sike mama

"The Egg" in Toki Pona
2015-10-26 / Sebastian Morr / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 / story, translation, fav

This is a translation of Andy Weir’s beautiful short story The Egg to a constructed language called Toki Pona, which has a vocabulary of only 120 words and a very simple grammar. Miv was so kind to patiently go over a preliminary version of this text and to fix all of my silly mistakes. Thanks!

Andy kindly allowed me to display the Toki Pona version side-by-side to the English original. For convenience, I also included a Toki Pona-only version below.

The Egg sike mama
   
You were on your way home tenpo pi tawa tomo sina la
when you died. sina moli.
   
It was a car accident. tan moli li pakala pi tomo tawa.
Nothing particularly remarkable, ona li suli ala.
but fatal nonetheless. taso sina moli.
You left behind a wife and two children. sina jo e meli e jan lili tu.
It was a painless death. sina pilin ala e pakala.
The EMTs tried their best to save you, jan sona sijelo li pali mute.
but to no avail. taso ona li weka ala e moli.
Your body was so utterly shattered moli ni li pona tawa sina tan ni:
you were better off, trust me. sijelo sina li pakala mute mute.
   
And that’s when you met me. tenpo ni la sina kama tawa mi.
   
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?” sina toki pi wile sona e ni: “seme… seme li kama? mi lon seme?”
   
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. mi toki lon e ni: “sina moli.”
No point in mincing words. mi wile toki e ijo lon.
   
“There was a… a truck “mi lukin e… e tomo tawa suli.
and it was skidding…” ona li tawa nasa…”
   
“Yup,” I said. mi toki e ni: “lon.”
   
“I… I died?” “mi… mi moli anu seme?”
   
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. mi toki e ni: “moli. taso o pilin ike ala tawa ni.
Everyone dies,” I said. jan ali li moli.”
   
You looked around. sina lukin sike.
There was nothingness. ma ala li lon ni.
Just you and me. sina taso en mi taso li lon.
“What is this place?” You asked. sina toki pi wile sona e ni: “ma ni li seme?
“Is this the afterlife?” ona li ma pi jan moli anu seme?”
   
“More or less,” I said. mi toki e ni: “ni li sama lon.”
   
“Are you god?” You asked. sina toki pi wile sona e ni: “sina jan sewi anu seme?”
   
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.” mi toki e ni: “lon. mi jan sewi.”
   
“My kids… my wife,” you said. sina toki e ni: “jan lili mi… meli mi…”
   
“What about them?” “seme pi ona mute li suli?”
   
“Will they be all right?” “ona mute li pilin pona anu seme?”
   
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. mi toki e ni: “ni li pona tawa mi.
“You just died tenpo pini lili la sina moli.
and your main concern is for your family. taso sina pilin pi kulupu mama sina.
That’s good stuff right there.” sina jan pona.”
   
You looked at me with fascination. sina lukin pi pilin wawa e mi.
To you, I didn’t look like God. mi lukin ala sama jan sewi tawa sina.
I just looked like some man. mi lukin sama jan ijo.
Or possibly a woman.  
Some vague authority figure, maybe. ken la mi lukin sama jan lawa.
More of a grammar school teacher mi lukin sama jan pi pana sona.
than the almighty. mi lukin ala sama jan pi wawa ali.
   
“Don’t worry,” I said. mi toki e ni: “o pilin ike ala.
“They’ll be fine. tenpo kama la ona mute li pilin pona.
Your kids will remember you jan lili sina li pilin e ni:
as perfect in every way. sina pona mute.
They didn’t have time ona li jo ala e tenpo tawa ni:
to grow contempt for you. ona li pilin ike tawa sina.
Your wife will cry on the outside, meli sina li pana e telo oko.
but will be secretly relieved. insa taso la ona li pilin pona.
To be fair, mi pilin e ni:
your marriage was falling apart. wan pi sina en ona li kama tu.
If it’s any consolation, ken la sina pilin pona tawa ni:
she’ll feel very guilty ona li pilin ike tawa ni:
for feeling relieved.” ona li pilin pona tawa weka sina.”
   
“Oh,” you said. sina toki e ni: “a.
“So what happens now? tenpo ni la seme li kama?
Do I go to heaven or hell or something?” mi tawa ma moli pona anu ma moli ike anu seme?”
   
“Neither,” I said. mi toki e ni: “ala.
“You’ll be reincarnated.” tenpo kama la mi sin e lon sina.”
   
“Ah,” you said. sina toki e ni: “a.
“So the Hindus were right,” jan pi nasin sewi Intu li sona pona.”
   
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. mi toki e ni: “nasin sewi ali li sona pona.
“Walk with me.” o tawa poka mi.”
   
You followed along sina tawa poka mi.
as we strode through the void. mi tu li tawa lon ma ala.
“Where are we going?” “mi tu li tawa ma seme?”
   
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. mi toki e ni: “mi tu li tawa ma ijo.
“It’s just nice to walk while we talk.” taso mi tu li toki la tawa li pona tawa mi.”
   
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. sina toki pi wile sona e ni: “sina pali e ni tan seme?
“When I get reborn, sina sin e lon mi la
I’ll just be a blank slate, right? mi kama jan pi sona ala anu seme?
A baby. mi jan lili.
So all my experiences and everything I did in this life ali pi lon mi en pali ali mi
won’t matter.” li suli ala.”
   
“Not so!” I said. mi toki e ni: “ona li suli!
“You have within you all the knowledge and experiences sina jo e sona
of all your past lives. pi lon ali sina lon insa sina.
You just don’t remember them right now.” taso tenpo ni la sina sona ala e ona.”
   
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. mi pini e tawa mi li pilin e sewi pi monsi sina.
“Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, “sina ken ala sona e ali ni:
and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. kon sina li pona mute, li suli mute.
A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction sona jan li ken jo e ijo lili lili wan taso
of what you are. pi kon suli sina.
It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water ni li sama ni: sina pana e palisa luka sina tawa poki tan ni:
to see if it’s hot or cold. sina wile sona e ni: telo li lete anu seli?
You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, sina pana e ijo lili lili wan sina tawa poki.
and when you bring it back out, sina weka e ona tan poki la
you’ve gained all the experiences it had. ona li pana e sona ali pi poki ni tawa sina.
   
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, tenpo suli la sina lon sijelo jan.
so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt sina pilin ala e ni:
the rest of your immense consciousness. kon sina li suli mute.
If we hung out here for long enough, mi tu li awen lon ni la
you’d start remembering everything. sina kama sona sin e ali.
But there’s no point taso ni li pona ala:
to doing that between each life.” tenpo ali la mi tu li awen.”
   
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?” “tenpo pi mute seme la sina sin e lon mi?”
   
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. mi toki e ni: “a. tenpo mute. tenpo mute mute.
An in to lots of different lives.” I said. mi pana sijelo pi jan ante mute.
“This time around, tenpo ni pi kama lon la
you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl sina meli lili Sonko li pali e kili e soweli
in 540 AD.” li lon tenpo pini pini.”
   
“Wait, what?” You stammered. sina toki pilin e ni: “a, seme?
“You’re sending me back in time?” sina pana e mi tawa tenpo pini anu seme?”
   
“Well, I guess technically. “a, ni li sama lon.
Time, as you know it, sina sona e tenpo.
only exists in your universe. taso tenpo li lon ma suli sina taso.
Things are different where I come from.” ma mi la ijo li ante.”
   
“Where you come from?” You said. sina toki e ni: “ma sina?”
   
“Oh sure,” I explained mi toki pona: “a, lon.
“I come from somewhere. mi kama tan ma ijo.
Somewhere else. mi kama tan ma ante.
And there are others like me. jan sewi ante li lon ma ni.
I know you’ll want to know mi sona e ni: sina wile sona e ni:
what it’s like there, ma ni li seme lukin?
but honestly you wouldn’t understand.” taso mi toki e ni tawa sina la sina ken ala sona e ni.”
   
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. sina toki pi ike lili e ni: “a.
“But wait. taso o kute e mi.
If I get reincarnated to other places in time, mi tawa tenpo ante la
I could have interacted with myself at some point.” ni li ken: tenpo ijo la mi toki tawa mi.”
   
“Sure. Happens all the time. “lon. tenpo mute la ni li kama.
And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan sina tu li sona e lon sina wan taso la
you don’t even know it’s happening.” sina sona ala e ni: sina toki tawa sina.”
   
“So what’s the point of it all?” “seme li tan ali?”
   
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? mi toki e ni: “a, sina toki pi wile sona e ni?
You’re asking me for the meaning of life? sina wile sona e ni: seme li tan ali?
Isn’t that a little stereotypical?” jan ali li wile sona e ni!”
   
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted. sina toki pi awen pona e ni: “mi wile sona e tan!”
   
I looked you in the eye. mi lukin e oko sina.
“The meaning of life, “tan ali,
the reason I made this whole universe, en tan pi ma suli ni,
is for you to mature.” li ni: sina kama sona.
   
“You mean mankind? “sina toki e ijo pi jan ali anu seme?
You want us to mature?” sina wile ala wile e ni: mi mute li kama sona?”
   
“No, just you. “wile ala. mi wile e ni: sina taso kama sona.
I made this whole universe for you. mi pali e ma suli ni tawa sina taso.
With each new life you grow and mature sina lon sin la sina kama suli
and become a larger and greater intellect.” li kama sona.”
   
“Just me? What about everyone else?” “mi taso? sina pali ala pali e ma suli tawa jan ante?”
   
“There is no one else,” I said. mi toki e ni: “jan ante li lon ala.
“In this universe, there’s just you and me.” sina taso en mi taso li lon ma suli ni”
   
You stared blankly at me. sina lukin pi wawa ala e mi.
“But all the people on earth…” “taso jan ali pi lon ma sike…”
   
“All you. Different incarnations of you.” “jan ali li sina. jan ali li sina ante.”
   
“Wait. I’m everyone!?” “o awen! mi jan ali!?”
   
“Now you’re getting it,” mi toki e ni: “lon. tenpo ni la sina sona.”
I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back. mi pilin e sewi pi monsi sina tan ni: mi pilin pona.
   
“I’m every human being who ever lived?” “tenpo pini la mi jan ali ala jan ali?”
   
“Or who will ever live, yes.” “jan ali. tenpo kama kin la sina jan ali.”
   
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?” “mi jan Epapan Linkon tan seme?”
   
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added. mi toki e ni: “sina jan Jon Wike Pu kin.”
   
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled. sina toki ike e ni: “mi jan Itala tan seme?”
   
“And you’re the millions he killed.” “jan Itala li moli e jan mute mute mute. sina jan mute ni kin.”
   
“I’m Jesus?” “mi jan Jesu tan seme?”
   
“And you’re everyone who followed him.” “jan mute li tawa poka ona. sina jan mute ni kin.”
   
You fell silent. sina pini e toki sina.
   
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, mi toki e ni: “sina pakala e jan la
“you were victimizing yourself. sina pakala e sina.
Every act of kindness you’ve done, sina pali e pona tawa jan la
you’ve done to yourself. sina pali e pona tawa sina.
Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human jan ali li pilin pona anu pilin ike la
was, or will be, experienced by you.” sina pilin sama.”
   
You thought for a long time. tenpo suli la sina pilin e ni.
   
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?” sina toki pi wile sona e ni: “sina pali e ni tan seme?”
   
“Because someday, you will become like me. “tan li ni: tenpo ijo la sina kama sama mi.
Because that’s what you are. sina ni:
You’re one of my kind. sina sama mi.
You’re my child.” sina jan lili mi.”
   
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. sina toki pilin e ni: “a!
“You mean I’m a god?” mi jan sewi anu seme?”
   
“No. Not yet. “tenpo ni la sina jan sewi ala.
You’re a fetus. sina jan sewi pi open ala.
You’re still growing. sina suli kin e sina.
Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, tenpo ali la sina jo lon pi jan ali.
you will have grown enough to be born.” ni li kama la sina suli li open e lon sina.”
   
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…” sina toki e ni: “ma suli ali li …”
   
“An egg.” I answered. mi toki kin e ni: “sike mama taso.
“Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.” tenpo ni la mi wile e ni: mi sin e lon sina.”
   
And I sent you on your way. mi pana e sina tawa nasin sina.

Toki Pona-only version

sike mama

tenpo pi tawa tomo sina la sina moli.

tan moli li pakala pi tomo tawa. ona li suli ala. taso sina moli. sina jo e meli e jan lili tu. sina pilin ala e pakala. jan sona sijelo li pali mute. taso ona li weka ala e moli. moli ni li pona tawa sina tan ni: sijelo sina li pakala mute mute.

tenpo ni la sina kama tawa mi.

sina toki pi wile sona e ni: “seme… seme li kama? mi lon seme?”

mi toki lon e ni: “sina moli.” mi wile toki e ijo lon.

“mi lukin e… e tomo tawa suli. ona li tawa nasa…”

mi toki e ni: “lon.”

“mi… mi moli anu seme?”

mi toki e ni: “moli. taso o pilin ike ala tawa ni. jan ali li moli.”

sina lukin sike. ma ala li lon ni. sina taso en mi taso li lon. sina toki pi wile sona e ni: “ma ni li seme? ona li ma pi jan moli anu seme?”

mi toki e ni: “ni li sama lon.”

sina toki pi wile sona e ni: “sina jan sewi anu seme?”

mi toki e ni: “lon. mi jan sewi.”

sina toki e ni: “jan lili mi… meli mi…”

“seme pi ona mute li suli?”

“ona mute li pilin pona anu seme?”

mi toki e ni: “ni li pona tawa mi. tenpo pini lili la sina moli. taso sina pilin pi kulupu mama sina. sina jan pona.”

sina lukin pi pilin wawa e mi. mi lukin ala sama jan sewi tawa sina. mi lukin sama jan ijo. ken la mi lukin sama jan lawa. mi lukin sama jan pi pana sona. mi lukin ala sama jan pi wawa ali.

mi toki e ni: “o pilin ike ala. tenpo kama la ona mute li pilin pona. jan lili sina li pilin e ni: sina pona mute. ona li jo ala e tenpo tawa ni: ona li pilin ike tawa sina. meli sina li pana e telo oko. insa taso la ona li pilin pona. mi pilin e ni: wan pi sina en ona li kama tu. ken la sina pilin pona tawa ni: ona li pilin ike tawa ni: ona li pilin pona tawa weka sina.”

sina toki e ni: “a. tenpo ni la seme li kama? mi tawa ma moli pona anu ma moli ike anu seme?”

mi toki e ni: “ala. tenpo kama la mi sin e lon sina.”

sina toki e ni: “a. jan pi nasin sewi Intu li sona pona.”

mi toki e ni: “nasin sewi ali li sona pona. o tawa poka mi.”

sina tawa poka mi. mi tu li tawa lon ma ala. “mi tu li tawa ma seme?”

mi toki e ni: “mi tu li tawa ma ijo. taso mi tu li toki la tawa li pona tawa mi.”

sina toki pi wile sona e ni: “sina pali e ni tan seme? sina sin e lon mi la mi kama jan pi sona ala anu seme? mi jan lili. ali pi lon mi en pali ali mi li suli ala.”

mi toki e ni: “ona li suli! sina jo e sona pi lon ali sina lon insa sina. taso tenpo ni la sina sona ala e ona.”

mi pini e tawa mi li pilin e sewi pi monsi sina. “sina ken ala sona e ali ni: kon sina li pona mute, li suli mute. sona jan li ken jo e ijo lili lili wan taso pi kon suli sina. ni li sama ni: sina pana e palisa luka sina tawa poki tan ni: sina wile sona e ni: telo li lete anu seli? sina pana e ijo lili lili wan sina tawa poki. sina weka e ona tan poki la ona li pana e sona ali pi poki ni tawa sina.

tenpo suli la sina lon sijelo jan. sina pilin ala e ni: kon sina li suli mute. mi tu li awen lon ni la sina kama sona sin e ali. taso ni li pona ala: tenpo ali la mi tu li awen.”

“tenpo pi mute seme la sina sin e lon mi?”

mi toki e ni: “a. tenpo mute. tenpo mute mute. mi pana sijelo pi jan ante mute. tenpo ni pi kama lon la sina meli lili Sonko li pali e kili e soweli li lon tenpo pini pini.”

sina toki pilin e ni: “a, seme? sina pana e mi tawa tenpo pini anu seme?”

“a, ni li sama lon. sina sona e tenpo. taso tenpo li lon ma suli sina taso. ma mi la ijo li ante.”

sina toki e ni: “ma sina?”

mi toki pona: “a, lon. mi kama tan ma ijo. mi kama tan ma ante. jan sewi ante li lon ma ni. mi sona e ni: sina wile sona e ni: ma ni li seme lukin? taso mi toki e ni tawa sina la sina ken ala sona e ni.”

sina toki pi ike lili e ni: “a. taso o kute e mi. mi tawa tenpo ante la ni li ken: tenpo ijo la mi toki tawa mi.”

“lon. tenpo mute la ni li kama. sina tu li sona e lon sina wan taso la sina sona ala e ni: sina toki tawa sina.”

“seme li tan ali?”

mi toki e ni: “a, sina toki pi wile sona e ni? sina wile sona e ni: seme li tan ali? jan ali li wile sona e ni!”

sina toki pi awen pona e ni: “mi wile sona e tan!”

mi lukin e oko sina. “tan ali, en tan pi ma suli ni, li ni: sina kama sona.

“sina toki e ijo pi jan ali anu seme? sina wile ala wile e ni: mi mute li kama sona?”

“wile ala. mi wile e ni: sina taso kama sona. mi pali e ma suli ni tawa sina taso. sina lon sin la sina kama suli li kama sona.”

“mi taso? sina pali ala pali e ma suli tawa jan ante?”

mi toki e ni: “jan ante li lon ala. sina taso en mi taso li lon ma suli ni”

sina lukin pi wawa ala e mi. “taso jan ali pi lon ma sike…”

“jan ali li sina. jan ali li sina ante.”

“o awen! mi jan ali!?”

mi toki e ni: “lon. tenpo ni la sina sona.” mi pilin e sewi pi monsi sina tan ni: mi pilin pona.

“tenpo pini la mi jan ali ala jan ali?”

“jan ali. tenpo kama kin la sina jan ali.”

“mi jan Epapan Linkon tan seme?”

mi toki e ni: “sina jan Jon Wike Pu kin.”

sina toki ike e ni: “mi jan Itala tan seme?”

“jan Itala li moli e jan mute mute mute. sina jan mute ni kin.”

“mi jan Jesu tan seme?”

“jan mute li tawa poka ona. sina jan mute ni kin.”

sina pini e toki sina.

mi toki e ni: “sina pakala e jan la sina pakala e sina. sina pali e pona tawa jan la sina pali e pona tawa sina. jan ali li pilin pona anu pilin ike la sina pilin sama.”

tenpo suli la sina pilin e ni.

sina toki pi wile sona e ni: “sina pali e ni tan seme?”

“tan li ni: tenpo ijo la sina kama sama mi. sina ni: sina sama mi. sina jan lili mi.”

sina toki pilin e ni: “a! mi jan sewi anu seme?”

“tenpo ni la sina jan sewi ala. sina jan sewi pi open ala. sina suli kin e sina. tenpo ali la sina jo lon pi jan ali. ni li kama la sina suli li open e lon sina.”

sina toki e ni: “ma suli ali li …”

mi toki kin e ni: “sike mama taso. tenpo ni la mi wile e ni: mi sin e lon sina.”

mi pana e sina tawa nasin sina.


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