Human Stupidity by Ion Creanga  

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One of the best known Romanian folk stories is that of "Human Stupidity", as told by a Romanian bard from Moldova, Ion Creanga – famous for his “Recollections from Childhood”. I haven't found an English translation online, so I decided to translate it myself with the help of Google.

WE LIVE IN THE ERA OF SMART PHONES AND STUPID PEOPLE.First published in Învatatorul copiilor..., ed. III, Iasi, 1874; as usual, I translate with Google and make a few quick corrections, so I apologize if the quality is low:

Once upon a time, when it was, because, if it hadn’t been, we’d have no story to tell.

We are not from those times, but we are two to three days closer, when the flea wore ninety-nine lbs iron heavy shoes to a foot and it still felt too light.

It’s been said that once there was a married man, and this man lived together with his mother-in-law. His wife, who had a suckling child, was rather dumb; even the mother-in-law was no smartie.

One day, our man leaves the house to go about his business, like every man does. His wife bathed the baby, swaddled and nursed him, then she put him in bed next to the stove, because it was winter, and then swung it and sang a lullaby, until he fell asleep. After he fell asleep, she sat there thinking, then began to wail as loud as her mouth allowed: "Aulio! My baby, my baby!"

Her mother, who spun behind the chimney, startled, threw away her tools and, jumping up selflessly, asked with dread:

- What is it, mother’s dearest, what’s with you?

- Mother, Mother! My child will die!

- When and how?

- Here's how. See the salt block on the chimney?

- I see it. So?

- If the cat climbs up there, it will throw it straight to my baby's head and kill him!

- Woe to me, right you are, my girl; the little one’s days are numbered!

And, looking ahead to block of salt on the chimney and with their hands clenched, as if someone had tied them, they began to wail both, like crazy, as if the house was boiling. While they were in the midst of self-disfigurement, the man of the house entered the door, hungry and worried.

- What is it? What startled you, witches?

Catching their breath, they began to wipe off their tears and tell him while mourning about the happening that had yet to happen. The man, after listening to them, said with wonder:

- Aye! (that's a medieval YO!) I saw many fools in my life, but never like you two. I’'ll go roam the land! And if I find anyone dumber than you, I’ll be coming home, but if not, I won’t.

So saying, he sighed heavily, leaving the house without saying goodbye, and left angry and bitter!

YOU ARE SO STUPID (animated gif)And he walking batty without knowing where to, after some time, stopping in one place, it happened to see something that he had never seen before: a man was holding a bushel with its mouth to the desert sun for a short while then quickly grabbed it and ran back with it in his shack, and then he’d come back out, and put its mouth to the sun, and so on ... Our traveler, puzzled, said:

- Hello, good man!

- Thank you, friend!

- But what are you doing here?

- Well, I’ve been toiling for the past two or three days to carry some sun into my shack, to have light, but to no avail...

- What a drudge, aye! said the traveler. Have an axe handy?

- Yes I do.

- Grab it by the tail, break here and the sun will go inside by itself.

Once he did so, and sunlight got into the shack.

- A great wonder, good man, said the host. Had God not brought you here, I was to grow old carrying the sun with my bushel.

"Another goof," said the traveler to himself and left.

And on he went. After a while he reached a village, and, by chance, stopped at the house of a man. The man of the house was a wheelwright, and had assembled a carriage in the house, in its entirety; and now wished to take it out, so he pulled the hitch with all his might but the wagon would not come out. You know why? The doors were narrower than the cart. The man wanted to demolish the walls to take it out. Luckily however, the traveler taught him to take the cart apart, take the parts outside one by one and then put it back together again.
- Much obliged, good man, said the host, you taught me well! Just think about it! I was about to demolish this good old house for the cart’s sake ...

From here on our traveler, counting yet another dimwit, went straight ahead, until he again reached a house. There, what do you see?! A man with a big fork in one hand, was trying to throw some nuts into the attic.

"More and more idiots," said the traveler itself.

- But why are you so troubled, good man?

- Well, I want to throw some nuts in the attic, and this damned big fork, cursed be its name, not is no good ...

- You toil pointlessly, uncle! You can curse it all you want, the fork won’t work. Have a bushel?

- How could I not have it?

- Put the nuts in the bushel, take it on the shoulder and climb up to the attic; the big fork is for straw, not for nuts.

The man listened, and work was soon over. Traveler did not linger there any more, but left, counting one more idiot.

Then, from there he went on, until he had to see yet another silly deed. A man had tied a cow with a rope around the neck and, having climbed up to a barn where he had thrown some hay, was pulling the rope hard to get cow up on the barn. The cow was in pain, and he was getting tired ...

- My man! said the traveler in stupor, but what are you trying to do?

- What am I doing, you ask me? But can’t you see?

- I do see, I just do not understand.

- Look, this cow is very hungry but would rather die than come up here on this barn to get some hay ...

- Hold on, Christian, you’re hanging the cow! Take the hay down to the cow!

- But won’t it get wasted? ...

- Do not be sparing of bran and cheap on the flour.

The man listened and the cow escaped death.

- Well you taught me, good man! For this little hay I was about to strangle my cow!

So, our traveler, wondering and this is great folly, said to himself, "the cat could have possibly pushed the salt block off the chimney, but carry the sun in the house with a bushel, throw walnuts to the attic with a big fork and drag the cow up to the barn by rope, NEVER! "

So the traveler returned home and partied with his own, whom he considered more enlightened than those who saw in his journey.

I want to rip your fucking head off, because you are so fucking stupid - animated gifAND I rode on a saddle, and so told you this ditty.

AND I rode on a wheel, and I told it still.

AND I rode on a strawberry, and I lied to make you merry!

The story seems to equate female passivity and lack of agency with stupidity. Women are passive and complain while the man is the doer – he makes things happen, he is the agent of change. Yet this is not what the story is about. After roaming the land in search of intelligence, our hero goes back home where things are not as bad. I included for good measure links to the original in Romanian as well as the audio version + other stories by Ion Creanga made into movies [pacala se intoarce] [mama / capra cu trei iezi]. Finally, you can find the movie [idiocracy] (imdb).

Sources / More info: wikisource, neamt

Thank you for reading (mulţam fain pentru cetire)! Publicat Tuesday, May 08, 2012 . Similar articles under the following categories (poţi găsi articole similare sub următoarele categorii): (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe) . Dacă ţi-a plăcut articolul, PinIt-uieste-l, ReddIt-eaza-l, stumble-uieste-l altora, trimite-l pe WhatsApp yMess şi consideră abonarea la fluxul RSS sau prin email. Ma poti de asemenea gasi pe Google. Trackback poateputea fi trimis prin URL-ul de sub Comentarii.
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