Month: January 2014

Reading in Georgian: 3 მელა და წერო (The Fox and the Stork)

“The Fox and the Stork” is a tale with a moral.


მელა და წერო.

I first started reading books in a foreign language when I lived in France. In January 1993, I read Jules Verne’s classic science fiction novel Voyage au Centre de la Terre in French. I knew the story having read the book previously in English and having also seen the film. It took me a month to get through the novel underlining words I didn’t know, checking in a bilingual English-French dictionary and marking the book in pencil with the English translation. I have since read over a hundred books in French.


I now have books in three languages to read. I no longer need a pencil and dictionary for reading in French, only occasionally do I find a word, I don’t know. The Georgian book is a library book, so I won’t mark it. I use a notebook to copy out each line of Georgian then use a combination of what I know, Google Translate and my wonderful Georgian wife, to translate each line into English. I am not at a stage yet, where I can think in Georgian.


The books are short, so I can get through one in a couple of hours.


This story is about a fox (მელა) and a stork (წერო), who are friends but the naughty fox likes to play tricks on his friends.

მელა წეროს ხშირად ეხუმრებოდა … The fox liked playing tricks on the stork.

The fox had an idea for a new trick and invited the stork to lunch. The poor stork was unable to eat the soup from a bowl.


საბრალო წერო! Poor stork! You can see her difficulties from the delightful illustrations.

As you might have guessed the stork got her own back, inviting the fox for a meal which he couldn’t eat, because it was served in tall thin glasses.


The moral of the tale being: always treat your friends well and they won’t trick you.

Now I have a third book in the Usbourne first reading series.


ჭრიჭინა და და ჭიანჭველა (The Cricket and the Ant). I think it will be a while before I can read the works of famous Georgian writers like Rustaveli, Vazha-Pshavela or Tabidze in the original Georgian.

Reading in Georgian: 2 ლომი და ტაგვი


Four years and five months in Georgia and my knowledge of the language is still woeful.  On Friday, I joined the Mediatek (library) and borrowed some children’s books, with the aim of finally learning Georgian through reading.

Three of the books are level one readers aimed at Georgian children, the fourth is a book about the Georgian painter, Pirosmani (ფიროსმანი).

I started with the tale of the lion and the mouse ლომი და ტაგვი.



ხის ძირას ლომს ეძინა … a lion was sleeping under a tree…Georgian has six cases as does Latin but they are not quite the same… lion is ლომი but here it is ლომს the -ს is at the end for some reason and tree is ხე  but here it is ხის… this is complicated!



Now there is something about a mouse jumping over the lion causing the sleeping cat to wake… “ღრრრრრრრრრრრრრრრრრ…” is how lion’s roar in Georgian.



Plenty more books when I finish reading about the lion and the mouse. I did manage to read the lion and the mouse today, to Ana, my five year old grand daughter. I didn’t understand everything, so I’ll have to go through it again. I understood the main drift of the story: The lion was angry for having been woken up, and wants to eat the little mouse but the frightened mouse begs for mercy and the lion spares him, the mouse says he will help the lion in future, which causes the lion to laugh. Then one day, the lion is caught in a hunter’s trap, the mouse hears the lion’s cries for help and gnaws through the rope net, freeing the lion, they become friends and live happily ever after…

Now maybe I should read about the fox and the stork or perhaps, the ant and the cricket. ..


Microincidents…every day there are small things, which are different from the norm…we go about our daily routine mechanically and we see something or hear something, which we aren’t expecting, maybe something we haven’t seen before.

Sunday: I saw a bearded man accompanied by a child of about ten, rip an advertsing poster off a metro carriage advertising board.

Monday: I saw a dead cat by the side of the road 😦

Tuesday: The escalator on the metro stopped, at first people looked around, as though they were wondering what had happened to their reality and then they started walking down.

Wednesday: a large old woman in front of me couldn’t get onto the bus unaided, with other passengers I had to help push/pull her on.

Today: let’s see what happens…

This post I am leaving as “uncategorized” as I don’t want this to be a broken link.




Is this how the Taliban started?

I don’t intend for my blog to become political. Not that politics isn’t important, it is just I have friends of many different persuasions and politics along with sex, religion, salary, sexual orientation and death is taboo, as I frequently tell my students. Even the weather is straying into taboo waters if the crazies of UKIP are to be believed (apparently, flooding is caused by tolerance of gays, who would have known?).

What spurred this post was an incident I observed on the metro on Sunday.


A man with a beard observes an advert about surrogacy. In Gerogia women can be paid several thousand lari if they agree to be surrogate mothers. In neighboring Russia liberal legislation makes Russia attractive for “reproductive tourists” looking for techniques not available in their countries.  However, in his address on 6th January, the Georgian Patriarch, Ilia II, (head of the Georgian Orthodox Church) spoke out against surrogacy and also IVF treatments, causing much concern in Georgia with those for and against the issue.  “How can a family, where a child born by a surrogate mother is raised, be happy? This little (child) is doomed to be deprived of love and is doomed to loneliness from the very beginning,” the Patriarch stated.


The bearded man then rips the advertisement, the carriage is full people watch but no one reacts, positively or negatively.

On May 17th 2013 an anti-homophobic rally was held in Tbilisi. The gay rights activists holding the rally were met by thousands of protestors led by a couple of priests opposing homosexuality, who were allowed to break through a police cordon and violently pursued them, beating and throwing stones at them.

The following weekend a group of liberal minded Georgians attended an anti-theocracy rally, worried Georgia might go in the direction of Iran or the talibanized Afghanistan.


The offensive poster offering women up to $13 200 if they want to be surrogate mothers, a tempting sum for many Georgians.