For the past few days, I’ve had a hard time pushing on with my Radisson translation. I had a long chunk left to check against the French before I went on, and I insisted on doing that first before letting myself translate any more. But now that I’m back in the story, I’m wondering what I was waiting for. I haven’t read the book right to the end and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I also love the writing. It’s hard to believe sometimes that it’s based on a true story and that the priests and characters all existed in real life. Not only that, but they went through all of these events in real life.
Ragueneau, in particular, is impressive in his role as Jesuit priest. In the section I’m translating today, he comes across as so genuine as he argues with the Iroquois chiefs.
“I give you this second gift to require that you take care of all the Huron women and children who are still with us. May you treat them as your own. You will adopt them as soon as you arrive in your country. I want them to be well treated. Do not make slaves of them, as has happened in the past, otherwise you shall feel the wrath of the Great Spirit of the French, who is listening to me as I speak. Do it out of love for us. We are your friends and agreed to hand over the Hurons to you. You massacred those Hurons without shame, even though I loved them as brothers.”
I really love the “loved them as brothers” comment. It’s simple, genuine, and heartfelt. Just like the writing throughout.