Northern Khanty

The cuckoo

A folktale relating why cuckoo birds do not build nests and get other birds to raise their young. According to the legend, long ago, a woman lived who had three sons. She did everything for them, but they cared very little in return. One day, she got sick and begged them for water. When the sons didn’t bring her water, she turned into a cuckoo and abandoned her children forever.

Recording: The tale was recorded in Kharsaim in 1993 by Irina Nikolaeva.

Speakers

  • o-s imi. ńil jik-ə-l o-s. ńǟwrem-l-al luw χŏś-el-na än χollət-s-ə-t, χătl χuwat ńŏχəmti-l-ə-t, jän-l-ə-t laś χŏśa, aləŋ säχat ewəlt ila pela măsa-t-na am-el χŏśa än ńat-s-ə-t. jŏχi ji-l-ə-t pǟ wăj-l-al jiŋk-ə-t, malśaŋ-l-al jiŋk-ə-t, pas-l-al jiŋk-ə-t am-el elti sar-ə-l-ta mä-s-l-ə-t. am-el elti śokat-ə-s śiməś ol-ə-psi ewəlt. śiti ol-t-al ewəlt mosaŋ-ŋi ji-s pǟ χoj-ə-s. śi χoj-ə-l. imăsa păraj-ə-t-na jiŋk jiś-ta li-ta pit-s-a. “ńǟwrem-ə-t, juw-a-ti sǟ, män-em jiŋk mij-a-ti. tur-am sarəs. män-em jiŋk tuw-a-ti”. ǟr pus waχ-s-ə-lli ńǟwrem-l-al, ńǟwrem-l-al änt ji-l-ə-t. wul jik-ə-l lǟw-ə-l: “mǟ wäj-l-am äntam-ə-t”. kimət jik-ə-l lǟw-ə-l: “mǟ mil-am äntam”. χolmət jik-ə-l lǟw-ə-l: “mǟ măsaj-l-am äntam-ə-t”. a ǟj jik-ə-l nemăsa änti lǟw-ə-s. am-el-na waχ-l-aj-ə-t: “jäχ-a mǟ χŏśŋ-em-na ... tuta răχ-ə-l jiŋk. män-a-ti sǟ, jäŋχ-a-ti sǟ, män-em jiŋk tuw-a-ti. ńǟlm-am ńur sar-ə-s. jiŋk jiś-ta lit-l-aj-ə-m”.* a ńǟwrem-l-al χat ewəlt kim ńŏχəm-s-ə-t, χuw jän-s-ə-t, wǟn jan-s-ə-t, or χat lipi-na jŏχi änt läŋt-i-l-ə-t.
    be-PST woman four boy-0-3SG be-PST child-PL-3SG 3 to-3SG-LOC NEG obey-PST-0-3PL day along run-NONPST-0-3PL play-NONPST-0-3PL snow to morning time from evening towards what-PL-LOC mother-3SG to NEG help-PST-0-3PL homewards come-NONPST-0-3PL and boot-PL-3SG water-0-PL mitten-PL-3SG water-0-PL coat-PL-3SG water-0-PL mother-3SG dry-0-CAUS-NMLZ.IMPF give-TR-NONPST-0-3PL mother-3SG from suffer-0-PST such be-0-N from so be-NMLZ.IMPF-3SG from ill-TRANS come-PST and lie-0-PST DP lie-0-NONPST one time-0-PL-LOC water drink-NMLZ.IMPF want-NMLZ.IMPF start-PST-PAS child-0-PL come-IMP-PL DP 1SG-ACC/DAT water give-IMP-PL throat-1SG dry-0-PST 1SG-ACC/DAT water bring-IMP-PL many time beg-PST-0-SG.3SG child-PL-3SG child-PL-3SG NEG come-NONPST-0-3PL big boy-0-3SG say-0-NONPST 1SG boot-PL-1SG not:be two.ORD boy-0-3SG say-0-NONPST 1SG hat-1SG not:be three.ORD boy-0-3SG say-0-NONPST 1SG what-PL-1SG not:be-0-PL [but] small boy-0-3SG nothing NEG say-0-PST mother-3SG-LOC beg-NONPST-PAS-0-3PL walk-IMP 1SG side-1SG-LOC there be:possible-0-NONPST water go-IMP-PL DP walk-IMP-PL DP 1SG-ACC/DAT water bring-IMP-PL tongue-1SG really dry-0-PST water drink-NMLZ.IMPF want-NONPST-PAS-0-1SG [but] child-PL-3SG house from out run-PST-0-3PL long play-PST-0-3PL short play-PST-0-3PL forest house inside-LOC homewards NEG enter-FREQ-NONPST-0-3PL
    быть-ПРОШ женщина четыре boy-0-3ЕД быть-ПРОШ ребенок-МН-3ЕД 3 к-3ЕД-ЛОК НЕГ obey-ПРОШ-0-3МН день вдоль бежать-NONPST-0-3МН play-NONPST-0-3МН snow к утро время от вечер в:направлении что-МН-ЛОК мать-3ЕД к НЕГ помогать-ПРОШ-0-3МН homewards прийти-NONPST-0-3МН and сапог-МН-3ЕД вода-0-МН mitten-МН-3ЕД вода-0-МН верхняя:одежда-МН-3ЕД вода-0-МН мать-3ЕД dry-0-CAUS-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ дать-TR-NONPST-0-3МН мать-3ЕД от suffer-0-ПРОШ such быть-0-N от так быть-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ-3ЕД от больной-TRANS прийти-ПРОШ and лежать-0-ПРОШ DP лежать-0-NONPST один время-0-МН-ЛОК вода drink-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ хотеть-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ начать-ПРОШ-ПАС ребенок-0-МН прийти-ИМП-МН DP 1ЕД-АКК/ДАТ вода дать-ИМП-МН горло-1ЕД dry-0-ПРОШ 1ЕД-АКК/ДАТ вода принести-ИМП-МН много время beg-ПРОШ-0-ЕД.3ЕД ребенок-МН-3ЕД ребенок-МН-3ЕД НЕГ прийти-NONPST-0-3МН большой boy-0-3ЕД сказать-0-NONPST 1ЕД сапог-МН-1ЕД not:be два.ОРД boy-0-3ЕД сказать-0-NONPST 1ЕД hat-1ЕД not:be три.ОРД boy-0-3ЕД сказать-0-NONPST 1ЕД что-МН-1ЕД not:be-0-МН [но] маленький boy-0-3ЕД ничего НЕГ сказать-0-ПРОШ мать-3ЕД-ЛОК beg-NONPST-ПАС-0-3МН идти-ИМП 1ЕД сторона-1ЕД-ЛОК там be:possible-0-NONPST вода идти-ИМП-МН DP идти-ИМП-МН DP 1ЕД-АКК/ДАТ вода принести-ИМП-МН tongue-1ЕД really dry-0-ПРОШ вода drink-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ хотеть-NONPST-ПАС-0-1ЕД [но] ребенок-МН-3ЕД дом от из бежать-ПРОШ-0-3МН длинный play-ПРОШ-0-3МН short play-ПРОШ-0-3МН лес дом inside-ЛОК homewards НЕГ войти-ФРЕКВ-NONPST-0-3МН
    There lived a woman. She had four sons. Her children did not obey her, all day long they ran around, they played in the snow, from morning to night they did not help their mother at all. They would come home and let their mother dry the water on their shoes, the water on their coats, the water on their mittens. Such a life was hard for their mother. While she was living like that, she became ill and lay down. She was lying. Once she wanted to drink water. “Children, come here, give me water. My throat is dry, give me water.” She called her children many times, the children did not come. The eldest son said: “I have no shoes.” The second son said: “I have no hat.” The third son said: “I have no clothes.” But the youngest son said nothing. The mother called: “Come here to me, I need water. Bring and give me water. My tongue is dry. I want to drink.” But the children ran out of the house, they played for a long or a short time, they did not go into the house.
  • met jälta wul jik-ə-l jiŋk jiś-ta li-ta pit-s-a. jŏχi läŋ-ə-s, want-l-ə-lli, am-el χat kutəp-na aməs-l. malśaŋ-ə-l somət-l. măsa păraj-ə-t-na malśaŋ-ə-l pun-ə-t-na et-s-a. nŏχəst-i săχ-ə-l am-el wu-s, posi-ji pŏn-s-ə-lli, śi nŏχəst-i săχ-ə-l pŏns-ə-li-j-ə-s. jantəs-ti lujəl wu-s-li, nol-li pŏn-s-ə-lli, nol-li ji-s. jas-l-al orəŋna tŏχl-ə-t-na eŋəm-s-a. ittam am-el kukuk-ki ji-s. kukuk-ki ji-s pǟ χat-ə-l ewəlt kim porl-ə-s. uw-ə-l wul jik-ə-l: “jǟj-ə-t, want-a-ti, want-a-ti it-ə-t, am-ew nŏχ porl-ə-ta pit-ə-s, am-el kukuk-ki ji-ta pit-ə-s”. ńŏχəm-s-ə-t ńǟwrem-l-al am-el jupi-na, uw-l-ə-t: “am-e, am-e, muŋ jiŋk-na tu-s-ew näŋ-en”. a luw lǟw-ə-l: “kukuk, kukuk. mǟ mălli män-s-ə-m. ittam mǟ ... jiŋ-l-am mǟ jup-em-na ǟr, jiŋk-am ǟr, jiŋk än mas-l män-em”.
    SUPER ahead big boy-0-3SG water drink-NMLZ.IMPF want-NMLZ.IMPF start-PST-PAS homewards enter-0-PST see-NONPST-0-SG.3SG mother-3SG house middle-LOC sit-NONPST coat-0-3SG dress-NONPST what time-0-PL-LOC coat-0-3SG-LOC hair-0-PL-LOC come:forth-PST-PAS sable-PROPR hide-0-3SG mother-3SG take-PST shoulder-TRANS put-PST-0-SG.3SG DP sable-PROPR hide-0-3SG put-0-IMPF-FREQ-0-PST sew-NMLZ.IMPF finger take-PST-SG.3SG shoulder-TRANS put-PST-0-SG.3SG shoulder-TRANS come-PST arm-PL-3SG for wing-0-PL-LOC grow-PST-PAS that mother-3SG cuckoo-TRANS come-PST cuckoo-TRANS come-PST and house-0-3SG from out fly-0-PST shout-0-NONPST big boy-0-3SG elder:brother-0-PL see-IMP-PL see-IMP-PL one-0-PL mother-1PL up fly-0-NMLZ.IMPF start-0-PST mother-3SG cuckoo-TRANS come-NMLZ.IMPF start-0-PST run-PST-0-3PL child-PL-3SG mother-3SG behind-LOC shout-NONPST-0-3PL mother-VOC mother-VOC 1PL water-LOC bring-PST-SG.1PL 2SG-ACC/DAT [but] 3SG say-0-NONPST kukuk kukuk 1SG already go-PST-0-1SG DP 1SG water-PL-1SG 1SG behind-1SG-LOC many water-1SG many water NEG must-NONPST 1SG-ACC/DAT
    SUPER вперед большой boy-0-3ЕД вода drink-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ хотеть-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ начать-ПРОШ-ПАС homewards войти-0-ПРОШ видеть-NONPST-0-ЕД.3ЕД мать-3ЕД дом середина-ЛОК сидеть-NONPST верхняя:одежда-0-3ЕД платье-NONPST что время-0-МН-ЛОК верхняя:одежда-0-3ЕД-ЛОК hair-0-МН-ЛОК come:forth-ПРОШ-ПАС sable-ПРОПР прятать-0-3ЕД мать-3ЕД взять-ПРОШ shoulder-TRANS положить-ПРОШ-0-ЕД.3ЕД DP sable-ПРОПР прятать-0-3ЕД положить-0-ИМПФ-ФРЕКВ-0-ПРОШ шить-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ finger взять-ПРОШ-ЕД.3ЕД shoulder-TRANS положить-ПРОШ-0-ЕД.3ЕД shoulder-TRANS прийти-ПРОШ arm-МН-3ЕД for wing-0-МН-ЛОК расти-ПРОШ-ПАС тот мать-3ЕД cuckoo-TRANS прийти-ПРОШ cuckoo-TRANS прийти-ПРОШ and дом-0-3ЕД от из летать-0-ПРОШ кричать-0-NONPST большой boy-0-3ЕД старший:брат-0-МН видеть-ИМП-МН видеть-ИМП-МН один-0-МН мать-1МН вверх летать-0-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ начать-0-ПРОШ мать-3ЕД cuckoo-TRANS прийти-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ начать-0-ПРОШ бежать-ПРОШ-0-3МН ребенок-МН-3ЕД мать-3ЕД за-ЛОК кричать-NONPST-0-3МН мать-ВОК мать-ВОК 1МН вода-ЛОК принести-ПРОШ-ЕД.1МН 2ЕД-АКК/ДАТ [но] 3ЕД сказать-0-NONPST kukuk kukuk 1ЕД уже идти-ПРОШ-0-1ЕД DP 1ЕД вода-МН-1ЕД 1ЕД за-1ЕД-ЛОК много вода-1ЕД много вода НЕГ must-NONPST 1ЕД-АКК/ДАТ
    The eldest son wanted to drink water. He went home and looked, his mother was sitting in the middle of the house. She put on her coat. Suddenly feathers appeared on the coat. She took the sable coat, put it on her shoulders put on the fur coat like that. Wings grew out of the sleeves. So their mother turned into a cuckoo. She turned into a cuckoo and flew out of the house. The eldest son screamed: “Brothers, look, look, our mother has started to fly, our mother has turned into a cuckoo.” The children ran after their mother, crying: “Mama, mama, we have brought you water.” But she said: “Coo-coo, coo-coo, I’ve left for good. I have much water, I don’t need any water.”
  • ńŏχəm-l-ə-t ńǟwrem-l-al am-el jupi-na, waχl-ə-l luw-el, ompi al-li-l-ə-t. śiti śi ńŏχəm-l-ə-t am-el jupi-na. ǟj jik-ə-l lǟw-ə-l: “am-e, am-e, juw-a jŏχi. na, jiŋk-en jińś-i” am-el lǟw-ə-l änti: “kukuk, kukuk. mǟ män-s-ə-m, män-s-ə-m”. śi jik: “mǟ jŏχi än ji-l-ə-m”. śiti ńŏχəm-s-ə-t ńǟwrem-l-al am-el jupi-na ǟr χătl, ǟr ǟt, kew-ə-t χuwat-na taŋχa, juχ-ə-t χuwat-na, wăj-l-al χăś ari-s-ə-t, kur-l-al χăś wur-ri ji-s-ə-t pǟ χäta ńŏχəm-l-ə-t, śita wur suk-ə-t χiś-l-ə-t. wek kussi kukuk imi ńǟwrem-l-al läsk-ə-s-li. iśi ewəlt teχəl än wer-ə-l, ńǟwrem-l-al sam änt eŋm-ə-l-l-ə-lli. a tuŋ ǟr χuwat-na śi ewəlt wurti ńar sem eŋəm-ta pit-ə-s. lǟw-l-ə-t, śi ńar sem-ə-t iti kukuk ńǟwrem wurət ol-t-el.
    run-NONPST-0-3PL child-PL-3SG mother-3SG behind-LOC beg-TR-0-NONPST 3-ACC/DAT dipper lift-IMPF-NONPST-0-3PL so FOC run-NONPST-0-3PL mother-3SG behind-LOC small boy-0-3SG say-0-NONPST mother-VOC mother-VOC come-IMP homewards INTJ water-2SG drink-IMP.SG mother-3SG say-0-NONPST DP kukuk kukuk 1SG go-PST-0-1SG go-PST-0-1SG DP boy 1SG homewards NEG go-NONPST-0-1SG so run-PST-0-3PL child-PL-3SG mother-3SG behind-LOC many day many night stone-0-PL along-LOC DP tree-0-PL along-LOC boot-PL-3SG away tear-PST-0-3PL leg-PL-3SG away blood-TRANS come-PST-0-3PL and where run-NONPST-0-3PL there blood piece-0-PL remain:behind-NONPST-0-3PL forever for cuckoo woman child-PL-3SG throw-0-PST-SG.3SG as from nest NEG make-0-NONPST child-PL-3SG self NEG grow-0-TR-NONPST-0-SG.3SG [but] that many along-LOC DP from red fresh eye grow-NMLZ.IMPF start-0-PST say-NONPST-0-3PL DP fresh eye-0-PL as cuckoo child blood be-NMLZ.IMPF-3PL
    бежать-NONPST-0-3МН ребенок-МН-3ЕД мать-3ЕД за-ЛОК beg-TR-0-NONPST 3-АКК/ДАТ dipper lift-ИМПФ-NONPST-0-3МН так ФОК бежать-NONPST-0-3МН мать-3ЕД за-ЛОК маленький boy-0-3ЕД сказать-0-NONPST мать-ВОК мать-ВОК прийти-ИМП homewards МЕЖД вода-2ЕД drink-ИМП.ЕД мать-3ЕД сказать-0-NONPST DP kukuk kukuk 1ЕД идти-ПРОШ-0-1ЕД идти-ПРОШ-0-1ЕД DP boy 1ЕД homewards НЕГ идти-NONPST-0-1ЕД так бежать-ПРОШ-0-3МН ребенок-МН-3ЕД мать-3ЕД за-ЛОК много день много ночь камень-0-МН вдоль-ЛОК DP дерево-0-МН вдоль-ЛОК сапог-МН-3ЕД прочь рвать-ПРОШ-0-3МН нога-МН-3ЕД прочь blood-TRANS прийти-ПРОШ-0-3МН and где бежать-NONPST-0-3МН там blood piece-0-МН remain:behind-NONPST-0-3МН forever for cuckoo женщина ребенок-МН-3ЕД бросать-0-ПРОШ-ЕД.3ЕД as от nest НЕГ делать-0-NONPST ребенок-МН-3ЕД сам НЕГ расти-0-TR-NONPST-0-ЕД.3ЕД [но] тот много вдоль-ЛОК DP от красный fresh глаз расти-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ начать-0-ПРОШ сказать-NONPST-0-3МН DP fresh глаз-0-МН as cuckoo ребенок blood быть-НМЛЗ.ИМПФ-3МН
    The children ran after their mother, called to her, held out dippers. That is how they ran after their mother. The youngest son said: “Mama, mama, come home, drink water.” But the mother said: “Coo-coo, coo-coo, I’ve left, I’ve left.” And the son: “I won’t go home.” So the children ran after their mother many days and nights, over rocks, over trees, their shoes tore completely, their legs were stained with blood. Where they ran, red traces remained. The cuckoo rejected her children for good. From this time on she does not build a nest, nor does she raise her children herself. And on that path red eyes started to appear. They say it is as if the red eyes were the blood of the cuckoo’s children.