Customs, Literature

Two Sheep herders and a Puma, a Quechua Joke from Cuzco

A Hungry Puma (Photo: Wayra)

Speakers of Quechua love to laugh, tease each other, and tell jokes.They find their humor in the situations of everyday life, as they see it. Though humor is found all over the place, both in our English speaking world as well as in Quechua,humor is one of the hardest things to translate. It does not easily move from one Spanish or English speaking country to another, much less from Quechua to English. Nevertheless, here is a joke from rural Quechua for you to enjoy.

In Quechua:
Iskay maqt’achakuna chitanta michishiaranku, chaypi musiarunku uk puma hamusqanta paykunaman, kay wawakuna pumata manchachiyta munanku romita chamqaspa, pumataj hamun kayllataña yarqasqa hina mana manchakuspa. Juk maqt’acha nin jukninta hakuchis seqasun sachaman nispa, juknintaq nin himatataq ruwasun sacha patapiqa pumapas seqaruqtin, juk maqt’achataq nin, ama manchakuychu chitakunallam mana sacha pataman seqayta atinkucho”.

In Spanish:

Dos niños estuvieron pastando sus ovejas, cuando de pronto se dieron cuenta que un puma se acercaba muy calladamente hacia ellos y sus ovejas.
 Trataron de espantar al puma tirando piedras pero el puma parecía tener mucha hambre y se acercaba más y más.
 El primer niño dijo subámonos a un árbol, a lo que el segundo niño dijo: ¿que beneficio nos trae subirnos al árbol si el puma se puede trepar?
Esto fue contestado por el primer pastorcito: “solo apúrate en subir; son las ovejas las que no pueden trepar al árbol”.

In English:

Two children were herding their sheep, when they suddenly realized a mountain lion was quietly creeping up on them and their sheep. They tried to scare it away by throwing rocks, but the puma seemed to be very hungry. It came closer and closer. The first boy said “let’s climb a tree.” The second boy said “What good is it going to do us to climb a tree since cougars can climb?” The first sheep herder responded “just hurry up and climb; the sheep are the ones who can’t climb up the tree.”

A Flock of Sheep and a Young Man (Photo: Wayra)
A Flock of Sheep and a Young Man (Photo: Wayra)

Thanks to Antonio for the joke and to Walter Coraza Morveli for writing it down.

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