Blackcat and Blackdog

posted 19 Aug 2002
last revised 1 September 2015

[o-niau= ham_^o-qau"]

[o-niau= tsieng_>qun+ ai">hong-soy=]
[o-qau" tsieng_>ko' qiec">tua-to+]
[nng_lang+ sioy-tzioy= ki">sam"bpo-]
[ka-qut- sng=//tze_>tsau+|=bpo=|-]
[tze_>qau">bpuahn"mi+ am"mong-mong=]
[am"mong-mong= a' am"mong-mong=]
[hai_>yn- qiong_bejq"^boy_kuahn=`i=>lo-]
[boy_kuahn=`i=>lo- a' bo_kuahn=`i=>lo-]

[o-niau= ai">qe">o-qau=ang=]
[ki">tzioy->bpeq_niau= tzoe">hm_lang+]
[hm_lang+ lai-|_>qau>mng-kau+|=dtiahn+]
[o-qau" tsiahn+|= y- dlip_lai_>/tze-]
[na_^bejq- kaq"|+qin" lai-|_>sang"dtiahn-]
[lai-|_>sang"dtiahn- a' lai-|_>sang"dtiahn-]
[na_boy+ o-niau= qe"bpat_lang+]
[qe">bpat_lang+ a' qe">bpat_lang+]

Two audio files are accessible if you'd like to try.

blackcat0.wav

blackcat1.wav

Translation:

Blackcat wears a skirt (and) is fond of plays.
Blackdog wears trousers (and) lets them trail.
The two invite each other for a walk.
With soring legs they sit on a lawn.
On and on till pitch dark midnight comes.
Pitch dark here and pitch dark there.
So that they can hardly see the road.
Hard to see here and hard to see there.

Blackcat wants to marry Blackdog.
She asks Whitecat to be her matchmaker.
The matchmaker comes to the front yard.
Blackdog invites her inside to take a seat.
'Say yes, and send a gift for engagement quick;'
'Send a gift thus and send a gift now.'
'Say no, and let her marry someone else;'
'Someone else thus and someone else then.'

About this ballad:

Blackcat and Blackdog are generic nicknames coined and applied fashionablly during the period of Japanese rule (1895 to 1945) to unmarried women and men who would meet with their dates openly, regarded by many conservatives as defiant to traditional custom. Among other big social changes that took place during the period in Taiwan, both boys and girls were admitted to schools, a significant step toward improved feminine social status.

Many Taiwanese who were born on Taiwan in or earlier than 1940 may recall having heard this ballad of somewhat different version. In rendering this ballad I added a few theatrical lines while keeping the plot intact. The English translation was done quite freely with primary concern for intelligibility.

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Copyright 2002, 2015 Vunshik Zan.