Ladino lovers in a hole

Just in case you thought Sephardic morality tales were all doom and gloom and putrid canines, here’s one in which true love triumphs over promiscuity, dodgy geology and a thoroughly nasty little weasel:

A girl fell into a pit while on the way to her father’s house. A young man appeared in the mouth of the shaft and sais, “If you promise to marry me, I’ll find a way of getting you out of there.” “Excellent!” she said, so he got her out of the pit, and the two of them swore that he would not take another woman nor would she marry another. And they said, “Although we haven’t got any witnesses, let this pit and that weasel walking over there be our witnesses.”

And so they went their separate ways. She maintained her oath, but he went to another town and married another, and the first son born to him was bitten and killed by a weasel. When his second son was already a big lad, he fell into the pit and died. His wife complained to him, saying, “Why do our sons die such strange deaths? Surely some sin must have been committed.”

Then he remembered this story and he told his wife everything that had happened. She said to him, “If you’ve sworn to take her, then you have to do it, and I don’t want you as my husband.”

And she was as good as her word, even giving him a divorce, and he went to the town of the girl and married her.

Like my previous translation, this is taken from Pascual Pascual Recuero’s Antología de cuentos sefardíes, which I think is absolutely brilliant and which will cost you all of 12€ at the Casa del Llibre. Mr Recuero points out that this tale is a gloss on Genesis 31, where Laban and Jacob take as their witness a heap of stones. Here’s his transliteration:

Una muĉaĉa se kayó en un pozo kuando kería ir en kaza de su paÄ‘re. Se aparó un manseƀo en la boka del pozo, diziendo:
–Si me aprometes de kazarte kon mí, aré moÄ‘o a sakarte.
Dixo elya:
–Muy bueno.
I la sakó del pozo, i Å·uraron los dos ke él no tome otra mužer ni elya se kaze kon otro. I dixeron:
–Aunke no tenemos ‘ēđîm, ma este pozo i esta nifisa ke ƀa kaminando sean nuestros ‘ēđîm.
I se fue kaÄ‘a uno a su kamino. Elya mantuƀo a su Å¡eƀû‘āh; ma él se fue a otra siƀdad i se kazó kon otra, i el primer ižo bekôr ke le nasyó lo mordyó una nifisa y lo mató. El segundo ižo, siendo grandeziko, se kayó dientro del pozo y se muryó. Se kexó la mužer kon él, diziendo:
–¿Ké es la razón ke nos mueren los ižos mîṯāh meÅ¡unnāh? Sierto ke algún pekaÄ‘o mo lo kaƀza.
Estonses se akordó dito kuento i le kontó a su mužer toÄ‘o lo pasaÄ‘o. Elya le dixo:
–Siendo tienes Å¡eƀû‘āh de tomarla, deƀías de afirmarlo; i no me konƀiene tenerƀos por mariÄ‘o.
I tanto izo, asta ke le dyo su gÄ“ṭ, i se fue a la siƀdaÄ‘ de dita muĉaĉa i se kazó kon elya.

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