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Unit 15: U Methrah Rooli Roo ao Methain Marli

This blessèd plot, this realm, this earth, this England.
(William Shakespeare, Richard II)

Hello, everyone. The main focus of this Unit will be on the story of Rooli Roo (I don't think we need to translate his name any more), as it's a far longer one than anything we'll have encountered previously; uncharted territory ahoy! So I shan't go into great detail on the vocab list, beyond pointing out (as usual) that there are some very useful words here: just read and learn:

mul - to do
keth - to ask
val - to help
zyzay - lazy; sleepy
methain - poem (from meth-hain, "speak-song")
bralant - to remember
nalant - to forget
bralth - to foresee
Akirith - Honeycomb
blao - a place (in general)
bralrah - to pray
loseer - to rain
atha - heart
u hyaontil - the past (lit. "the yesterdays")
u hyaothil - the future (lit. "the tomorrows")

As well as the above, there are a few more things you'll need to know for the story: firstly, hay vesth a nesth means "to look around" (literally "to look forwards and backwards"). Secondly, sithile, "second", can also mean "(an)other" (u tarlil sithile, "the other bucks"). And finally, you may remember that in Unit 06, I said that a traditional blessing on kittens was lay zayn hray hraray. Actually, in most reasonably formal contexts, lay zayn would be replaced by layth. It's also worth noting that layth in this usage is generally followed directly by a verb, so that "may Frith hear you" is layth uthow Frith ma, rather than the more obvious *layth Frith uthow ma.

All right then, let's get on with the show - 1000 words of Lapine coming up! As usual, there's an English translation afterwards. Because of the length of the story, I haven't got room for an MP3 of the whole thing, so I've done three short pieces - the first section (up to the asterisks) and the two poems.


Hyao, ver sie methai, u vahra mon Rooli Roo laynt mark ven u flow me. Vahl, sisi... an um hyao, e laynt nahl zyz! E laynt hahean zyz. Nahl, blair u methrah mon lay thyhl, u naylte roo laynt meth hithra-byt il Maythennion.

"O Maythennion," laynt meth Rooli Roo, "a lay bralnao-nyt um thanléao, blair a lay zayn drao meth u methnos ma il hraeth. E lay u methnos ethile ma, ar a lay nahl lan bleth mul!"

"Nahl bralnao," laynt meth Maythennion. "Hrair nayltil lay bral, u methnosil mai layth nao-nyt. I layth vao. An bralant hay il u Naylte Rah blair meth u Vaorah. A lay bral e layth Hyzenthlay-rah hyaones." (Hyzenthlay, émar Kothen, laynt Rah asith me ethsi Inléil.)

* * *

U thanléao laynt dayn, a hraeth laynt zayn il u Akirith.
Hrair nayltil laynt thli, a e laynt hithra than Rooli Roo veth day il u blao yao e laynt zayn meth. Yen, Hyzenthlay laynt meth.

"Vahril ma," o laynt meth, "on lay hli um thanléao kan eth ol mon lay yen hahean éan meth u methnos ethile me il u hlien. A lay lan, hrair laynt tring uthow Rooli Roo hithra-nyt, zoth a layth zyhl meth. Rooli Roo, layth meth vao, a layth uthow Frith mi."

U rooli laynt hay il u Rah me, a thyhl asith um methrooil:

"O Hyzenthlay-rah, a lay dayn asith u Vaorah ol Frith il El-ahrairah, ureth lay meth il nayltil u hyaontil, u hyao ao hyaothil." Fu, e laynt hay vesth a nesth u Akirith, fu il Hyzenthlay sisi, a laynt thyhl meth ven Naylte Éan: "Laythe hraeth ela mi, Elil Hrair Rah, a blaeth m'hlalthai, m'zyhlthai. An m'draothai ethile hlal-"

Yen, e laynt zyhl.

"Kyhl, kyhl," laynt meth Hyzenthlay il me. An Rooli Roo laynt nahl veth kyhl - e laynt nalant u methrooil u Vaorah!

"An m'draothai ethile hlal," e laynt meth sisi, bralvao bralant. An nahl methrooil laynt dayn, ao li me laynt kyhl natal. "O nahlan, nahlan!" laynt meth Rooli Roo, éneer-nyt. "Val ma, O Frithrah, val ma!"

Fu neorsé, e laynt veth uthow Thlayli, meth il naylte sithile, "Frith ven tuhl, hloth lay on drao uthow um silfessil ulé ai lay nahl veth meth Naylte vao?"

Rooli Roo laynt drao hay il u Naylte Rah me, a meth, "U methnos ma lay zyhl, Hyzenthlay-rah. A lay lan, nahl layth bralant me. An a layth meth um: hyaoth, a layth dayn hli sisi, blair a layth meth methnos u voith vao i aisi Kothen aisi u hlien layth uthow!" A fu, e laynt hray silf.

* * *

Silf, thaf u bryhlath, e laynt loseer - loseer-nyt. Rooli Roo laynt silflay neorsé, an than hithra u los laynt hray vesth u flayfath, u hristh, u efathil... ao thlay me. E laynt voir a voir éneer.

"Hloth laynt i meth thum il Hyzenthlay-rah?" e laynt bral. "A laynt tring-nyt meth u methnos ma vao, an... a lay nahl veth meth vao, a pli lay zayn uthow il roolil pli lay nahl ulé meth Naylte vao? Bleth lay veth a mul?"

Rooli Roo laynt dray bray ven. E laynt nahl tring zayn il u flow me, zoth e laynt dray vesth hrayao hling ol olme. Fu neorsé, e laynt thyhl uthow meth - meth marli, meth Thethuthinnang. O laynt meth methrah il u roolil mo. An nahl... nahl methrah; e laynt methain. Rooli Roo laynt uthow:

Ven u hlien,
Hrayntai bralvaoil ma vesth u hrayao.
Roolil mon,
M'haynton hayuhlil hy ven u léao.

An lungeth
Laythai hrayessil, uthow methrahil?
Kan u hyao
Nayothe il mai, vatal u elil.

Rooli Roo laynt nahl meth Naylte Éan vao-nyt, an e laynt lan um methain. E laynt "U Methain Marli", eth u methainil nayltil u voith éan. E laynt bralrah marli il Frith hay u roolil néan mo.

Rooli Roo laynt dihraw ven u hrayao, nahl the, u atha me hrarail. U methrooil marli laynt hray a nayo ven u li me. E laynt nahl veth Thethuthinnang (aisi nayltil sithile) hay me, zoth e laynt dray bral ol mo, a zayn sisi il u flow me. Thli, e laynt zyz.

* * *

U hyaoth, u rooli laynt zayn hay Dahloi, pli e laynt lan a varu hithra. Dahloi laynt silflay hristh u preenil mar. Rooli Roo laynt tring keth me bleth mul.

"Frithaes, Rooli Roo," e laynt meth. "Bleth lay mi tring?"

"A lay tring lan, lung i lay mul blair i lay meth methrahil, Dahloi?" laynt meth Rooli Roo. "Nahlan hloth, an yen a lay bral éveer-nyt ol u methnos sithile ma um thanléao... an a lay drao koi seth methrooil ol mi ol thum. I layth val ma?"

"Vahl-nyt," laynt meth u naylte sithile. A e laynt thyhl meth il u vahra néan me...

Fu hithra-byt, Rooli Roo laynt zayn sisi il u Akirith. E laynt hay Thlayli ao Owsla hlow u nayltil sithile. Rul u hyaont, e laynt hay il Hyzenthlay, a, rul u hyaont, e laynt thyhl meth u Vaorah. An hyaones, e laynt bralant u methrooil. Éveer, e laynt meth il u Rah me:

"Laythe hraeth ela mi, Elil Hrair Rah, a blaeth m'hlalthai, m'zyhlthai. An m'draothai ethile hlal, skufessi, uthowessi, hrayessi, paf hraray rah. Laythi kasrahalt, a vatal kasrahil, a laythai nayltil mi nahl-nyt zorn!"

E laynt hay vesth a nesth u Akirith, rul-nyt e laynt u hyaont, an hyao e laynt lan, hraeth layth vao. "Yen," laynt meth Rooli Roo, "a lay drao meth voir. An nahl methnos: methain! A lay an naylte néan a nahl kasrahalt-nyt, zoth e lay ven Naylte Hyao, an a lay bralvao, es layth varu me." A e laynt thyhl:

"U naylte Rooli Roo lay ma,
U hlienes ma preen isth.
A lay varu zyz ven u flow
Mark hithra thaf u hristh.

U nayltil sithile lay meth
A lay rooli zyzay,
An blair vahril ma lay drao koi
Il mai layth a hraray!"

Rooli Roo laynt hay vesth a nesth, a hay u hlolil éveer u vahril me. E laynt mul me!

Hyzenthlay laynt meth, "vahl-nyt, Rooli Roo. I laynt vao - thum
laynt methnos vao-nyt. A vahl, hraeth layth bralant me hithra-nyt. A, a lay yen meth, i layth u Methainessi Roolil mon ven um hlien!"


The Story of Rooli Roo and the Doe's Poem

Once upon a time, Rooli Roo was lying in his burrow. Yes, again... but on this day, he wasn't asleep - he'd slept enough. No, when our story starts, the little rabbit had been talking for a fair while to Acorn.

"Oh Acorn," said Rooli Roo, "I'm really frightened about this evening, when I'm going to have to make my speech to everyone. It's my first speech, and I don't know what to do!"

"Don't worry," said Acorn. "Every rabbit thinks that their first speech will be awful. You'll be fine. But remember to look at the Chief Rabbit when saying the Blessing. I think it'll be Hyzenthlay this evening." (Hyzenthlay, Hazel's mate, had been Chief alongside him for a few months.)

* * *

Evening came, and everyone went to the Honeycomb. A lot of rabbits were there, and it was a long time before Rooli Roo could get to the place where he was going to speak. Suddenly, Hyzenthlay spoke.

"My friends," she said, "we are here this evening because one of us is now old enough to give his first speech to the warren. I know many have wanted to hear Rooli Roo speak for a very long time, so I'll stop speaking. Rooli Roo, may you speak well, and may Frith hear you."

The kitten looked at his Chief, and began with these words:

"Oh Hyzenthlay-rah, I come with Frith's Blessing to El-ahrairah, which speaks to rabbits in the past, the present and the future.". After this, he looked around the Honeycomb, and began to speak in Old Lapine: "All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you-"

Suddenly, he stopped.

"Go on, go on," said Hyzenthlay. But Rooli Roo couldn't continue - he'd forgotten the words of the Blessing!

"But first they must catch you," he said again, hoping to remember. But no words came, and his head remained empty. "Oh I don't know, I don't know!" said Rooli Roo, terrbily unhappy. "Help me, oh Lord Frith, help me!"

After a little, he could hear Bigwig saying to another rabbit, "Frith in a hole, why do we have to listen to these outskirters even when they can't speak Lapine properly?"

Rooli Roo had to look at his Chief Rabbit, and say: "My speech is over, Hyzenthlay-rah. I know that none will remember it. But I will say this: tomorrow, I will come here again, when I'll give the best speech you or Hazel or the warren will hear!" And then, he ran outside.

* * *

Outside, on the down, it was raining - raining a lot. Rooli Roo silflayed for a little while, but before long the water was running along the grass, the soil, the plants... and his fur. He was more and more unhappy.

"Why did I say that to Hyzenthlay-rah?" he thought. "I really wanted to say my speech well, but... I can't speak properly, and who's going to listen to kittens who can't even speak Lapine properly? What can I do?

Rooli Roo hopped slowly underground. He didn't want to go back to his burrow, so he hopped along a run to the left of his own. Soon, he began to hear a voice - a doe's voice, the voice of Thethuthinnang. She was telling a story to her kittens. But no... not a story; it was a poem. Rooli Roo listened:

In the warren,
My hopes ran along the run.
Our kittens,
We saw their eyes shining in the dark.

But how many
Will be runners, listen to stories?
For tomorrow
Will leap at them, full of danger.

Rooli Roo didn't speak Old Lapine very well, but he knew this poem. It was "The Doe's Poem", one of the oldest poems of rabbits. It was a mother's prayer to Frith to watch over her young kittens.

Rooli Roo squatted in the run, unmoving, his heart racing. The doe's words ran and leapt in his head. He didn't want Thethuthinnang (or other rabbits) to see him, so he hopped slowly away from her, and went again to his burrow. There, he fell asleep.

* * *

The next day, the kitten went to see Dandelion, who he'd known and liked for a long time. Dandelion was silflaying beneath the tall trees. Rooli Roo wanted to ask him what to do.

"Hello, Rooli Roo," he said. "What do you want?"

"I want to know, how do you behave when you tell stories, Dandelion?" said Rooli Roo. "I don't know why, but now I feel really happy about my second speech this evening... but I need some words from you about that. Can you help me?"

"Of course," said the other. And he began to speak to his young friend...

After a fair while, Rooli Roo went once more to the Honeycomb. He saw Bigwig and the Owsla in front of the other rabbits. As on the day before, he looked at Hyzenthlay, and as on the day before, he began to say the Blessing. But today, he had remembered the words. Happily, he said to his Chief:

"All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people shall never be destroyed!"

He looked around the Honeycomb, exactly as he had done the day before, but this time he knew everything was right. "Now," he said, "I must say more. But not a speech: a poem! I am only a young and not very clever rabbit, so it's in Colloquial Lapine, but I hope you will like it." And he began:

The rabbit Rooli Roo am I,
My home the trees beneath.
I like to sleep in the burrow
Lie a long while on the earth.

The other rabbits say
I am a lazy kitten,
But when my friends have need
To them I'll be fast!

Rooli Roo looked around, and saw the happy faces of his friends. He'd done it!

Hyzenthlay said, "excellent, Rooli Roo. You were right - that was a wonderful speech. And yes, everyone will remember it for a very long time. And, I now declare, you will be our Kittens' Poet in this warren!"