This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Aug 7, 2014

Nose Day! - The Ass and the Flute

Summer... Holidays... and more: Today is the (Japanese) Nose Day! (see this post). So, I decided to allow myself to publish an almost off-topic post. Off-topic, because the finger holes on the flute in the illustrations. But the poem does not mention those holes.

Today, I want to present an old poem, written in 1792 by the french poet Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian (1755-1794). It is called « L'Ane et la Flûte » (The Ass and the Flute).

The text says (with more art than in my translation...)

The Ass & The Flute

Fools are a great people,
Finding all things easy:
It must be acknowledged, often they are happy;
Great reason to believe they are clever.
A donkey grazing in its thistles,
Was watching a swain playing under the foliage,
A flute which sweet sounds
Were attracting and charming the shepherds of the grove.
This unhappy donkey said: this world is crazy!
There they are all, gaping mouth,
Enjoying a great fool who torments himself and sweats
Blowing into a small hole.
It is through such efforts that we manage to please them
While I ... stop ... let us go from here,
Because I feel too much angry.
Our ass, thus reasoning,
Goes ahead a few steps, when on the fern
A flute, forgotten in these country areas
By any swain in love
Is found under his feet. Our donkey straightens up,
On her side sets her two big eyes;
One ear forward, slowly lowers herself,
Applies his nostril on the poor instrument,
And breathes as strong as she can. Oh! Amazing coincidence!
A pleasant sound comes out of it...
The donkey feels her great talent
And joyfully shouts while tumbling:
Eh! I can play the flute too!

Since L'Ane et la Flute was the first French poem mentioning nosefluting, I propose Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian — who seemed to have had a rather prominent nose — to the Nose Flute Hall of Fame, Promoters section.

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