta-me à qisevol tu nominás «Mestreu», amaräts.”
The fisherman knew who this man represented, and also knew with whom he wished to speak. “But sir, I…” The fisherman was brutally cut off by a heavy-handed slap to the face, and fell to the ground. By now, the ship’s crew and passengers had left their boat and had joined the gathering crowd of islanders. The local spectators did not understand what was happening, and anger was beginning to burn like a fire in their hearts. El pes’cheir säpeva qi acest vür represanteva, es ocsà säpeva cün qi o veleva parlarh. “Mas segnhor, éu…” El pes’cheir füt sileçat par ‘n avieca grotz, es tombeva àl tzara. À’cest temp, el vaißal s’esqipatx es viatours tignhovent sparchescu es tignhovent entrescu la fola gaderind d’ínsuleirs. Els tigoharens locais non cumprenchevent qet paßeva, es l’iraschença començeva àð ardarh com’iens féu in lors coraziuns.
“I did not ask for you to speak, peasant. I do not serve your master; I serve my own on the mainland. I will not speak to the likes of you.” He began kicking the fisherman who had made no attempt to get up from the floor, and with each kick his doom came ever closer. It did not take long at all before the crowd broke – their anger was unleashed on the ship’s crew and passengers. When the well-dressed mainlander saw the surging crowd, he fled towards the boat along with his crew with fear quite clearly in their eyes. When the crowd had reached the end of the pier and were preparing to board the foreign ship, a single voice could be heard above every other cry of anger. “Non t’as’cheveu à parlarh, amaräts. Non servéu tu mestreu; servéu va propreu sür la tzara principal. Non parlarhéu à’iens come thu.” O començeva à qiqarh el pes’cheir qi non tignhova atentat à súrgarh dal tzara, es cün cadascu cop da phed sieu brüs proximeva pü. Non c’estev’iens grültemp avant qe la fola eistadeva–lor iraschença füt zisamentada sür el vaißal s’esqipatx es viatours. Quand el vür dal tzara principal videva la fola cjainind, o fügeva värts el vaißal cün sieu esqipatx cün del pör clar in sieux uglhen. Quand la fola tignhova destinada el fim dal peirada es prepareva àð urcarh el vaißal utphätsesc, ‘n voce singül pognheva estarh auscultat super cadascu ödra cridaziun d’iraschença.
“Stop!” it bellowed. “This is not how we behave! We do not treat our guests like this, regardless of the ugly mannerisms and prejudices they hold.” Each head turned toward the fisherman who had, amidst the chaos, climbed to his feet once more. “You should know,” he continued, “that I am the one the people of this island look to for leadership, but I need no grandiose titles, no dramatic entrances nor ridiculous costumes in order to prove that. I vow to you, Talossan brother, that no harm will come to you or your crew whilst you are on this island – but know that your prejudice and pretences towards those you deem beneath you will place you socially lower than the very seagulls we cohabit this island with until you can prove to us that you are better. Until then…” The fisherman concluded with a slight tip of his hat, turned and then walked slowly back to his abode. “¡Ceß’acest!” ça berglheva. “¡Acest-cì non isch come noi veþavent! Noi non estruplent noschtri gästs com’acest, instüzös dels manierismeux heßlev’hs es dals praixhúdiças q’os tiennent.” Ca’scu cäps rotatevent värts el pes’cheir, qi tignhova, dürant el c’haós, stigeva à sieux peds ’n altreu fäts. “Tu fost säparh,” o continueva, “q’éu sint l’iens à qi els popuis d’aceasta ínsula mirent per la ducità, mas non neçeßéu dels titleux grandioseux, aucün entreias dramästici ni garbeux ridischlopsen per atestarh acest. Nadoréu à thu, va fratreu Talossan, q’aucün tirt serà zonat à thu eda tu esqipatx quand tu isch sür aceasta ínsula – mas saps-tu qe tu praixhúdiça es tuns praitençuns värts acestilor qi txuxhás àð estarh under dtu te setarhent in ’n nival social pü bäts q’els fuilaes qi chesveuent cün noi aicì, txusca qe povadrás atestarh à nhoi qe tu isch miglhor. Txusca nhoi…” El pes’cheir cuncludeva cün ’n levitaziun polì da sieu capéu, s’inverseva es cupieva à sieu residençù.
The well-dressed man pushed through the crowd and ran towards the shabby fisherman; the fisherman turned and then smiled at the hat that the man had just thrown to the floor. “Please” the man said “I’m so sorry! I did not know… If I’d have known, I…” The man broke off and into tears. “I’ve been disgraced…” he muttered. The fisherman smiled, but did not vocally reply. El vür catiu pußeva trans la fola es corieva värts el pes’cheir sordulént; el pes’cheir inverseva es aglhorc smaideva àl capéu q’el vür veneva da xhetarh àl tavleu. “Perf,” el vür zireva, “éu lament! Non säpeveu… Schi tignhoveu säpescu, éu…” El vür þauteva es zaclineva. “Zeveneveu födat…” o susureva. El pes’cheir smaideva, mas non rezireva vocalmint.
“It would have made no difference if you had known” the fisherman began. “It is what you assumed which showed your true character. You are no better than anyone else… I know that I’m no better than anyone else, and so I don’t pretend to be.” “Ça non veladra tirh facescu ’n ziferençù schi tignhovás säpescu,” el pes’cheir auspicheva. “C’e qet aßumevás qi zeplegeva tu taradnà vräts. Tu non isch miglhor q’ingenviens d’alter… Éu säp q’éu non sint miglhor q’ingenviens d’alter, es sa non praitençéu àð estarh sa.”
“Let me stay here… let me try to change myself so that I can represent the unassuming qualities you and your people do.” The well-dressed man was on his knees now. “Permitetz qe restadréu aicì… permitetz q’atentadréu à cambiarh-se sa qe povadréu representarh las qualitaes unaßuminds da thu es tuns popuis.” El vür catiu esteva superlesch nun.
“They are not only my people, brother, but they are my family. Love the people of your province as if every one of them were your own brother or sister. Alas, you cannot stay here – you do not belong here. However, you will always be welcome here as long as you follow that principle which our island represents. Now, dry your eyes and return to your province. Oh, and before I forget…” The fisherman stopped briefly and walked further along the pier towards the boat. His hand entered the water for a moment, and then emerged once more holding the largest fish that the well-dressed man had ever seen. The fisherman walked over to the well-dressed man and unloaded the large fish into his arms. “…give this to the one you call «Master», won’t you?” he chortled jovially and winked. The well-dressed man smiled and took the fish aboard the ship, thanking the fisherman enthusiastically. “Os non sint solamint vaes popuis, fratreu, mas sint va famiglhà. Ametz els popuis da tu provinçù come schi ca’scu da lhor estadra tu propreu fratreu eda soror. Adás, tu non put restarh aicì – non apoartás aicì. Masmint, imrè serás benvenescu aicì províut qe tenadrás àl principal qi noastra ínsula representa. Nun, estaidra els uglhen es revena àl provinçù la thu. Oh, es avant q’obliadréu…” El pes’cheir piararifteva brevamint es marscheva piusutra lalunga dal pierada värts el c’hanart. Sieu ma entreva l’apa pr’iens momaintsch, es aglhorc surxheva ’n altreu fäts ceafind el pesc el pü grült q’el vür catiu txamais tent videscu. El pes’cheir marscheva àl vür catiu es schciarxheva el pesc grült ainciün sieux brätsilors. “…regala acest à l’iens qi nominás «Mestreu», ¿non?” o c’hic’hignheva aleretzmint es quignheva. El vür catiu smaideva es apoarteva el pesc à bhord el vaißal, ingraschelind el pes’cheir estrambordicmint.
“I’ll be sure to return!” the well-dressed man exclaimed joyously as the ship left the dock. True to his word, the man returned every year after that and was welcomed by the islanders as a long lost brother. He treated others as he wished to be treated, but did not, much to the islanders’ amazement, gain an appetite for pickled herring. “¡Ben sigür recursitarhéu!” el vür catiu ecrieva daletaivlamint quand el vaißal zesparteva del trespadour. Vräts à sieu moct, el vür reveneva ca’scu anneu osprei q’acest es o füt benvenescu par els insuleirs com’iens ac’htal fratreu. O tarschna altreux com’o chera àð estarh tarschnat, mas, hardì àl amçamaintsch dels insuleirs, non becomev’iensa apetença per el þering marinovat.