A Village Remembered: The Armenians of Habousi - The Compatriotic Union of Habousi

Chapter 14:

Songs, Puzzles, Games and Curses

Especially in winter, Habousetzies sat around the tandour and passed the time with puzzles. The following are a few of the more common puzzles with the solutions:

  • All around is thorn, in the middle an almond—eye.
  • A bunch of worms on the wall—eyebrow.
  • A dark stable, a white horseman—mouth, teeth.
  • A white tent with no door—egg.
  • Goes around all day long, in the evening remains with its mouth open—shoes.
  • The mouth is down, the tail is up, the longer you drive the more you wear it out—plow and counter.

* * *

Mr. K. Minasian wrote the following songs told to him by Mrs. Joohar Kassabian. Habousetzies either had few folk songs, or few people who wrote them down for posterity.

Water runs and the water-mill grinds,
Martha eats and dances,
We gave her a penny and asked her to dance,
Now we’re offering two but she won’t stop.
Eat with few people,
Work with lots of them.
Sit down peasant,
My love has gone to Izmir,
Has opened a store there,
Has given a shal to his love there,
Has caused crying to his love here.

* * *

The snow falls in abundance,
Stand up, see who’s coming,
The Amir of Palu is coming;
- What does he pile on the donkey?
- Wool, cotton and silk.

The ship from far places arrived,
The concerns of my heart arrived,
Cry, my eye, cry!
The day of my departing arrived.

The neck of my white horse is black,
I’ll ride it to Boukhara,
I’ll either return or not return,
Let my black fortune cry.

Hoghe and Habousi
Feed a thousand people,
All with fried food.
The priest of Khoshmat by himself
Didn’t get full!

The meadows are fenced,
Rich and abundant,
The trees fruitful,
Gardens and beds.
Habousi is a big village,
It’s reputation is like a city,
It looks to nine roads,
Provides bread to passers by.
They’ve come to take away my daughter,
She’s a ripe fruit, they’ve come to take her,
They’re putting a crown on my beloved’s head,
They’re putting on her the pains of the world.

The pure, pure water
Runs towards the fields,
To take to the full granary
The harvest of the peasant.

During the festivities women and girls sang these songs in a large group:
I love you my new daughter-in-law,
You’ve just arrived from your mother’s house,
You’ve come to the spring with your pitcher,
You’ve washed your feet with water,
You’re as white as the snow,
I love you my new daughter-in-law. (Repetition.)

The girl went and slept in the garden,
The wind has opened her chest,
Her lover went to see her,
Covered her chest with a pretty handkerchief.

(The boy, deeply in love, sang the following)
Sun, why have you fallen on my love?
You’re damaging her moon-like face,
You’re changing the color of her rose-like face,
She’s my pretty love, your beams annoy her,
You’re sweating her forehead like a tiny dew,
She’s my precious, you’ve to respect her,

She’s my soul, you’ve to pardon me.
The lover of the girl has gone to Aleppo,
Asked for the price of the clothes,
Opened his purse full of gold pieces,
Returned home with lots of presents,
The pretty girl her heart has opened.

Love Expressions:

I love your sun. I love your eye. I love your soul. I love your height. May I die for you. May I get dry in front of you.

Offensive expressions:

Stinky, stingy (hallow eye), dirty, indiscreet (open mouth), shameless (dog face), your hair is long, but your brain is short, crazy (seedless), stupid (pumpkin head), shameless (with no face), black-faced, (your face is washed with barley water), double-faced, stupid (a pear and a half, donkey-head, long-eared), brainless (the lodge is empty).

Praising expressions:

Long live. Stay prosperous. Congratulations. May your foot bring good luck. Stay alive. I wish the same to you. May your home remain joyful. May your days be long. May God increase whatever we decrease. May God not put you to shame.


May fire pour on your head. May your eyes become blind. May black water fall into your eyes. May whatever you eat come out of your nose. Go underground. My soot on your head. Die in torture. Don’t achieve your goal. May your feet fold beneath you. May your arms fall. May you be hit by a bullet. May you become like straw.

May I see your shroud. May I throw you down under the water. May you become small particles. May your green sun eclipse. May your family be destroyed. May what you eat not come out. May your dust go with the wind. May grass not grow on your tomb. May the dog bark on your grave. May I carry your coffin. May your house crumble. May God give you a disease. May your light turn off.


May God be with you. May God not put you to shame. May God protect you from the worst. May God make your days good. May God bless you. May God grant you your wishes. May God keep you healthy. May God give you grace. May Abraham’s abundance be in your home. May God enlighten the soul of the deceased. May God age you on one pillow.