Folktale in a Jewish Modern Aramaic dialect (by Sarah Adaqi)

Folktale in a Jewish Modern Aramaic dialect (by Sarah Adaqi)


In Dohok, there was a mountain like the mountain here, Mount Kastel (near Jerusalem). Here, there was a base of the British army. In Dohok, there was also a hill like that, But it was flat, the hill, the top of the hill was flat. They used to go – as I told you – on the Shabbat, on holidays, they used to go to the river, girls used to climb the mountain and dance. And boys… boys and girl with their mothers we [as children] used to catch fish, and our mothers would cook. There came a time when they said ‘look, this mountain is very good, let’s build a restaurant there, a restaurant. We shall build a restaurant on top of this mountain.’ So they build a restaurant on the top of that mountain, a nice restaurant, and people would pass through it. There were three friends who said to each other ‘look, let’s also climb up this mountain and see what’s inside this restaurant.’ Then they said ‘but in a restaurant, one has to pay.’ But each of them said ‘no problem, I, I will pay,’ ‘I will pay,’ ‘I will pay.’ All three of them. When they climbed the mountain, they said ‘what a nice restaurant!’ They entered the restaurant, the owner of the restaurant came and gave them money… sorry, he gave them food. They ate and finished. The owner of the restaurant came asking for money. He says to them ‘give me money.’ But one says ‘you had said it first, you give him.’ He replies ‘you had said it first, you give him.’ The third one also says ‘you had said it first, you give him.’ Meanwhile, the owner of the restaurant is demanding payment. he says ‘I don’t care who has said it or who hasn’t said it, I want money. But they say ‘no, why had he said it before?’ ‘Why had he said that before?’ That other one also says ‘why had he said it before?’ The owner says ‘do you know what we shall do?’ In the river down below, there’s a deep pool, deep water. Go dive there, put your head under water, and whoever raises their head first is the one to pay. Problem solved.’ So they went to dive, the first one says to himself ‘why would I raise my head? I will have to pay.’ The second one also says ‘why would I raise my head? I will pay. No, that one should pay.’ The last one also says ‘not me… why should I pay? I’m not going to pay.’ In the meantime, they remained under the water and drowned. All three drowned. They saw their corpses – they were floating on water.


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