Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Сказания о русских святых для детей: Вступление

(This post is part of a series of translations of Aleksandr Khudoshin's Stories about Russian Saints for Children. Explanatory post here.)


Наша книжка называется «Сказания о русских святых». То есть сказание об отцах Церкви, которые родилась и стали святыми в России. Не сказки, а именно сказание, потому что сказки -- выдумка, а мы написали всё как было на самом деле. Но какие такие «отцы»? Чьи отцы? Вот, у каждого из нас есть свой отец, да, это понятно. Но отец Церкви -- это как бы для всех отец. Для всех, кто к нему приходит и обращается. Пришёл богач, с кольцами на руках, пышно разодетый, -- отец Церкви принимает его как родного сына. Пришёл бедняк, худой, плохо одетый, с бледным лицом, -- и его принимает батюшка, обнимает, прижимает к сердцу, плачет вместе с ним над его горем. И наставляет его на нужную дорогу, и помогает словом и делом, иногда и денег даёт. Ну как же не отец? Но среди церковных отцов есть и совсем особые отцы, их называют «старцами».


Our little book is called "Stories about Russian Saints". They are stories about fathers of the Church, who were born and became saints in Russia. Not fairy-tales, but stories, because fairy-tales are fiction, and we wrote about everything as it actually was. But what are these "fathers"? Whose fathers? Now, each of us has our own father, yes, that's clear. But a father of the Church- he is like a father to all, to all who come to him and appeal to him. Should a rich man come, with rings on his hands, lavishly dressed- a father of the Church will receive him like his own son. Should a poor man come, thin, poorly dressed, with a pale face- the dear father will take him, hug him, press him to his chest, cry together with him over his afflictions. And will teach him the necessary way, and help with words and deeds, and sometimes will give money. Now, is that not a father? But among the Church fathers there are very special fathers, they are called "elders".

Translation Commentary and Questions:

I was unsure about what tense to use from "Пришёл богач..." onward. Ultimately I think the hypothetical conditional best reflected the spirit of the original, but if anyone has better suggestions, or thinks I've misread something, do let me know!

More minor uncertainties:
  • обращаться as "to appeal" (something like "to turn to" strikes me as more etymologically accurate, but clunky)
  • пышно разодетый as "lavishly dressed" (especially when плохо одетый is "poorly dressed"). It seems that разодетый doesn't have a precise English equivalent, implying something perhaps along the lines of "decked out"; ie, implying a level of extravagance above the fairly unmarked English "dressed" or "clothed"; again, if I'm wrong, please speak up!
  • прижимает к сердцу translated literally is "pressed to the heart", which isn't something we really say in English. Is it common to replace "heart" with "chest" in contexts such as these, or does it imply something stronger or different?
  • над его горем: over his afflictions? over his sorrows? in sorrow, in grief?
  • нужную дорогу as "necessary way"- is this too literal? Would "right" or "proper" have been more in the spirit of the original?
  • Ну как же не отец? as "Now, is that not a father?" Went largely on feeling, there. Does it work?
  • есть и совсем особые отцы in general confused me. Anyone care to explain the и there (I have a vague memory that it may be related to a superlative construction, but I may be making that up)? Also совсем особые seems to demand something stronger than "very special", but I'm not sure what.

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