Local Language: Pleasantries

PLEASANTRIES

 

And now a bit of pleasant curiosity: Riddles (nduvinagghia)

 

1. Cu’ e chi nasciu, nun piccau, adurau Diu e nun si sarvau? (Lu sceccu)
1. Who was born, never sinned, adored God and didn’t get saved? (The mule/donkey)

2. Cu’ ddr’armalu cu’ Diu grapiu la vucca e lu fici parlari? (Lu sceccu di Balaam)
2. To which animal did God give the gift of speech? (Donkey of Balaam)

3. Si tu abbisi zoccu portu ti nni dugnu quantu gratti? (Lu tamazzu)
3. If you can guess what I’m carrying I’ll give as much as you grate. (Cheese)

4. A quali di l’armali Diu cuncessi l’onuri cchiu granni? (Lu sceccu -cavalcato da Gesu)
4. To which animal did God grant the highest honor? (the donkey that carried Jesus)

5. Qual’e lu mortu chi dormi cu lu vivu? (La cinniri chi copri lu focu)
5. What dead thing sleeps with the living? (ashes that cover a fire)

6. Mortu, spilatu e va gridannu? (Lu tammurinu)
6. What is dead, skinned and goes around making noise? (a drum)

7. Prima stavanu dintra lu patruni, ora lu patruni sta dintra d’iddri? (Li vudeddra di lu por cu)
7. First they were inside the owner, now the owner is inside of them? (the intestines of a pig – sausage)

8. Lu figghiu ‘ngratu abballa e la mamma si spila? (Lu fusu e la rocca)
8. The ungrateful child dances while the mother pulls her hair out? (the spool and the weight)

9. Sta ‘nta lu fangu e nun s’infanga? Sta ‘nta l’acqua e nun arrimoddra? (Lu raggiu di lu suli)
9. What stays in the mud but doesn’t get muddy? What stays in the water but doesn’t soften? (the rays of the sun)

10. La cosa cchiu asciutta qual’e? (La sacchetta di lu jucaturi)
10. What is the driest thing ever? (a gambler’s pocket)

11. La cosa cchiu dura qual’e? (Lu cori di l’usuraju)
11. What is the hardest thing ever? (the heart of a money lender)

12. Quali su li latri priati? (Li ‘mpignatura)
12. Which are the most adored (respected) thieves? (loan sharks)

13. Qual’e l’occhiu chi ridi? (L’occhiu di lu suli)
13. Which eye is the one that laughs? (the glare of the sun)

14. Qual’e l’occhiu chi chianci? (L’occhiu di la vita)
14. Which eye is the one that cries? (the experience of life)

15. Virdi nasci, russu pasci, nivuru mori? (Lu cevusu)
15. It is born green, becomes red, and “dies” black? (a blackberry)

16. Trasi, tocca e si nni va? (Lu medicu)
16. What enters, touches and then goes away? (a doctor)

17. C’e ‘na cosa lungarina, dintra e fora china china, quantu e’ bona, quantu e’ bona quannu nivura s’arriduci? (La carruba)
17. It’s long and skinny, it fills inside and out, it’s delicious and sweet it is when it becomes black? (a carob)

18. Lu moddru chi percia lu duru ? (la stizzana)
18. What is soft but pierces what is hard? ( a drop of water)

19. Si ssi’ omu e l’arma t’abbasta, dimmi cu cammina cu la testa? (Li tacci di li scarpi)
19. If you’re a man and your soul is satisfied, tell me who walks with their head? (the heels of shoes)

20. ’Nta l’acqua nasci, ‘nta l’acqua pasci, vidennu l’acqua iddru spirisci? (Lu sali)
20. In water it’s created, in water its dissolved; seeing water it disappears? (salt)

21. Aju ‘na beddra qualita’, piaciu a tutti li pirsuni, ora cca, ora ddra, canciu sempri di patruni? (Lu sordu)
21. I have value, everyone likes me, now here; now over there, I always change owners? (money)

22. Mi scantu a pigghiarla, mi scantu a tuccarla, cci tagghiu la testa, cci tagghiu la cuda e viu ddra dintra ‘na beddra signura? (La ficudinia)
22. I’m afraid to grab it, I’m afraid to touch it, I cut its head, I cut its end and I see inside a beautiful “lady”? ( a prickly cactus pear)

23. Sugnu amara e duci mi fazzu, fazzu allustru a lu me palazzu? (L’uliva e l’ogghiu)
23. I am bitter and sweet I become, I make light in my house? (the olive and its oil)

24. Nun manciati, ne viviti, siccu e longu vi faciti? (Lu sparagiu)
24. They don’t eat, they don’t drink, skinny and long they grow? (asparagus)

25. Qual’e lu pettu chi canta? (Lu petturussu)
25. Which breast sings? ( a robin red-breast)

26. Cu’ e’ l’omu chi fa latti? (lu nutaru fa l’atti)
26. What man makes milk? (the notary makes documents) {this is a play on words “latti” (milk) and “atti” (documents)}

(Translation : Annette Chiappetta Rovello 2019 in collaboration with Rosa Pollina Chiappetta).

[This webpage is excerpted from the book: “The History of Poggioreale, Sicily – From 1640 to 1956.” Originally written in Italian by: Canonico Dottore Francesco Aloisio in 1956. Adapted and translated by: Dr. Jeremiah P. Spence, Ph.D. of Austin, Texas. 5th Edition. International Order of Genealogists Publishing. Ireland. 2019. ISBN: 9781072403371. The book can be purchased online at: https://www.amazon.com/History-Poggioreale-Sicily-1640-1956/dp/1072403374/ ]