On my way to the mountains of Prussa
Πάγω στης Προύσας τα βουνά
On my way - oh aman, gel aman -
On my way to the mountains of Prussa,1
I found a cool brook bubbling.
I bent down to take a sip
And into the brook my kerchief did slip
With four hundred - oh aman, gel aman -
With four hundred florins
With sixty drams of musk
So you see the love I have.
Three maids untouched - oh aman, gel aman -
Three maidens embroidered it for me
They sang over it for me, three girls
Fresh as May, fresh as May cherries.
O dear kerchief - oh aman, gel aman -
O precious silken kerchief
Embroidered in gold thread
How fine, how fine the poor thing was.
Translated by Michael Eleftheriou
1 Prussa: Bursa, city in north-western Turkey .
Πάγω στης Προύσας τα βουνά
Πάγω στης Πρού- ωχ, αμάν, γκελ, αμάν-
πάγω στης Προύσας τα βουνά,
βρίσκω βρύσες, κρύα νερά.
Έσκυψα- έσκυψα να πιω λιγάκι,
μού ‘πεσε- μού ‘πεσε το μαντιλάκι.
Με τετρακό- ωχ, αμάν, γκελ, αμάν-
με τετρακόσια δυο φλουριά,
μ’ εξή- μ’ εξήντα δράμια μόσχο,
για να δεις- για να δεις αγάπη πόχω.
Όπου μου το- ωχ, αμάν, γκελ, αμάν-
όπου μου το κεντούσανε
και μου το τραγουδούσανε
τρί’ απά- τρί’ απάρθενα* κοράσια,
σαν του Μάη- σαν του Μάη τα κεράσια.
Μαντίλι μου- ωχ, αμάν, γκελ, αμάν-
μαντίλι μου μεταξωτό
και χρυ- και χρυσοκεντημένο
μια χαρά, μια χαρά ήταν το καημένο.
* Απάρθενα: αειπάρθενα, αγνά, αμόλυντα.
A song with rhyming eight-syllable quatrains to the steps of the local klistos (closed) dance from Sinasos, which was sung and danced by women unaccompanied by instruments.
The words were most probably introduced to Constantinople by residents from Sinasos, who formed a large and wealthy community in the Ottoman capital from the mid-18th century. The theme is very well known and was found, with countless variations, all the way from Constantinople to Kastellorizo. Losing the gold embroidered scarf which showcases the outstanding skill of its maker as well as symbolizing their passion, a mark of love serving a similar function to an engagement ring, is considered a great misfortune. In other variations, the loser usually offers up the large sum of money contained in his precious handkerchief as a gift, just so long as he gets it back, because in this way, by synecdoche, he will win back his beloved (see, for example, the Smyrnaean song Ήχασα μαντίλι μ’ εκατό φλουριά (I lost a handkerchief with a hundred coins, Ichasa mantili m’ ekato flouria).
Theodor Kondaras (2022)
Live recording from the concert Songs of Asia Minor with Domna Samiou at the Megaron, the Athens Concert Hall, on 8/5/2005.
The song was recorded by Domna Samiou in 1982 sung by Eleni Lazopoulou-Stratoudaki, 75, and Vasiliki Pepe, 70, refugees both from Sinasos, Cappadocia.