Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Nattrinai – 102

O’ red beaked Green parrot nibbling bowed millet stalks!
Don’t be afraid, fulfill your wish as much as you want,
and then fulfill my wish too;
I plead with folded hands;
If you go to meet your kin in his hills
– where trees with numerous jackfruits dot the slopes –
advice my Lord who rules that hill:
young daughter of this hill’s chief
is guarding the millet fields.

கொடுங் குரற் குறைத்த செவ் வாய்ப்பைங் கிளி!
அஞ்சல் ஓம்பி, ஆர் பதம் கொண்டு,
நின் குறை முடித்த பின்றை, என் குறை
செய்தல்வேண்டுமால்; கை தொழுது இரப்பல்;
பல் கோட் பலவின் சாரல் அவர் நாட்டு,
நின் கிளை மருங்கின், சேறிஆயின்,
அம் மலை கிழவோற்கு உரைமதி-இம் மலைக்
கானக் குறவர் மட மகள்
ஏனல் காவல் ஆயினள் எனவே.

She is the daughter of a hill chieftain. He is the ruler of nearyby hills. They meet discreetly when she goes to guard millet fields from parrots. But today he hasn’t come. She sees a parrot in her field. Instead of chasing it away, she pleads with the parrot. “Green parrot with red beak, you are nibbling at millet stalks that are weighed down with grains. Don’t be afraid of me. I am not going to chase you away. You eat as much as you want and fill your stomach. Once you are full, listen to me and fulfill my wish too. I plead with folded hands. His hill slopes are dotted with Jackfruit trees bearing many fruits. If you go there to meet your kin, advice my lord who rules that hill: Young daughter of this hill’s chief is guarding the millet fields. (Ask him to come and meet me)”

Tamil readers, note the use of குறை with two meanings – ‘to cut (nibble)’ in first line and ‘shortage / hunger / need’ in third line. Also note that she is tempting the parrot saying “you get only millet grains here. If you go there you will find numerous jackfruits to eat”

கொடு – bent / bowed (weighed down with grains)
குரல் – stalk
குறை – reap / cut / nibble
செவ்வாய் – red mouthed / red beaked
பைங்கிளி – green parrot
அஞ்சல் ஓம்பி – dispel your fear / don’t be afraid.
ஆர் பதம் – be full with food
நின் குறை – your need
கை தொழுது – folded hands
இரப்பல் – plead
பல் கோள் – many clusters
பலவு – jackfruit
சாரல் – slope
நின் கிளை – your relatives
மருங்கு – side / place
சேறி ஆயின் – if you reach
கிழவன் – ruler
உரை மதி – tell advice
மலைக் கானக் குறவர் – hill forest chief
மட மகள் – young daughter
ஏனல் – millet field
காவல் – guard

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2 thoughts on “Nattrinai – 102

  1. I enjoyed your translations. I would be grateful if you could identify how you deciphered that it was a millet field. I am doing research on the millets in traditional agriculture and this input would be very helpful.


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