Frogs Say "Kovaaahe"
by Josephine Glenmore
Na'êstse kâse'éehe éhnôhtsêstovósesto heške,
One young woman asked her mother,
"Éohkeóxôhevoöne oonâhá'e ôhmónenéstoohévosêstse?"
"What do they say, frogs, when they first croak (in the spring)?"
"héméhe, naa kováááhe, éohkêhevoöne, éxhesêstse.
"Oh, well, 'kovaaahe,' they say," she said.
naa éxhohátse'tôhesêstse mâhtamâhááhe,
And she was laughed at, the old lady,(because)
kovááhe móxheševéhehevóhe hevéxaho.
Kovaahe he was named, her son-in- law.
(Note: many non-Cheyennes will miss the wonderful humor of this piece. In Cheyenne culture there is an avoidance relationship between women and their sons-in-law. The woman and her son-in-law should not speak to each other. So when the woman of this story uttered her son's name, it was breaking a cultural taboo and was considered really funny to everyone. Your site's host especially enjoys this story because he has been given the Cheyenne name of Kovaahe.)
Mrs. Glenmore told this story directly to me in 1986. I wrote down the words. I surely do miss her. She died unexpectedly in 1990. She was a special friend and a gifted Cheyenne language teacher. We spent many wonderful hours together recording her language. She had a gift for remembering Cheyenne words and translating them to English.
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