The Bene Alisimama: a Preliminary Study of the Great Jawa Epic
Paul Luz, et. al. Table of Contents:
3. The Bene Alisimama
4. Critical Discussion
6. Future WorkAcknowledgements
This project was completed for the Scholars Guild in Year 14, and would not be possible if not for the encouragement of the Guild. This project’s careful completion is also due to the dedicated work of translators Director Paul Luz, Dr. Amia Cenvax, her assistant Mr. Beiwi Solari, and Dr. Plo Goran, and linguists Dr. Gary Dakkar, Dr. Juroanga Ferndike, and folklorist and former librarian Rev. Mala Mishkohl. Also worth mentioning here are the New Republic representatives on Tatooine, who, while discussions are still ongoing, have been very helpful and hospitable during the research team’s stay.
This work is dedicated to all the Jawas among the stars, living far from their people, home, and heritage. Introduction
Embarrassingly little study has been done to date on Jawa society on any subjective level of their culture. Scholars are aware of their evolution and biology, their customs and nomadic lifestyle, and even glimpse into social structure and family life, but these are often no more than observations, and shed little light on how Jawas view themselves, their world, and what it means to be Jawa. This can be attributed, however, not to a lack of interest by the academic community, but to a lack of mediums of study. Much of Jawa life takes place beyond the eyes of the public, and few if any others have been allowed to live among the Jawa. Their paranoid nature also prohibits much cross-cultural contact that is not strictly business. Though a few Jawas of note have made names for themselves around the galaxy, these Diaspora Jawas often are silent on matters of the culture of their rearing, if they were even reared in traditional clans or on Tatooine at all.
One of the deepest and elusive looks behind the curtain of the Jawa culture came in Year 14. Meteorologists contracted by local insurance brokers were out gathering data on the power and force of sandstorms. Suddenly, a large sandstorm arose while their barge was navigating a large canyon, and the pilot became disoriented. After the storm subsided, their guide and scout noted strange occurrences on the scanner, and when they arrived on scene what they found amazed them. The large amount of sand moved in the storm had uncovered the top of a long string of ship wreckage and junk, too large to be haphazard wreckage. Experts were called, and light excavation revealed the ruins of a comparatively modest Jawa fortress, which showed obvious scars of being once assaulted and subsequently abandoned. The discovery of a Jawa fortress is nothing new, though many abandoned ones were little more than trash heaps. While many view Jawas as nomadic scavengers, it is a lesser publicized fact that Jawa clans each have one or more fortresses hidden in the desert that they use for protection from weather, external threats, and as safe places to store wealth and rear young. What excited the researchers who were called on site was the unprecedented access to an in-tact fortress. By nature, the Jawa fortresses are hidden and well protected. When they are discovered access is not permitted. When access is permitted, guests not allowed to wander freely and explore.
While this site, whose location will remain secret for the time being, yielded much in the ways of artifacts and insight into daily living, its most intriguing treasure was four large monoliths found in a round basement room in the center of the compound. On these polished pieces of sandstone was a body of Jawa script, the largest example of Jawa literature ever found. Immediate efforts were undertaken to date, translate, and examine the texts for both its language and content. This paper represents the best attempt to synthesize the research done on what is now known as the “Bene Alisimama”, including transcription, translation, and critical evaluation and commentary. The name is taken from the first two words of the text, translated as “And Stood”. The text of the two extant stones will be presented along with translations, followed by crossover texts and their translations. Finally the editors and translators will critically discuss the text and its context and significance. It is important to note that this is only a preliminary solidification of scholar’s findings, and later critical editions of translations and analysis are welcomed and are sure to follow. The Bene Alisimama:
Note: The symbol […] indicates a gap in the text where it was destroyed or otherwise illegible. The translators used the best of their knowledge to fill in such gaps with probable content from context and the ruined stones. The North Stone Text
1 Bese alisimama Asan un bopom kova
Yaka kuya cirkoza gakisewa gogowa
Gakisewa e waff’mla un oko hunya oko
Ibana hunya kodwa ton ton wass
5 Nya lopima Asan toineepa utinni
Ayafa e kiizci juu ya Asan jar k’osa
Mganga Asan ayafa e kiizci
Kebee’oto neng ooka jar’kosa
Jubinloo bok kune bok Jawa
10 Ookwass upezzo tilba yasas lopima
Toineeplopima, nyetai rubac
Lika ugama lika kiluyak umpee kiluyak
Utinni ko lopo ha’mfoo kodwa nyeta
Buja nyeta jar k’osa neng ooka yayta
15 Sasa rillo hakisewa chini ya bese chini ya miaka
Ayafa e kiizci kutoka ashuna Asanka
Hazamuzee ubanya tandoa Asanka
Dook’wab nufuzu Jubinloo
Ibana ayafa e kiizci kutoka ashuna Asanka
20 Waff’mla nyeta eyeta un oko hunya oko
Kwanza Asan bopom kova [...]The West Stone Text
1 […]Ikee weeza tuputa gakisewa baba alisema
Ibana tomo ayafa ubanya wakati […]alisema
Gakisewa baba ysas[…] en ton ton waff’mla ton ton
Nufuzu jubinloo nyeta kupata
5 Waff’mla tomo umka bila sabioto un sha-[...]
Utinni sooga ookwass sooga nyeta utinni
Purupa kwa Asan gogowa cirkoza
Cirkoza [...] vapooza [...]
Ubanya yukusu kenza keena
10 Nyeta yanna kuzu peekay jawa
Ibana Ibana[...] ko lopo kuona vapooza
Asan tando [...] kurruzza vapooza kwa sabioto
Kivyo ye kyo baba shanay Asan e cirkoza
Kurruzza vapooza kiluyak cirkoza akwa
15 Sooga m’tuske mob Asan [...]
Dyo kisewa en ton ton waff’mla ton ton
Dyo kisewa en ja’kosa rillo ja’kosa
Purupa kwa Asan gogowa lika ton ton wass
Utinni Utinni rubac ikee dooka [...]
20 Ibana umka Asan en opakwa lopima
Dikwass jubinloo tillba ogo rillo
Nufuzu jubinloo mwisho
Nyeta chombo Asan ku’imba
Okka [...] purupa [...] shotog-[...]
25 [...] m’nuta [...] lyo baba nyet ton ton
Ibana Asan kutoka [...] jubinloo ashuna
Ton ton kiluyak purupa Asan ton ton okka nufuzu jubiloo
Umpee rillo waff’mla liko tena
Ashuna Asan umpee rillo kuya ayafa e kiizci
30 Gojam gogowa Asan eduza gojam hunya
Hkeek nkulla hunya ton ton kuya
Waff’mla [...]Ranadaast Text A
1 Follek Asakek Gubb cruato bechasmo
Jad levat Gubb Gol en Enaek
Planaek Nuthek era en Gubb
Ranaek Golek mezerelo Ka
5 Renek Hudek Rumun jad triso
Ne Nurukek Asakek era sin Valik
Al Muzek Hepek Follek era Asakek
Bech Cueva Asakek ne Ranaek Golek
Renek Hudek Rumun jad triso
10 Asakek Glessrobos sentit
Forim Nachaia Nachaek kiomo
En Ruz ek mezerelo Ranaek Golek
Keek Renek Hud nuruko
Kiomka Treta Inrullou era
15 Muzek Hepek Follek Asakek.
Asekek arapto kata Gubb bech. North Stone Text (trans.)
1 And Asan stood upon the mountain.
She’d run to their encampment for one hundred days.
One hundred days in the desert, a cold, cold enemy,
Yes, an enemy, but the hot sand, it is like stars for Asan.
5 Riches, alas! Asan ruled a cave clan,
A powerful shaman for the clan in a cave.
Long ago, in days past,
There was a metropolis far, far from Jawas,
Where markets equal stars above,
10 Starlike riches, nothing rusted.
Seas, seas of Banthas, an empire of clouds.
Alas! It was destroyed, burned, though how, no one knows.
It was very, very long ago,
Now buried under a thousand dunes and years.
15 Asan left her cave clan,
Receiving sacred farewells
To search for the Under-city.
Yes, Asan left her cave clan.
20 The desert was no friend, a cold, cold enemy.
When Asan first [...] the mountain…West Stone Text (trans.)
1 [first few lines missing] “I will return in one hundred days” she said.
Yes, she [had] told her clan when she bid them goodbye.
[yet] One hundred days equaled [the days] she [had spent] in the sandy, sandy desert.
The Under City she had not yet found.
5 She walked through the desert without stopping or [sleeping.]
Alas! Where was [there/her] food? She had none, alas!
Prayer drove Asan to a settlement,
A settlement [had a broken] vaporator, [and Asan approached the farmer].
“Good day! Let’s make a deal.”
10 “This is not for sale, Jawa!”
“Yes, yes, [but] I see your vaporator, it’s broken.
Asan can fix [it. I will] repair the vaporator for food.”
So Asan slept in the settlement for three days.
The vaporator was repaired, and the settlement became well-watered.
15 Asan stole much food [and returned to searching the desert.
Fiftey days in the sandy, sandy desert.
Fiftey days among the large, large dunes.
“Alas! Alas! rust! I see junk!” [she exclaimed.]
Yes, Asan walked among spare parts like stars,
20 And high above a dune, a city-cliff!
Finally the Under City was found,
But no tool had Asan to dig.
Above [...] prayer [...] blast
Hole [...] six days without sand.
25 Yes, Asan went from [...] into the city.
A cloud of sand, Asan prayed, this cloud above the Under City:
An empire of dunes, a desert sea once again.
Asan left from the empire of dunes to return to her cave clan,
But Asan had to be on the run always, for enemies were always near,
30 The hkeek nkulla enemies of the sand.Ranadaast Text A (trans.)
1 The shaman Asan crossed a mountain, wandering,
Swiftly the restless ruler came to stand on the mighty mountain.
The desert was breathtaking from the mountain.
Then, a mighty dark cloud eclipsed the sky;
5 The king hunter cried a far-reaching thunder.
Asan was no soldier and was without a capable weapon,
But Asan was a hearty and cunning shaman,
And ran to a cave where the mighty dark cloud could not go.
The hunter king cried a far-reaching thunder.
10 Asan felt an overwhelming positive feeling
And prophetess aired an equally formidable incantation
Silently within her mind, eclipsing the mighty dark cloud,
And the sky made war on the king hunter.
The air was the servant of her heart,
15 The hearty and cunning shaman. Critical Discussion:
I. The Stones and the Text
The four stones were located in points representing the four cardinal directions, with the entrance to the room being on the north-west side. The room showed much evidence of being assaulted in the past, and the stones were not exempt from the blaster fire and melee impact. This said, the North and West stones managed to escape destruction, with the only serious damage being to the bottom of the stones, the West stone being the worst off, but having the most text present. The South and East stones were completely destroyed beyond all attempts at reclamation. The location of this room, the orientation of the stones, and the nature of the text all seem to indicate that the room and text held religious significance. The dearth of information on Jawa religion proves to be a major obstacle in situating this discovery in proper context.
The Stones remain intact along with the other valuable artifacts safely within the hidden fortress, and researchers are currently awaiting permission from the local New Republic government to carefully remove them for the purposes of further study and preservation
II. The Story and Genre
Though curious interpretative issues arose during the course of translation, the main plot was able to determine easily upon translation. The narrative follows a Jawa shaman called “Asan”. Jawa shamans are mysterious, powerful females who are the only exceptions to a largely patriarchal power structure within Jawa culture. Modern practice has the shamans existing only within the fortresses. Asan, however, is asked by her clan to leave and to look for a lost city which promises sustenance and wealth for her poor clan. The text of the North Stone (NS) begins with what seems to be Asan about to return to her clan, and the following text narrates her reason for leaving. The NS has twenty legible lines.
The West Stone (WS) does not appear to chronologically follow the NS, though the order of the stones is unclear, due to the destruction of the ES and SS. The WS picks up with a flashback to Asan leaving her clan, and immediately continues to her wandering the desert, meeting a moisture farmer, and her eventual discovery and magical excavation and recovering of the famed “Under City”. It ends with a few crumbling lines which depict Asan hurrying back through the desert on her victorious way home. Further sources and developments are discussed in Section V.
The identification of the genre is of the most importance when interpretation the text, as it will inform the reader what rules the author is playing by. Any author will write fiction, poetry, instruction manuals, and business contracts differently, and readers have different expectations when reading them based on the assumptions of their genre. It is difficult to categorize this work, as we do not yet know much about common genres in Jawa literature. It would seem that the Bene Alisimama is a form of epic poetry, lacking any scheme of rhyme or meter. Further examination can be done on this text to investigate its subgenre or use. For instance, was it meant to be a holy text, a historical record, an honorary monument, or something else? Any conclusions will have to await the discovery of more texts.
Translation was done from several high-resolution photos taken of the stones, as the stones were not able to be legally moved, and researchers were not permitted to stay long for fear of legal entanglements. Director Paul Luz of Golan Technologies was called in and headed the translation efforts which were located at FFC City 05 09, and he facilitated the combined efforts of several prominent historians, linguists, and ethnographers. One Duros cleric was consulted for the handling of the Durese text. Luz had made his name in translation with his work with proto-Durese records recovered from the ruins of the Great Ranadaast library.
The main challenge of the recovered text was the dialect, which though written was only vaguely similar to modern Jawa Trade Language (JTL). It is believed that the text was merely a guide to a reader who would make use of the pheromonal component of Jawa oral communication. There are also many words in the text are semi hapax legomenon, or words that only appear a few times here, and are not present at all in modern JTL. While the hunt for other texts continues, similar finds have yet to appear which would shed light on the nature of the evolution of Jawaese and this dialect in particular. Taking into account normal semantic and linguistic development, the translators believe this translation to be the most accurate to the meaning of the text, and they would like to emphasize that they tried their best not to gloss over idioms or difficult cruxes, and any confusing part of the text(s) will be addressed in a short commentary. A future critical edition of these and more related texts is currently in the works.
IV. Dating and Historicity
As the site itself was left undisturbed, samples were not taken for dating, and researchers are still awaiting permission to return to the site. This leaves speculation of the date of both the present text and any earlier traditions that lay below its surface up to the realm of literary study. For this section, the scholars operated under the assumption that there was a kernel of historic fact underlying the piece. This, of course, will be further debated once more light is shed on the matter of genre.
Most every aspect of Jawa culture is listed in the Bene Alisimama. Jawa society is broken up into clans which operate from a central fortress. A female shaman is a powerful figure within clan life, though little is mentioned of the male Chief. Scavenging is shown as a valuable act and skill, as is handiness in repairing. In the voice of the mointure farmer, Jawas have a reputation for being persistent, shrewd business-people. Sand People are most likely present, and are adverse to the Jawa race. Several components, however, are absent. For one, nothing is said of the Chief, as previously noted. Nothing is mentioned of a sandcrawler, nor of the economy of the clan. Asan is sent out, which is very uncommon for modern shamans, to look for a city in place of a crew selected for a scavenging trip across the desert in a sandcrawler. The lack of a mention of a sandcrawler, even in passing as broken or in relation to the poverty of the clan to possess one, hints at an early date for both the narrative and the early stages of transmission. It must be admitted that this is not a discussion-ending assertion and is lacking much substantiation.
Archaeological evidence would help immensely in dating this text. Of most importance, besides the dating of the actual site itself, is the identity of the “Under City” which is said to be incredibly wealthy and prosperous. It is also said to be “Jubinloo bok kune bok Jawa” or “a city far, far from Jawas/Jawakind” is believed to indicate a city geographically far from Jawa fortresses or trading routes, or perhaps a city that is very much advanced or at least very different from Jawa culture or customs. These, of course, are not mutually exclusive. While it is clear that it is not a Jawa settlement spoken of here, it can be debated whether it was a human settlement, or whether it could be referring to a Kumumgah settlement, destroyed by the Rakata, events which were even then far from public memory and preserved in vague mythology. Should it be believed to be a human settlement, the cause of destruction was probably a raid at the hands of the Sand People and the date of the destruction is in the early modern period. If one takes the stance that it was a Kumumgah city, the date would be much, much earlier, which would subsequently push the dating of the text back by a substantial number of generations.
It is believed by the translators that the text refers to a Kumumgah city, as any violence attributed to the Sand People would be remembered, and destruction not already explained in some way would be attributed to them. The fact that the text does not attribute such mysterious tragedy to their barbaric cousins is very telling. Applications for extensive searches within the radius of travel suggested by the beginning of the NS text are pending at the time of this article’s writing, and to date Kumumgah ruins are extremely rare, mostly due to the ferocity of their destruction. A site as intact as the tale suggests, if historically accurate, would be the find of the century.
V. Crossover Texts and Traditions
It was by chance that Director Luz and his close associate Dr. Plo Goran noticed the similarity between the Jawa shaman Asan and a Duro folk-hero Asek. While much of the Ranadaast library remains in ruins on the surface of Duro, tales of Asek are preserved orally in Duro storytelling. While nothing is noted in the earliest traditions that points indicated that Asek may be anything but a Duro, the similarities between some of the early, written accounts that Luz and Fell had previously recovered recorded events that match the trajectory of the Bene Alisimama, including some texts overlapping with the North Stone Text. This, along with the linguistic similarity between the names lends credence to reading them together in many ways, depending on how you view the text and tradition.
The Duro Travelers to Tatooine could have heard these stories in a completed version, and then the Durese texts can be seen to transmit parts of the story lost with the destruction of the South and East Stones. It is, however, just as likely that the Stones could reflect an older version of a more widespread tradition family which the Duro pilots could have picked up. This would mean that the Durese text could possibly contain pieces of Asan tradition that was never part of the Bese Alisimama as the Four Stones have it. A return to Ranadaast will be crucial to scholars to say more, as the nature of any more Asek texts would provide much needed insight.
In a similar quandary, further search for Jawaese texts have brought to light several colorful and detailed traditions about an Asan, or Asan-like character in Hutteese. While these texts are still being uncovered, translated, and evaluated, they too must be taken into account in the study of the Bene Alisimama and the culture(s) around it, and have potential to reveal much about the intersections of Jawa culture and the larger cultural collage of Tatooine.
VI. The Bene Alismama and the “Force”
Much of the plot hinges on Asan’s shaman powers. The Four Stone texts use one mysterious word, “Purupa” to describe the source, agency, and nature of these powers, though it admittedly is more correct to say that these topics are not touched on in the texts we have. Modern Jawaese lexicons offer “prayer” to be the most apt rendering on Basic. This translation, however, does little to aid interpreters and anthropologists, who most often are drawn back to the question “Are these shaman abilities related to what is known as the Force?” The answer is currently obscure at best.
Careful analysis must be done before conclusions are drawn, to be sure. We see “prayer” in the same grammatical form serving both as a noun and a verb in the texts, though this may have more to do with the written word being shorthand for a phermonally-skilled Jawa reciter. In the Jawa texts “Prayer” is only mentioned on the West Stone, and is said to guide Asan, and is used by Asan to perform acts beyond her normal ability. See also the commentary on WS 9-20 for another possible instance. The Durese text offers a much more nuanced look, where Asan is said to “air a…incantation,” and that “the air was the servant of her heart.” Here we have “air” or “kiom” being used also as both a verb and noun in similar capacities to “purupa”, but exact ideological comparisons between “prayer” and “air” are more than likely doomed, given the disparity in cultures and questionable mastery in translation. The date of the Durese and other texts also provide some trouble in analyzing semantic change in these traditions.
Again, interpreters are not so much at fault themselves, but their work is hampered by both a lack of published research on Jawa shamanite religion and pan-galactic folk magic itself. Perhaps the most efficient way to resolve this is to test the Midichlorian count of all the shamans and go from there, but such a large, costly, lengthy, and complex undertaking has yet to even be purposed. As of the time of publication, the best estimates of the force-sensitive population among the Jawas is around two percent, and this would more than encompass the shaman numbers, although little is known about the exact number of shamans in the clans. Commentary:
Commentary will be divided by text, and broken up by line sections, which will be indicated at the beginning of each section. NS1-6:
With the use of “mountain” (bobom kova) is it unclear whether Asan is to be standing on top of a mountain, or, given the location of the fortress, if she is meant to be depicted as standing on the top of the deep canyon. Though a minute detail, it has great significance regarding the location of the epic, as will be seen in the next line. The habitation of the clan is called an encampment (cirkoza). This word has a wide range of usage from a temporary dwelling, to a small permanent homestead (as seen in the WS), and probably to a full fortress. The lack of a word for “fortress” in modern JTL hints that it may have been engulfed by “cirkoza”. The use of the idiom “cave clan” has left scholars with many hypotheses about the exact nature of the clan, but any of these point to a clan not-too-well-off, and thus a non-permanent settlement is very much likely in view. The significance of this is to say that Asan’s clan’s home in the text is not the fortress the Stones come from. This, of course, would greatly impact the search for the Under City and other Bene Alisimama-related artifacts.
Line 3 is the first occurance of what seems to be a common grammatical structure in this dialect. It is characterized by an A-B-A formula, where A is an adjective or adverb, and B is a noun or verb, with the effect that by surrounding the noun or verb greatly intensifies the description. This can be seen in L.8,11,13, and 19 in the NS, and only once in the WS, though the usage is slightly different. The juxtaposition of the “cold enemy” and the “hot sand, like stars” sets the audience up for a comparison between the “riches” (toineepa, or “credits” in the modern JTL) of the stars and the apparent poverty of the clan. The depiction of Asan’s clan as a “cave clan” (clan in a cave) is curious. As of the time of publication, there is no modern or archaeological evidence of Jawa clans inhabiting caves. While it is possible that this is what is in mind by the author, it is also likely that this is an idiom used to express extreme poverty.
Line 5 literally rendered is “ Asan was large to a clan in cave”. While “rule” is not present i the direct governing sense, “juu ya” only appears in this line, and is an older preposition. Perhaps it can only be conservatively that “Asan was important in some relation to her clan…” the translators believe that “juu ya” is a strengthen version of the usual Jawa “kuya” (to) which is found here in lines 2,29, and 31. This, and the lack of a mentioned chief, points to an older tradition where a mystical female shaman held the most sway within a clan, at least in Asan’s. 7-14:
For a discussion of the “far from Jawa” idiom, see the discussion of historicity in section IV above. In lines 9 and 10 we see again the comparison of stars and wealth. This brings the previous mention into question, as to whether the sand was in some way beautiful or valuable (star-like) in and of itself to Asan, or whether its star-like quality was the wealth it contained and provided in the form of junk. Obviously this city had more going for it that reflected sunlight.
Most striking here is the mention of “seas” of Banthas and empire’s worth of clouds. There have not been seas, or any other body of water, on Tatooine for at least millennia, predating the evolution of the modern Jawa, according to modern science. As testified by the hard and valuable work of moisture farmers, clouds are not common occurrences in common memory either. This has divided our scholars into two camps: one suggests that these words are some of the most ancient ones, left over from pre-evolutionary times, and that their association with water may have been gone by this point, and the words just signify miraculous, opulent well-being and wealth. A second group is of the opinion that this supports a “Stranded Jawa” theory, where Jawas did not evolve from an earlier species native to Tatooine, but in fact were stranded here long ago. The theory necessitates that their ancestors lost the knowledge or ability of space flight, which is curious given the handiness of a Jawa. However seemingly implausible, this theory is the most held-to by Jawas themselves, despite genetic evidence. 15-20:
The suffix “-ka” that is added to Asan in lines 15 and 16 indicated a subject who is also passively the indirect object as well. This construction does not seem common in any extant dialects of Jawa, and is also not found in the text of the WS. The use of “sacred farewells” (Hazamuzee ubanya) would indicate that Asan left in good favor, more than likely sent. Line 20 leaves off incomplete, lacking a verb. This is due to blaster and melee damage to the stone itself. There is a considerable amount of text after this left crumbled and illegible. WS
While the first few lines of the WS are missing, lines 1-4 set up the dramatic tension that drives the rest of this stone’s plot: time. Asan had pledged to return in one hundred days, but has been gone for one hundred already and seems to be determined not to come back empty handed. The NS claims that the journey home took the same amount of time. This shows Asan as one stressed and running through the desert, which explains her weariness. The next section will tell us that Asan spent fifty-nine days in this area, which was one hundred days from her home (see noted on “fifty) in the comments on 9-20).
The now familiar A-B-C intensifying construction makes its first and only appearance in line 6, yet here it does not function the same way. The A word “sooga” (food) is neither an adverb or adjective. It brackets “ookwass” or “where”. Thus, the author is tricking the audience, employing their instincts to intensify a modifier in the same position. This does serve to emphasize an idea, with the focus being the lack of food, though it is a notable departure from the formulized construction as seen in the NS.
It is line 7 that introduces the most unique and puzzling feature of the WS, the mention of “prayer”. For a more detailed synopsis of theories about this, see the discussion in section VI above. 9-20:
The dialogue is all in the same dialect, but it is unknown what they may have communicated in. What is odd about this is that the farmer let Asan stay at his homestead for three days while Asan fixed the vaporator. It is altogether unlikely that it would have taken Asan three days to do this task, let alone that the farmer would let a Jawa stay in his own home, given their reputation. What some of the translators want to suggest is that this is possibly related to the Force Sensitive power of suggestion, commonly known as the “Jedi Mind Trick”. It is also unclear from the text whether or not Asan actually stole the food without consent, whether the power of suggestion was in play, or whether this word “m’tuske” had a cultural connotation for “asked for” or “was given freely”. It is unlikely that with how unexpectedly kind the farmer is, that he would let Asan go unnourished back into the desert. It is only in the WS that we have direct speech from any character, let alone Asan.
The mention of “fifty days” (dyo kisewa) is literally rendered “five ten”. It is unclear whether it is meant to be 5x10 or 5+10.
The “city-cliff” Asan sees, surrounded by junk (not a derogatory term in Jawaese), is most likely the pinnacle of a building or something else of size protruding from an otherwise rolling dune sea. If the city is buried, the presence of junk is indeed curious. Perhaps the author has in mind that various other groups have camped on the location, or more things were protruding from the dunes, dwarfed by the “cliff”. 21-30:
It is here that translation and interpretation get very difficult. There are whole lines, and ones that appear very crucial at that, with only one or two words legible. From these lines we can gather that Asan took the “cliff” to be a sign of the city, and somehow with “prayer” (see section VI above), uncovered the city over a six-day period. Without mention of what Asan found in the city, we are told she covered it back up in the same manner in which she uncovered it, and started to quickly return home, fearing the “enemies of the sand”, which either refer to Tusken Raiders, bands of humans, or maybe even rival Jawa clans. Whichever is in mind by the author, they are obviously very ill-thought of, by evidence of the curse.
It is very unfortunate that the text is destroyed from this point on, as further details could possibly help us unravel the problems of the text before this point. RTA1-3:
“Foll” is classically translated as “priest” though it is unclear whether the translator here envisions a formal religious clergy roll for Asan, or if it is simply the most apt word available to the translator. In sorting these issues out, it is important to remember that even the identification of “Asek” with “Asan” can be debated, and it is still unclear whether “Asek” here is a Jawa hero in a Jawa story written in Durese, Jawa in a Duro story, or an originally Jawa character adapted in a Duro story as a Duro. While the traditions seem to have a lot in common, we cannot import too much culture from one into another. The translators have opted to assume the translator’s attempt to record a Jawa story, and will use the Basic “shaman” for the translation in this edition.
“Follek Asekek” introduces the suffix “-ek” which seems to denote the subject of the sentence. Further story of this dialect of Durese will be compiled and published at a later date. The “Priest Asek” is also ascribed the title “Ena” or “female ruler”, or “queen” in line 2. It is unclear again whether the translator here is trying to convey the powerful shaman’s position in her clan, a concept which did not have parallel in the Duros society, or if the translator is accurately relating a tradition where Asek is a religious ruler of a certain people. There is no mention in this text about any “clan” or other group.
It is worth noting here for the reader that even though a mountain is mentioned, it is unclear what mountain is in view, if it is the same as mentioned in the NS, or even if this episode is meant to be a part of Asan’s quest for the Under City. It is just as likely that a character like Asan would inspire other adventure stories which may or may not have been on the ES or SS. Such has been suggested by some of our scholars who argue a view from a local mountain would not be worth mentioning as breathtaking. Others combat this saying that it would be important to note for the text’s Duro audience who did not love among mountains, and it is common imagery in Durese adventure stories. This will be further explored once more texts are uncovered and more study done, in a second critical edition.
As a grammatical note, in this dialect at least, all nouns seem to be capitalized. 4-8:
The narrative here seems to describe a battle scene between Asek and what most likely is a Kyat Dragon or similar beast. It is described as a “mighty dark cloud” (Renek Hudek) and a “king hunter” (Ranaek Golek). While it is probable that the text speaks of a metaphysical battle with a spirit/demon, such themes seem to be uncommon in extant Duro and Jawa folklore. “Renek” here is used as the subject of its line, but does not show the expected “-ek” suffix, as even words with the same ending, such as “Asek” did. This is believed to be evidence of the archaic nature of the word being carried over by the Durese translator.
In line 8, the root verb “bech” which literally means “to wander” is used in a general sense of movement, and governs two persons and actions. Another tranaslation that was offered was “Asek ran where the mighty dark cloud could not, into a cave” to get the sense of the single verb use. 9-15:
This section is perhaps one of the most blatant texts discussing the shamanistic powers of Asan. It is worth noting that the Duro translator for this text did not choose an equivalent of the Jawa idea of “prayer” for the interaction with this power. This, of course, must not be over stated, as we do not know the sources for this text, or the terms that might have been available for this period and style of Duro folklore. Asan, previously called a “priest/shaman” and a “ruler/queen” is now also referred to as a “prophetess” who feels an “overwhelming positive feeling” or “Glessrobos”. This appears to be a compound word made up of “Gless” or “positive feeling” with “probos” or “inspiring”. It is unknown whether this is a technical term, or a term invented by the translator, and it is further unclear what Jawaese term or idea this might be a translation of.
Line 11 is intriguing, as it possibly redefines or recolors the notions of a commonly understood Durese word. “Nacha” is normally rendered as “prophetess” or “prophet” and the normal form of the word as the line’s subject is present. What is interesting is the other use of the root. In the predicate of the line we have “Nachaia” used, which is not the normal form of the word if it is meant to denote the object of the sentence, but seems to be an abstract form, or the thing of a prophetess. This is not too much of a crux, as a translator could easily render it “prophecy”, but that does not seem to be what is envisioned here. The Nachaia is proclaimed internally, and has an immediate effect. A prophecy would imply a divine force/being outside of Asan would act on her behalf, but this seems to come from Asan herself. As we do not have any hint that she is viewed as divine in this text, the translators have chosen “incantation” or “spell”. Should this hold up on investigation of other uses of this word, the definition may have cuase to be edited in Durese lexicons. “Koim” or “fresh air” is only seldom used in a verb form, as it is here. The translation of “aired” as a verb form of air preserves this awkwardness.
The use of “eclipse” again parallels the original description of the beast, and shows Asan’s unlikely equal power. To add to this tension is the description of the previous line’s “Nachaia” being spoken “En Ruz” or “in [her] intelligence”. We have chosen to translate this as “in her mind” with “silently” added to help bring out the scandalous use of these ideas in tangent. Going on, the air (koim) is said to “make war” (lit. soildier-ed) on the beast, and that the air was the servant of Asan’s heart. This seems to resemble certain abilities of those “Force-sensitive” individuals, but such leaps to conclusion must be suspended until further evidence about the use of these Durese idioms emerges. Future work:
The translators, interpreters, archaeologists, and historians who labored on this recognize that it is yet incomplete, and are even now beginning the work of recruiting other scholars, searching for other evidence, and are working with the New Republic to gain further access to the sites in the deserts of Tatooine. Further efforts will be undertaken to reach and involve Jawa scholars, chiefs, and shamans for future editions of this text. Immediate work is being done to compile and translate other Durese and Huttese texts which were not ready to be put out in this volume.