Tuesday, August 21, 2012


But it was not fickleness or lack of affection or even a lack of love for him which drove him from her mind; there were many important goings on in Wassying.

First there was an epidemic, which kept Dr. Jacobi busy for some weeks, well into November, just as the first snows were falling.  Kate offered her help wherever she could and soon found herself as stretched thin as the doctor, who came down with it himself before it was all over.  Almost everyone recovered, but they lost Mrs. Mason’s Trisha, aged five, and Mrs. Alford’s baby Emma, aged not yet one year.  The ceremony, for each was put together quickly before the ground froze solid, and it was a great community affair.
As the children were laid together in a barrow, Trisha’s sister Margaret and Emma’s sister Lilly sang an old burial song, the origins of which no one knew anymore.  It was in a language the Wassy did not know or understand, and the exact translation was long forgotten, but it went like this:

Pelela, pelela, pelelæ jah’esones
Ŧehloh cauŧuvav, iëmen elnon heï æċo
Rúd orætín hah élo
Planeg jokæ læjonahes jenàæl heï hesanaiën
Pelela, pelela, pelelæ jah’esones
Honem shúgélo f’élo en’lebenon’emen
En’la’élo’shúgeg roshengœ ŧenges

Loosely, it meant:

Peace, peace, peaceful may you rest
Beneath the earth, so dark and cold
Time hath taken of your breath
Locked it someplace concealed and old
Peace, peace, peaceful may you rest
But leave to those left behind
A memory soft and kind

It's a language that I've invented called Nímmoh'ín.  The accented 'i' sounds like long E, and the H, because it comes at the "end", sounds something like 'ache' in the German 'ache, du leiber' or like the Scottish 'loch'.  It ends in a raspy breath.  Don't let the O get drowned out -- it's long, but it does get slightly toned down by the H.

(The excerpt comes from a novel I am writing that I have mentioned in previous posts.)


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