I Love a Happy Ending

17 03 2007

I wrote the first paragraph of a story that I was learning in my Greek class a little while ago and, while I’ve nothing of any interest to add to my reading of that paragraph, I feel that it would be nice to actually conclude the story. I append it below in the Greek, along with my translation. I have written it paragraph by paragraph so that, to read it in English, you need to scroll down again every so often. It is beautiful and inspiring and I think that you might all benefit from reading this story with its simple, almost childlike, exuberance and its wonderfully uplifting moral at the end. Really.

το μεν ου͗ν πλοιον πλει, ο͑ δε Ζηνοθεμις προς την γην βλεπει. τι ο͑ρᾳ ο͑ Ζηνοθεμις; ο͑ Ζηνοθεμις ο͑ρᾳ την τε α͗κροπολιν και τον Παρθενωνα. ε͗πειτα δε ο͑ τε Δικαιοπολις και ο͑ κυβερνητης προς την γην βλεπουσιν. τι ο͑ρωσιν ο͑ Δικαιοπολις και ο͑ κυβερνητης; και ο͑ Δικαιοπολις και ο͑ κυβερνητης την τε α͗κροπολιν ο͑ρωσι και τον Παρθενωνα. ε͗ξαιφνης ο͑ τε Δικαιοπολις και ο͑ κυβερνητης ψυφον α͗κουουσιν.

While the ship sails, Sdenothemis gazes towards the land. What does Sdenothemis see? Sdenothemis sees the Akropolis and the Parthenon. Then Dikaiopolis and the captain gaze towards the land. What do Dikaiopolis and the captain see? Dikaiopolis and the captain also see the Akropolis and the Parthenon. Suddenly, Dikaiopolis and the captain hear a noise…

ΖΗΝΟΘΕΜΙΣ (pointing to the land): δευρο ε͗λθε, ω͗ Δικαιοπολι, και βλεπε. ε͗γω γαρ την α͗κροπολιν ο͑ρω. α͗ρα και συ την α͗κροπολιν ο͑ρᾳς;
ΔΙΚΑΙΟΠΟΛΙΣ (peering towards the land): που ε͗στιν η͑ α͗κροπολις; ε͗γω γαρ την α͗κροπολιν ου͗χ ο͑ρω
ΖΗΝ: δευρο ε͗λθε, και βλεπε. α͗ρα ου͗χ ο͑ρᾳς συ τον Παρθενωνα;
ΔΙΚ: ναι. νυν γαρ την α͗κροπολιν ο͑ρω και ε͗γω
ΖΗΝ: ω͗ Ζευ. ω͑ς καλος ε͗στιν ο͑ Παρθενων, καλη δε η͑ α͗κροπολις
ΚΥΒΕΡΝΗΤΗΣ (agreeing): α͗ληθη συ λεγεις, ω͗ Ζηνοθεμι. (With a sudden start) α͗κουε, ψοφος. α͗ρα α͗κουεις; τις ε͗στιν ο͑ ψοφος; α͗ρα α͗κουεις και συ τον ψοφον, ω͗ Ζηνοθεμι;
ΖΗΝ (hurriedly dismissing the subject): ου͗ μα Δια, ου͗δεν α͗κουω ε͗γω, ω͗ κυβερνητα. μη φροντιζε. α͗λλα δευρο ε͗λθε και βλεπε. ε͗γω γαρ το νεωριον ο͑ρω και τον Πειραια. α͗ρα ο͑ρᾳς και συ το νεωριον;
ΚΥΒ: ναι
ΖΗΝ: ω͗ Ζευ, ω͑ς καλον ε͗στι το νεωριον, καλος δε ο͑ Πειραιευς
ΚΥΒ (agreeing impatiently): α͗ληθη λεγεις, ω͗ Ζηνοθεμι. ι͗δου, ψοφος. αυ͗θις γαρ τον ψοφον α͗κουω ε͗γωγε
ΔΙΚ: και ε͗γω τον ψοφον αυ͗θις α͗κουω, ω͗ κυβερνητα, σαφως. ε͗γω ου͗ν και συ α͗κουομεν τον ψθφον

SDENOTHEMIS (pointing to the land): Come here, Dikaiopolis, and look. For I see the Akropolis. Do you also see the Akropolis?
DIKAIOPOLIS (peering towards the land): Where is the Akropolis? For I do not see the Akropolis.
SDE: Come here and look. Do you see the Parthenon?
DIK: Yes. Now I also see the Akropolis.
SDE: Oh Zeus! How beautiful is the Parthenon; how beautiful is the Akropolis!
CAPTAIN (agreeing): You speak the truth, Sdenothemis. (With a sudden start) I hear a noise! Do you hear it? What is that noise? Do you also hear a noise, Sdenothemis?
SDE (hurriedly dismissing the subject): No, by Zeus, I do not hear a noise, Captain. Don’t worry! Rather, come here and look. For I see the naval dockyard and the Piraeus. Do you see the naval dockyard?
CAPT: Yes.
SDE: Oh Zeus! How beautiful is the naval dockyard; how beautiful is the Piraeus!
CAPT (agreeing impatiently): You speak the truth, Sdenothemis. Hey, a noise! For I, myself, hear the noise again!
DIK: I also hear the noise again, Captain – clearly! Therefore we are both hearing the noise.

ΖΗΝ (more frantically): ε͗γω δε ου͗κ α͗κουω, ω͗ φιλοι. μη φροντιζετε. α͗λλα δευρο ε͗λθετε και βλεπετε, δευρο. ο͑ρω γαρ τα ε͗μπορια και τας ο͑λκαδας ε͗γωγε. α͗ρα ο͑ρατε τα ε͗μπορια και υ͑μεις;
ΚΥΒ και ΔΙΚ: ο͑ρωμεν και η͑μεις. τι μην;
ΖΗΝ (waxing lyrical): ω͗ Ποσειδον, ω͑ς καλαι ει͗σιν αι͑ ο͑λκαδες, ω͑ς καλα ε͗στι τα ε͗μπορια. α͗λλα δευρο βλεπετε, ω͗ φιλοι
ΚΥΒ: α͗κουε, ω͗ Ζηνοθεμι, και μη λεγε ‘ω͑ς καλα ε͗στι τα ε͗μπορια’. η͑μεις γαρ τον ψοφον σαφως α͗κουομεν
ΔΙΚ: α͗λλα ποθεν ο͑ ψοφος;
ΚΥΒ (pointing down below): κατωθεν, ω͗ Δικαιοπολι. δια τι ου͗ καταβαινομεν η͑μεις; ε͗λθε, ω͗ Δικαιοπολι –
ΖΗΝ (by now quite desperate): ποι βαινετε υ͑μεις; ποι βαινετε; δια το ου͗ μενετε, ω͗ φιλοι; μη φροντιζετε. ο͑ρω γαρ εγω –

SDE (more frantically): I do not hear anything, friends. Don’t worry! Rather come here and look: here. For I see the markets and the merchant ships. Do you two see the markets?
CAPT and DIK: We see them. So what?
SDE (waxing lyrical): Oh, Poseidon! How beautiful are the merchant ships; how beautiful are the markets! Just come here, friends.
CAPT: Listen, Sdenothemis, and stop saying “How beautiful are the markets”! For we can clearly hear a noise.
DIK: Where is the noise coming from?
CAPT (pointing down below): From below, Dikaiopolis. Why are we not going down? Come, Dikaipolis…
SDE (by now quite desperate): Where are you two going? Where are you going!? Why won’t you wait, friends? Don’t worry! For I can see the…

καταβαινει μεν ου͗ν ο͑ κυβερνητης, καταβαινουσι δε ο͑ τε Δικαιοπολις και οι͑ ναυται. κατωθεν γαρ ο͑ ψοφος. κατω δε τον ͑Ηγεστρατον ο͑ρωσιν ο͑ τε κυβερνητης και οι͑ ναυται. ο͑ δε ͑Ηγεστρατος τον ψοφον ποιει κατω.

ΚΥΒ: ου͑τος, τι ποιεις; (suddenly realising it is Hegestratos) α͗λλα τι ποιεις συ, ω͗ ͑Ηγεστρατε; τις ο͑ ψοφος;
ΗΓΕΣΤΡΑΤΟΣ (innocently): ου͗δεν ποιω ε͗γωγε, ω͗ κυβερνητα, ου͗δε ψοφον ου͗δενα α͗κουω. μη φροντιζε
ΔΙΚ (looking behind Hegestratos’ back): δευρο ε͗λθε και βλεπε, ω͗ κυβερνητα. ε͗χει γαρ τι ε͗ν τῃ δεξιᾳ ο͑ ͑Ηγεστρατος
ΚΥΒ: τι ε͗χεις ε͗ν τῃ δεξιᾳ ο͑ ͑Ηγεστρατε;
ΗΓ (desperately trying to cover up): ου͗δεν ε͗χω ε͗γωγε, ω͗ φιλε
ΔΙΚ: ω͗ Ζευ. ου͗ γαρ α͗ληθη λεγει ο͑ ͑Ηγεστρατος. πελεκυν γαρ ε͗χει ε͗ν τῃ δεξιᾳ ο͑ ͑Ηγεστρατος. ο͑ α͗νθρωπος το πλοιον καταδυει
ΚΥΒ (shocked): τι λεγεις, ω͗ Διακαιπολι; δυει το πλοιον ο͑ ͑Ηγεστρατος; (calling to the crew) α͗λλα δια τι ου͗ λαμβανετε υ͑μεις τον α͗νθρωπον, ω͗ ναυται; δευρο, δευρο
ΗΓ: οι͗μοι, φευγω ε͗γωγε, και ρ͑ιπτω ε͗μαυτον ε͗κ του πλοιου
ΚΥΒ (urging the crew to pursue): βοηθειτε, ω͗ ναυται, βοηθειτε και διωκετε

While the captain descends, Dikaiopolis and the sailors also descend, for the noise was from below. Down below, the captain and the sailors see Hegestratos. Hegestratos is making the noise below.CAPT: Hey! What are you doing? (Suddenly realising it is Hegestratos) Well, what are you doing, Hegestratos? What is the noise?
HEGESTRATOS (innocently): I hear nothing, Captain; I don’t hear a noise. Don’t worry!
DIK (looking behind Hegestratos’ back): Come here and look, Captain. For Hegestratos has something in his right hand.
CAPT: What do you have in your right hand, Hegestratos?
HEG (desperately trying to cover up): I have nothing, friends…
DIK: Oh, Zeus! You are not telling the truth, Hegestratos. Hegestratos has an axe in his right hand! This man is scuttling the ship!
CAPT (shocked): What are you saying, Dikaiopolis? Are you scuttling the ship, Hegestratos? (Calling to the crew) Why don’t you all seize this man, sailors!? Here! Here!
HEG: Oh my! I am fleeing and throwing myself off the ship!
CAPT (urging the crew to pursue): Help, sailors! Help and give chase!

ο͑ μεν ͑Ηγεστρατος φευγει κατωθεν, οι͑ δε ναυται βοηθουσι και τον ͑Ηγεστρατον διωκουσιν. α͗νω μενει ο͑ Ζηνοθεμις. ο͑ μεν ͑Ηγεστρατος προς τον Ζηνοθεμιν βλεπει, ο͑ δε Ζηνοθεμις προς τους ναυτας. α͗ναβαινουσι γαρ οι͑ ναυται και διωκουσιν.

ΖΗΝ: α͗λλα τι ποιεις, ω͗ ͑Ηγεστρατε;
ΗΓ (running up to Sdenothemis): ι͗δου, διωκουσι με οι͑ ναυται, ω͗ Ζηνοθεμι. ε͗γω δε φευγω. μη μενε, α͗λλα φευγε και συ, και ρ͑ιπτε σεαυτον ε͗κ του πλοιου. α͗ναβαινουσι γαρ η͗λη οι͑ α͗νδρες
ΖΗΝ (with a glance at the pursuing crew): οι͗μοι. τους γαρ ναυτας η͗λη γε ο͑ρω. συ δε ποι φευγεις;
ΗΓ: φευγω ει͗ς την θαλατταν ε͗γωγε. ο͑ γαρ λεμβος ε͗ν τῃ θαλαττῃ ε͗στιν. α͗γε δη συ, σῳζε σεαυτον. ρ͑ιπτε σεαυτον ει͗ς την θαλατταν, και μη μενε

While Hegestratos flees from below, the sailors help and pursue Hegestratos. Above, Sdenothemis waits. As Hegestratos looks to Sdenothemis, Sdenothemis [looks] to the sailors. The sailors ascend and pursue.SDE: What are you doing, Hegestratos?
HEG (running up to Sdenothemis): Hey! The sailors are chasing me, Sdenothemis! I am fleeing! Don’t wait, flee too, and throw yourself off the ship! The men are already ascending!
SDE (with a glance at the pursuing crew): Oh my! I can see the sailors! Where are you fleeing to?
HEG: I am fleeing to the sea, for there is a lifeboat in the sea! Come on, you too! Save yourself! Throw yourself into the sea – don’t wait!

ο͑ ͑Ηγεστρατος και Ζηνοθεμις ου͗ μενουσιν α͗λλα φευγουσιν. ει͗ς την γαρ θαλατταν ρ͑ιπτουσιν ε͑αυτους οι͑ α͗νθρωποι και τον λεμβον ζητουσιν. και οι͑ μεν ναυται α͗πο του πλοιου την φυγην ο͑ρωσιν, ο͑ δε κυβερνητης τον λεμβον α͗πολυει. ο͑ δε λεμβος α͗πο του πλοιου α͗ποχωρει.

ΖΗΝ (thrashing around in the waves): οι͗μοι, που ο͑ λεμβος; που ε͗στιν, ω͗ ͑Ηγεστρατε;
ΗΓ: ε͗γω τον λεμβον ου͗χ ο͑ρω, ω͗ Ζηνοθεμι – οι͗μοι
ΖΗΝ: α͗ποθνῃσκομεν, ω͗ ͑Ηγεστρατε. βοηθειτε, ω͗ ναυται, βοηθειτε
ΗΓ: α͗ποθνῃσκω –
ΔΙΚ: α͗ρα τους α͗νθρωπους ο͑ρᾳς συ, ω͗ κυβερνητα; α͗ποθνῃσκουσι γαρ οι͑ α͗νθρωποι. ο͑ γαρ λεμβος α͗πο του πλοιου α͗ποχωρει
ΚΥΒ: μη φροντιζε· κακοι γαρ ει͗σιν οι͑ α͗νθρωποι, ω͗ Δικαιοπολι, και κακως α͗ποθνῃσκουσιν

Hegestratos and Sdenothemis do not wait; they flee. They throw themselves into the sea, and the look for the lifeboat. While the sailors on the boat watch the men flee, the captain releases the lifeboat. The lifeboat floats away from the ship.SDE (thrashing around in the waves): Oh my! Where is the lifeboat? Where is it, Hegestratos?
HEG: I do not see the lifeboat Sdenothemis! Oh my!
SDE: We are dying, Hegestratos! Help, sailors! Help!
HEG: I am dying!
DIK: Do you see the men, Captain? The men are dying. The lifeboat has floated away from the ship.
CAPT: Don’t worry; the men were bad, Dikaiopolis, and they are dying a [fittingly] bad death.

I have to be honest with you, I reread that last part a few times just to make sure that’s really what it said. For the crime of scuttling a ship to make off with the insurance money, Hegestratos and Sdenothemis (the two heroes of our tragically brief story) have both been subjected to a horrible death. “Welcome to the world of ancient Greek literature”, is what the editors of this slim little volume appear to be saying. “Enjoy your stay”.




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