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The Dance of the Caterpillars
Ch’osh Daditł’ooí Da’alzhiish

Bilingual Navajo-English Dance of the Caterpillars

Translated by Elliot K Bryant

In the fall, when the moon is just right….
‘Aak’eedgo óoljéé’ bee hoos’iidgo….

The deep throated croak of the toads goes “boom – boom - boom.”
Ch’ałtsoh hadáyi’ déę’ “boom-boom-boom,” ‘ádaaní.
͑
A sound, like that of a fiddle, drifts through the air…  when the crickets rub their wings together.
Dilní, tsin dilní bąąh tł’óół daneelzhee’ígíí ałtsísí bee sin diits’a’ nahalingo, wódahdi hodiists’a’ … nahak’ízii dahat’a’ yee ahidahidiilnihgo.

Then the frogs begin to sing, ever so sweetly.
Ńt’éé’ ch’ał hada’deez’á, ‘ałahjį’ alkánígo.

Enchanted by the music and led by fairies ….
Sin álíleego bee ééhózingo baa hózhóógo áádóó ch’ikéí ‘ádaałts’íísí bit’a’ dahalóoní daboo’ish …

The caterpillars gather in the garden, among the flowers and gnomes.
Ch’osh daditł’ooí dá’ák’ehdi áłah nahakááh, ch’ilátah hózhóón dóó ch’ilálahda’ iitsoii gnomes wolyéigíí bita’gi.

And there, they begin to dance.  They wiggle and shake as fairies fly above them.
Áádóó ‘áádi, dádinííshzhíish. Ndahalyiz dóó ndahagáádgoo ch’ikeí ‘ádaałts’íísí bit’a’ dahalóoní bik’áádóó deit’ááh.

They dance under fallen leaves and on top of mushrooms.
Biyaagi tsin bit’ąą’ naazkaadgóó da’jilzhish áádóó nanise’ mushroom wolyeígíí bikáágóó.

One behind the other, they “cha – cha – cha” up one side of the pagoda,
Hane’déę’ t’ááłá’í nítinígo ałkée’ nt’i’, kin wót’ááh yí’áii bigháą’di ndáazhaii ei kin booshk’iizhjí deigo “cha – cha – cha” nda’jilzhish.                                ʿ              

over the top
ha’ąągóó

and down the other side.
Áádóó haná’ąąjí yaago.