EthiopiŽ: Amharisch - Foto © University of Florida, 
Center for African Studies

A popular Amharic fable.


'Amharic is the national language of Ethiopia. It is spoken in the vicinity of the capital, Addis Ababa, and the area just to the north. Its speakers number approximately 26 million, about one-third of Ethiopia's population. Amharic is one of the Semitic languages. Together with a number of the lesser languages of Ethiopia it constitutes the Ethiopic branch of this family. All the Ethiopic languages are descended from Geez, the ancient literary and ecclesiastic language of Ethiopia.'

Translation.

'A hare lived in a country where there was no other kind of animal. "There is no animal as big as I and none whose voice can equal mine," he said to one of his friends. "That is true," replied the other, for they had never seen another. One day, hearing a lion roar, the first hare said, "I shall cry like him." "Good. I'll stay to hear you. Cry!" said his friend. "Listen," said the hare, and, swelling his chest, he cried. His friend said to him, "The lion's voice is strong; yours, on the other hand, cannot be heard." The hare became very angry and said a second time, "Watch and listen how I cry." And under the illusion of roaring like a lion, he split in two and died. The same fate awaits the poor man who vies with the rich.'

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