My collaborator and friend Maung Nyeu found a book of Marma proverbs (he himself is of the Marma people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh) and sent me a scan of one page.
This is one of my favorites. It reads: “The body of a frog, but the voice of an ox. Small men are often the best workers.”
The wood is cocobolo, from Rockler in Cambridge, and the carving is drying in my own version of a fume hood: on the stove, with the extractor fan turned on!
By the way: Maung will be joining me at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival to talk about the endangered peoples of the Hill Tracts. The conversation will be moderated by David Harrison, author of When Languages Die and perhaps the world’s leading expert on endangered languages. The event is not yet scheduled but will probably take place on June 27 or 28.