Sonderling Sunday – Das Buch der Tausend Tages

Surprise! It’s time for Sonderling Sunday, that time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books.

Way too many years ago now, I lived in Germany for ten years, and while I was there collected some children’s books in German. I also solicited German translations from certain authors who mentioned their lovely translated books on social media. I like to keep my German a little less rusty by trying to read those German translations. And it reminds me of the silly phrases that appear in phrase books that you would never use, and thought I’d make a silly phrasebook out of children’s book translations, and that’s how the series got started.

It’s a surprise today because I have very much fallen out of the habit of posting these. And since I connected it to Sunday and now go to a gaming group on Sunday afternoons, it’s all too easy to skip. In fact, the last time I used Shannon Hale’s Book of a Thousand Days, Das Buch der Tausend Tage (such a wonderful book!), translated by Anne Brauner, was when the Covid-19 pandemic was just getting started and we could all relate to being confined to a tower.

But here I am today, with my timer set for an hour, so let’s begin!

English text will be in quotes, German in italics and if the Google translate from German is different, that will be in parentheses.

Last time, we left off at the start of Day 928. The Lady and her servant are still trapped in the tower, the servant doing the journaling. Here’s the first sentence:
“If my script wiggles, it’s because my hand won’t be steady.”
= Wenn meine Schrift schwankt, liegt es daran, dass ich die Hand nicht ruhig halten kann.

“bricked up” = zugemauert

“Just ripe for the picking” =
Lasst uns das Blümchen brechen! (“Let us break the flower!”)

“log” = Holzklotz

“weak spot” = Schwachstelle

“wet marks” = Spuren von Nässe (“traces of wetness”)

“rescue” = Rettung

“She’s a ball of trembling”
= Sie ist eine bibbernde Kugel

I like the alliteration here:
“the rats chittering around her”
= die Ratten zischen zwitschernd um sie herum
(“the rats hiss and chirp around her”)

“brave” = tapfer

“run away” = weglaufen

“tear at their eyes” = die Augen auskratzen werde

“more dangerous than a mad rat” = gefährlicher als eine wütende Ratte

“shard of the kitchen knife” = die versehrte Klinge des Küchenmessers
(“the damaged blade of the kitchen knife”)

“battering” = der Sturm auf den Turm (“the storming of the tower” – guess they couldn’t resist the rhyme)

“that’s a blessing” = ein Segen erscheint (“a blessing appears”)

Love those long words!
“tight together on the same mattress”
= aneinandergeschmiegt auf einer Matratze
(“on-one-another-nestled on one matress”)

“the ladder squeaks” = die Leiter knarrt

“In the tar black dark” = In der pechschwarzen Dunkelheit

“dried peas” = Dörrerbsen

“comfort” = Trost

“I wish I had a cat curled up in my lap, his sleep purr singing that everything is all right.”
= Wenn sich bloß ein Kater auf meinem Schoss zusammenrollen würde und sein schläfriges Schnurren summte, dass alles in Ordnung ist.

“crouching” = kauern

“It doesn’t matter.” =Es spielt keine Rolle. (“It plays no role.”)

“salted meat” = Pökelsfleischs

“enough to eat” = genügend Nahrung

“snoring” = Schnarchen

“a ram with a cold” = ein erkälteter Bock

I love it when the German’s shorter than the English:
“wax from a cheese wheel” = Käserinde

“lit” = zündete

“the sound of its claws” = das Kratzen der Krallen

“a stinging breath of late Autumn air” = der beißende Hauch der Herbstluft

And I made it to the end of Part One! This is the last sentence:
“And save my lady, who once said that her mucker maid was her best friend.”
= Und versucht, meine Herrin zu retten, die einst sagte, ihre Aratendienerin wäre ihre beste Freundin.

Okay, that’s enough for today! I very much hope you never sound like ein erkälteter Bock and never be described as eine bibbernde Kugel! Here’s wishing you many Segen.

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