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La pintade (1906)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Histoires naturelles

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La pintade

C’est la bossue de ma cour. Elle ne rêve que plaies à cause de sa bosse.
Les poules ne lui disent rien: brusquement, elle se précipite et les harcèle.
Puis elle baisse sa tête, penche le corps, et, de toute la vitesse de ses pattes maigres, elle court frapper, de son bec dur, juste au centre de la roue d’une dinde.
Cette poseuse l’agaçait.
Ainsi, la tête bleuie, ses barbillons à vif, cocardière, elle rage du matine au soir.
Elle se bat sans motif, peut-être parce qu’elle s’imagine toujours qu’on se moque de sa taille, de son crâne chauve et de sa queue basse.
Et elle ne cesse de jeter un cri discordant qui perce l’air comme une pointe.
Parfois elle quitte la cour et disparaît. Elle laisse aux volailles pacifiques un moment de répit.
Mais elle revient plus turbulente et plus criarde. Et, frénétique, elle se vautre par terre.
Qu’a-t-elle donc?
La sournoise fait une farce.
Elle est allée pondre son œuf à la campagne.
Je peux le chercher si ça m’amuse.
Elle se roule dans la poussière, comme une bossue.

The Guinea-fowl

She is the hunchback of my barnyard. She dreams only of wounding, because of her hump.
The hens say nothing to her: suddenly, she swoops and harries them.
Then she lowers her head, leans forward, and, with all the speed of her skinny legs, runs and strikes with her hard beak at the very centre of a turkey’s tail.
This poseuse was provoking her.
Thus, with her bluish head and raw wattles, pugnaciously she rages from morn to night.
She fights for no reason, perhaps because she always thinks they are making fun of her figure, of her bald head and drooping tail.
And she never stops screaming her discordant cry, which pierces the air like a needle.
Sometimes she leaves the yard and vanishes. She gives the peace-loving poultry a moment’s respite.
But she returns more rowdy and shrill. And in a frenzy she wallows in the earth.
Whatever’s wrong with her?
The cunning creature is playing a trick.
She went to lay her egg in the open country.
I can look for it if I like.
And she rolls in the dust, like a hunchback.

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Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer, pianist and conductor.  In the 1920s and 1930s he was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer. He was one of the first composers to acknowledge the potential of recording in making music accessible to a broad public, and in the 1920s several recordings of his work were made.

Information from Wikipedia. Read more here.

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