Shake A Stick At

by Frumpy

translated to Indonesian by Rose Chen

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Have you ever heard the saying…. ‘shake a stick at’ ?

Well, while painting these rugs I occasionally get up to stretch my legs and walk through the wooded part of my yard. Yesterday, I found this really nice limb down by one of my Frog ponds. I guess I should have taken a before picture of how sad and rotten it looked but it was a spontaneous action that caused me to pick it up and lay it against the house. I have occasionally glanced at it several times while painting since yesterday and then it dawned on me….It was one of those things worth, “shaking a stick at”. So, the next thing I knew I started to give the grey lifeless piece of forgotten dried up wood of a once majestic tree limb, the make over of it’s life, well….in this case It’s next life – I think I will add several images on it, (you know, like stars and moons and fireflies, etc) but for right now this is how it is coming back to LIFE – because giving LIFE is GOOD !!

Here is a native American version of what ‘shake a stick’ means (counting coup): My heritage is Cherokee – a tribe that wasn’t known for fighting but I am sure protecting was a high priority.

Counting coup refers to the winning of prestige in battle by the Plains Indians of North America. Warriors won prestige by acts of bravery in the face of the enemy, and these acts could be recorded in various ways and retold as stories. Any blow struck against the enemy counted as a coup, but the most prestigious acts included touching an enemy warrior with the hand, bow, or with a coup stick then escaping unharmed. Touching the first enemy to die in battle or touching the enemy’s defensive works also counted as coup. Counting coup could also involve stealing an enemy’s weapons or horses tied up to his lodge in camp. Risk of injury or death was required to count coup.

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a beaded coup stick

Escaping unharmed while counting coup was considered a higher honor than being wounded in the attempt. A warrior who won coup was permitted to wear an eagle feather in his hair. If he had been wounded in the attempt, however, he was required to paint the feather red to indicate this.

Excerpt from World Wide Words:

“more … than you can shake a stick at” and “nothing worth shaking a stick at”

In that case, “too many to shake a stick at” might indicate a surplus of fallen enemies, and “not worth shaking a stick at” would equate a person with “an enemy who is so cowardly or worthless that there is no merit to be gained from counting coup on him”.

Reference : Wikipedia

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Pernahkah anda mendengar istilah ‘shake a stick at‘ ?

Well, ketika melukisi karpet-karpet yang akan saya jual, sesekali saya suka berdiri untuk meregangkan kaki dan berjalan-jalan menyusuri area pepohonan di halaman saya. Kemarin saya menemukan dahan yang cantik ini dekat salah satu kolam kodok saya. Mungkin seharusnya saya ambil gambar ‘sebelum’ untuk memperlihatkan betapa menyedihkan dan jeleknya dahan ini, tapi waktu itu saya benar-benar bertindak spontan,  memungutnya dan menyenderkannya ke dinding rumah. Sejak kemarin, sambil melukis,  sebentar-sebentar saya melirik ke arahnya. Tiba-tiba saya terpikir, ‘Ini salah satu benda yang layak ‘shaking a stick at‘.  (menggoyang-goyangkan ranting terhadap…). Tanpa saya sadari, tiba-tiba saja saya sudah mulai permak potongan kayu kering kelabu tak bernyawa yang pada masa hidupnya pernah merupakan bagian dari dahan sebatang pohon megah ini, memberinya hidup baru. Mungkin akan saya tambahkan beberapa gambar di atasnya, (ya… seperti bintang, bulan, kunang-kunang, dan lain-lain). Yang jelas, begitulah cerita bagaimana dia ‘hidup’ kembali – karena, ‘memberi hidup’ sungguh kereeeen!

Saya keturunan Indian Cherokee, suku yang dikenal cinta damai. Walaupun begitu, saya yakin, ‘melindungi’ adalah prioritas. Versi suku asli Amerika mengenai asal muasal ‘shake a stick at’ adalah seperti berikut ini.

‘Counting coup’ adalah perolehan penghargaan dalam perang suku Indian di Amerika Utara. Penghargaan ini diperoleh dengan tindakan berani sewaktu menghadapi musuh. Tindakan berani ini ada berbagai macam dan kelak diceritakan dari mulut ke mulut, dari generasi ke generasi. Setiap pukulan terhadap musuh dianggap sebagai ‘coup‘ (kup), tetapi tindakan yang dianggap paling bergengsi adalah menyentuh musuh dengan tangan, busur atau coup stick (tongkat perang) kemudian meloloskan diri tanpa luka. Menyentuh musuh pertama yang mati dalam perang atau menyentuh pertahanan lawan juga terhitung ‘coup’.  Selain itu, berhasil mencuri senjata atau kuda lawan juga terhitung coup. Untuk bisa terhitung dalam coup, harus ada resiko terluka atau mati.

Berhasil lolos tanpa luka waktu ‘counting coup’ dihargai lebih tinggi dari pada kalau terluka. Prajurit yang memenangkan coup berhak memakai bulu elang di rambutnya. Jika pada saat coup dia terluka, bulu elang itu harus dicat merah.

Kutipan dari World Wide Words :

“more … than you can shake a stick at” dan “nothing worth shaking a stick at”

Dalam hal ini, “too many to shake a stick at” mungkin merujuk pada banyaknya jumlah musuh yang jatuh (terluka atau mati) dan “not worth shaking a stick at” mungkin mempunyai arti yang mirip dengan seorang ‘musuh yang pengecut atau tak berharga sehingga terasa tak cukup bernilai untuk melakukan ‘counting coup‘ atas dirinya”.

Catatan Penerjemah

Counting coup menggunakan coup stick. ‘Shake a stick at‘ diperkirakan ada hubungannya dengan ‘counting coup‘ karena memakai stick (ranting)

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