Friday, July 8, 2011

Mashup: The Brothers Grimm vs. Ho Chi Minh

I've mentioned before that we're trying to raise our kids to be bilingual, with pretty satisfactory results so far.  As they acquire English, they are also becoming quite fluent in Vietnamenglish.  My wife speaks to them mostly in her mother tongue, and I use my 35 or so Vietnamese words whenever I can.  As a result, English speakers who try to engage the twins in conversation think there are great gaps in their language acquisition.  Oh, you poor things--you don't even know the word "milk," they surely think.

In order to encourage their Vietnamese speaking and literacy, we bought a bunch of kids' books at a shop in the Little Saigon area of Orange County, CA.  They have proven to be pretty popular; but for some reason, the kids usually demand that "Daddy read it!" instead of letting their mom read them in their original language.

The books are all so wonderfully bizarre (as are the nursery rhymes my mother-in-law taught them) that I had a hard time deciding which one to share here.  I picked one of the stories that seems to be based on a Brothers Grim tale...or maybe it's a composite of several of them, or maybe just a riff on the whole Grimm genre.  

I have not yet been successful in getting my wife to translate it for me, so I just make up the story as I go along whenever I "read" it to the twins.

Please enjoy my interpretation of the story I call...


The Revenge of the Baby Goats



The Revenge of the Baby Goats


One day, Mama Goat went into town to collect some garbage for her kids' dinner. "Be good!" she said to the baby goats.  "And make sure you sweep up all of those miniature billiard balls!"

Little did Mama Goat realize, there was a mean old blue wolf lurking in the mushroom patch.  Once Mama Goat was out of sight, Wolf leered in through the door, causing the baby goats to express a range of emotions, from consternation, to confusion, to sheepishness, to anger. 






The wolf stopped at the insect store, and considered buying a jar full of bees. "They're very fresh," said his friend Mr. Bear.  But Wolf really wanted to eat baby goats, so he went back to look through their window.  "They look so tasty," thought Wolf.  "But how can I possibly get at them when they're secured in this fortress?"



"I know!" thought Wolf.  "I'll cover my hand in bread dough so that it won't hurt when I punch the door in!"  So he went back to town and visited his friend the baker.  "Thanks, Mr. Human!" he said as he left the bakery, his breaded fist raised in excitement. Then he returned once more to the goats' house.  "Aaaargh!!!  I am Bread-Fist," he shouted, bursting through the door.  "Prepare to meet your doom!"


Wolf was sleepy after gobbling up all those goats.  He stretched out under a tree to take a nap.  Meanwhile Mama Goat was returning home.  "Oh!" she gasped. "What a horrible mess.  And there's an alien that was shot twice in the head while reading one of my books.  Oh, wait.  That's not an alien; it's just a pillow and a blanket.  Still...It's a really big mess."




Mama Goat took the only remaining baby and went to look for Wolf.  "There he is," she said, "with all my children in his belly."  Then she took the last baby home and put him inside of the grandfather clock.








Then she went back to where Wolf was sleeping.  Very quietly, so as to not wake the sleeping wolf, Mama Goat snipped his belly open with some sewing scissors.  "Hooray," said the babies as they crawled out of the wolf.  Luckily, they were only partially digested.



Next, the baby goats filled Wolf's abdominal cavity with duck eggs.  Mama Goat chuckled as she threaded her sewing needle.  "I feel so bloated," said Wolf when he woke up.  "And why do I have these stitches?"




Just then, the baby goats bum-rushed the wolf and pushed him into the river!  "Hey!" said Wolf, "This water is really cold! And now my fur is going to be all frizzy when I get out"  "Hahahahaha," cackled the goats, "That's what you get for eating us alive!"




30 comments:

  1. I guess if u want to be industrious you could put it in Babel fish, page by page? Or google an English translation..

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sure your version is better. Fizzy hair being a very just, if harsh, punishment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'll be honest I can't really see how the actual version could be much different from the pictures

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, that was one terrifying story but, for all intents and purposes, it looks like you are spot-on in your interpretation. Though, frankly, it seems highly irresponsible of the mother goat to leave what are clearly tiny goats (toddlers at the MOST) alone in the house. What other outcome could she have expected? Furthermore, WTF is with her stealing the duck's babies/eggs in order to save her own kids? I think somebody needs to call kid protective services on this goat. But maybe that's just me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm pretty sure I was read this book (in English) as a child.
    I vaguely remember that they put rocks so the wolf would drown and die, not duck eggs but I do really like your translation of the story.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, I also thought it was rocks. Otherwise, that interpretations is just as my 5-year-old who is just learning to read would have surmised with the "interpretive reading" she learned in kindergarten. A+.
    Heather S.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The frog on the final page also seems to be taking great pleasure in the wolf's death. Perhaps s/he also suffered a horrible family misfortune at the hands (mouth) of the wolf.

    I guess the moral of the story is that wolves don't bleed when you cut them open, so you need to be more creative when killing them?

    ReplyDelete
  8. great site did you do it and what program do you use

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's worldwide...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wolf_and_the_Seven_Young_Kids

    ReplyDelete
  10. Please, please translate another! This is hysterical!
    Devan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OKAY OKAY! I'M GONNA DO IT RIGHT AWAY!

      Delete
  11. Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard I snorted at the BREAD FIST OF DOOM!! So funny!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are clearly a very good dad and gifted translator of children's books.

    I have some IKEA assembly directions with no words at all, just little cartoon people and stuff.

    Can sent it to you so your talents are not just wasting away and so I can get my $50 nightstands in place finally?

    Keep up the good work, I looove laugh/cry/snorting reading funny stuff that doesn't cost me a dime!

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scan the instructions, and I'll translate them. Do you want them in English of Vietnamese?

      Delete
  13. I was sent by 'Let Me Start By Saying' - this was effing hilarious and I am going to read all your other posts now. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you stopped by! Also, I need to send her some flower or something. Sheesh.

      Delete
  14. In his defense, those goats do look delicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You really have to eat them young. They get a little stringy when they're older.

      Delete
  15. This was hysterical! My husband is Chinese and we have some interesting Chinese children's books that look a lot like this one. Just found your blog through Motherhood WTF.

    ReplyDelete

Don't hold back.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails