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Comment on A Found Dream (1977)

There's a nice interview with the creators of this cartoon over here in which they talk about it (it's in Russian).

Comment on Heather Ale (1974)

All I can do is translate the meaning but it's really not that appealing. This poem is not famous in Vietnam and no one knows it, although Robert Louis Stevenson's novels have been very familiar to Vietnamese children since the early twentieth century.

Comment on Underworld Lamp (1988)

This story seems like a version of the Brothers Grimm. It tells the story of a poor couple who chose the angel of death to be the godfather of their newborn child. That child grew up to become a physician. This physician was allowed by the angel of death to hold a leaf, which if placed upside down means the patient lives and upside down means the patient dies.

Because the physician disobeyed his godfather's orders to save the king (or princess, depending on the versions), the angel of death led him to hell, where the lamps were. According to the Saigonese play, the angel of death held the lamps of the physician and the princess together so that they could live longer. However, in the Grimm story, the angel of death deceived the physician, causing the lamp to fall and the physician to die. Anyway, I myself still love the message of the play better : Today is the happiest day of my life, even though I am the angel of death, I have saved a person's life.

In my understanding, the lamp or the angel of death are both manifestations of the Zoroastrian culture that remained in the Caucasus during the period of Christianization. Zoroastrians tried to preserve their beliefs in remote and hidden places, such as caves. It seems like Peer Gynt : The Gnomes and the Mountain King (Гномы и Горный Король).

Comment on A Basket with Spruce Cones (1989)

>As for its title, I used Eus's plan.
Eus got that translation from Google Translate, but it's wrong. Try to search for both in quotes, and you'll see that the "poppycake seller" title is the one used by actual human translators.
>This film is in Belarusian, so I tried everything but couldn't translate it.
It's in Russian, actually. I just checked. I starts with "Я хотела бы сходить за сокровищами… Не бежать от своего детства, а идти ему навстречу; любить и видеть то, что нельзя тронуть рукой: лес, воздух, тишину, небо, луну, время". (by the way, if you do a Google search for that, you will find the academic article "ЗВУКОВОЕ РЕШЕНИЕ АНИМАЦИОННОГО ФИЛЬМА В КИНЕМАТОГРАФЕ БЕЛАРУСИ", which talks about the film).
To be honest, I hope that a better scan of that film turns up. With the existing VHS scans, I find it hard to tell what's going on too often, given the detailed art style.

Comment on The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish (1950)

Since ancient times, a story has been passed down that a Chinese king once went to the river to fish. He saw a male crab taking care of a female crab that was in the process of shedding her shell very painfully, but after her recovery, she colluded with another male crab to kill her husband. The king immediately returned to the palace to issue this order : Any woman who dares to behead her partners will be rewarded. Soon after, thousands of women brought their spouses' heads to the royal palace. The king again issued a similar order to men. However, after a year he found that no one came to receive the reward. There was a poor farmer who went to the palace and asked the king to lend him a sword to kill his wife. But when he returned home, he heard his wife's voice lulling their child very plaintively, so he returned to the palace and asked the king to kill him because he had not completed it. The king immediately praised him and gave him a big reward.

The story is officially written like that. However, in other popular versions : Dã Tràng killed the snake's wife for adultery, so the husband gave him a blood-colored gem, which could help him understand the language of birds. Because he understood the sounds of birds, he once again helped the goose family not to be separated after an acquaintance wanted to treat him to goose meat. The geese gave him a pearl, which enabled him to walk under water like Moshe. The geese also swore that they would never eat shrimps again, because the small shrimps died in their place (the meal that should have had goose meat was replaced with roasted shrimps). Dã Tràng took the pearl without care, causing the sea to tremble, so the Dragon King condescended to give him many precious things. After that, the Dragon King lied to Dã Tràng's wife and said he wanted to marry her on the condition that she steal the gems, then brought them to the aquarium. After the incident broke out, Dã Tràng, out of anger, carried sand to fill the sea until he died. That's why there is a verse that says : Dã Tràng rolls sand in the East Sea ; Although it was very tiring but that was of no use (Dã Tràng se cát biển Đông ; Nhọc nhằn mà chẳng nên công cán gì). That's it !

Comment on The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish (1950)

Regarding the consequences of greed on family happiness, I continue to tell a Vietnamese folktale : The Origin of the Sand Bubbler Crabs (Sự tích con dã tràng). This is probably the smallest crab in the world, what live on the beach and often roll sand into balls similar to the behavior of scarab beetles. The legend of these crabs may have originated from some records about Gongye Chang (公冶長), the student and son-in-law of Kong Fuzi. Here, his name in Vietnamese is Công-dã Tràng (surname + name), which is homophone with "công dã-tràng" (the career of Dã-Tràng). This story is long but very easy to understand and engaging.

❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀

Long time ago, there lived a hunter named Dã Tràng. Everyday he would take his bow and arrows and head to the forest in search for a worthy prey. He follows the same trail everytime he hunts, passing by the same shrine along the way where lived two spotted serpents, which he feared at first, but as they never harmed him, he became accustomed of their presence. Later, he grew fascinated of their graceful movements and the remarkable beauty and shimmer of their scales.

On the way to hunting one day, Dã Tràng heard a great noise coming from the shrine, so he came close to see. Witnessing a furious struggle between the two spotted serpents and a huge deadly snake, he quickly took his bow and arrow and fired at the unfamiliar fiery creature, cutting through its neck while it quickly slithered off into the forest. One of the spotted snakes set out in pursuit of the wounded attacker while the other laid lifeless on the ground. Full of pity, Dã Tràng buried it before the shrine.

During his sleep that night, Dã Tràng dreamt about receiving a strange visit from the surviving serpent. It thanked him for saving them from danger and for giving its mate an honorable burial. As a token of gratitude, the serpent dropped a shiny white pearl from its mouth and said, “Place this pearl beneath your tongue as this will help you understand the language of animals. This will greatly help you as you hunt”.

Dã Tràng woke up and found a beautiful pearl beside his pillow. Recalling everything the serpent had told him in his dream, he placed the peal beneath his tongue as he set out for the forest to hunt that day. The first animal that he chanced upon was a deer. But when his arrow missed, the deer ran off to hide. To his surprise, a crow screamed, “I see the deer’s flight, it’s a hundred paces to the right”.

Having understood the crow’s language, he realized that what the serpent said about the pearl was indeed true. So he followed the crow’s advice and easily brought down his prey. Again, the crow spoke to Dã Tràng asking for its reward. In return, the hunter gave the bird all the deer’s parts which served him no use. Since then, Dã Tràng and the crow agreed to hunt together. As the bird leads him to the prey, the hunter would have to leave the entrails on the ground for the crow to feed on.

And everyday, both Dã Tràng and the crow would keep their part of the bargain and help each other hunt. One afternoon, Dã Tràng had shot and killed a wild pig. As usual, he cut the pig open and left its entrails on the ground for the crow but another bird came and stole them. When the crow arrived and discovered nothing had been left, it angered the bird greatly and assumed that Dã Tràng failed to leave his share.

Quickly, it flew to the hunter’s house and protested. Dã Tràng insisted that he left the entrails as promised. But the bird did not believe him and accused him of being a liar. The young man became angry by this. He fired an arrow at the crow, but missed. The crow seized the arrow with its claws, furiously screaming its revenge, and flew off. Several days later, Dã Tràng was arrested. A poisoned arrow bearing his name had been discovered in the body of a drowned man. In spite of his protests of innocence, he was thrown to jail.

The young man then spent days and weeks in prison. One day, he noticed a parade of ants on the prison walls, hurrying by with food on their shoulders. Curious to know the reason for such hurry, he called out to the ants and inquired. The tiny creatures told him that a great flood is coming. Dã Tràng told the guard to pass on the warning, who, reported this to the warden and hastened to inform the king. Though skeptical, the king ordered that the necessary measures be taken. And indeed, three days later, a very big flood swept across the land.

Grateful for having saved everyone in the kingdom, the king ordered Dã Tràng to be released from prison and appointed the young man as his adviser. Dã Tràng used his abilities to keep the kingdom safe from storms and floods, and to receive news from the birds and horses when enemy armies are approaching from a distance. But he never revealed the source of his powers.

On one beautiful spring morning, as Dã Tràng went sailing with the king, he heard strange voices beneath the waves. Looking over the side, he saw a cuttlefish swimming alongside the royal barge, singing a joyous tune. The sight of the cuttlefish singing and rolling along with the waves amused the young man greatly. Dã Tràng began to laugh, and soon he was laughing uncontrollably. As he did, the pearl slipped from his mouth and fell into the water.

Appalled, Dã Tràng leaped from the boat and began desperately searching the waters. He quickly called out to the king and told him of his precious pearl and that his men should help him find it. So the king ordered dozens of his men to wade out into the shallows and churn the waters in search of the pearl, but their efforts were fruitless.

The following day, Dã Tràng continued his search. Still, he found nothing. Day after day, week after week, he never stopped searching. Months and years passed, Dã Tràng stayed by the seashore, still searching and sifting through handfuls of sand, but he never found the pearl again. He wept endlessly over his irretrievable loss. He retreated to misery, and soon, Dã Tràng died an unhappy and discontented man.

He passed on his inconsolable soul to the tiny sand crabs, which, if you notice, scurry from hole to hole, endlessly turning every grain of sand in an attempt to search for the magic pearl. This story serves as a reminder to those who attempts to go beyond the limits of their human abilities and pursue and impossible task which reaps no rewards. Just like Dã Tràng, who transformed himself into millions of sand crabs to roll the sand in perpetuity, but never achieved his goal.

Comment on A Basket with Spruce Cones (1989)

This film is in Belarusian, so I tried everything but couldn't translate it. As for its title, I used Eus's plan.

Replies: >>4

Comment on A Basket with Spruce Cones (1989)

Yes, I can see the stylistic similarity. Though the proper translation of "Лафертовская маковница" is "The Lafertovo Poppycake Seller"

Comment on At the Back of the Class (1) (1978)


Of course : 1 2. Thank for your interest !

Comment on At the Back of the Class (1) (1978)

Hi, I was wondering if there is a subtitle for the prototype or predecessor version of this cartoon named Prodelkin at School?

Replies: >>3

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