Qəne and Ethics (Moral)

2. Qəne and Ethics (Moral)


Teaching ethical values is one of the many uses of Qəne. BaläQənes are usually humble. When they talk, they usually try to lighten up the atmosphere rather than debase people, and among them one takes pleasure in the joys of a good dialogue. Their love of good conversation and joie de vivre can be attributed to their moral upbringing under the influence of Qəne education. Here are a selection of Qənes chosen for their ethical teaching.


a. ʾəz Gubaʾe Qana of Gäbrä Mädhən (ʾäläqa of Lemän Səllase Church)[1]


መፃጉዕ ይትዐረቅ ምስለ ብእሲት ደዌሁ፣

ሠላሳ አዝማነ እስመ ነበረት ምስሌሁ፡፡


        Let the invalid reconcile with his wife/sickness

        Since for 30 years she has lived with him.


For the Säm, a man who has quarreled with his wife of thirty years needs to reconcile with her since they have so much in common (children, property, happiness and sorrow).  Likewise, the invalid who was cured by Christ after 38 years of sickness relapsed back to his previous condition for slapping Jesus.


The story is based on John 5:5-15 and the fourth Sunday of the major EOTC fast is called Mas’agu’e (the Invalid). Even though, Christ cured him of his sickness and advised him not to sin anymore, Mas’agu’e slapped Jesus and collaborated with Jesus’ accusers and relapsed back to his ailing state.


The Moral of the Story


Even though, it is normal for those who receive favors to thank their benefactors, Mas’agu’e did the opposite. He testified against Jesus for disrespecting the Sabbath saying that he was forced to carry his bed by Jesus on a Sabbath and went on to slap him.  Mas’agu’e, disregarding the act of kindness bestowed upon him by Christ, lost God’s protection and became sick again. Most of us think that we get sick because God is punishing us and wonder what we have done to upset him. However, just like a hungry fox awaits the lamb running away from its shepherd, evil spirits await us and make us sick when we run away from the protection of God. Therefore, this Qəne teaches us that we are responsible for some of the bad things, i.e. sickness, that happens to us.



b. Wazema (1ኛ መጽሐፍ ገጽ 144 ቁጥር 90)

ለመልአክ ኢናከብሮ

ለእመ አስረፀ ክንፈ በመጠነ ነዊኅ ቆሙ፣

ለዖፍ ወለትንንያ እስመ ክንፍ ቦሙ፡፡

ወበሢበቱ ለሰብእ ኢናከብሮ ቀዲሙ፣

ጸዐዳ ሢበት እስመ ሀለዎሙ

ለዕፀው ወአእባነ ኲሎሙ፡፡



An angel is not respected

        For growing wings the length of his stature

Because even the bird and the fly have wings

        Or due to his gray hair, we do not honor a man

        Since gray hair is abundantly found

In all plants and stones.


The Säm is telling us that we respect angels for their work in the service of God and not for their wings, if it was otherwise mosquitoes and birds would then be honored. Likewise, a man is respected for his good deeds and not for having gray hair, otherwise stones and plants covered with moss(?) will be honored.  The BaläQəne is chastising those who want to be honored and respected for their old age and external appearance without doing any good deeds.   



c. Wazema of Yoftahe Nəguse  (Qägn Geta) (1ኛ መጽሐፍ ገጽ 113 ቁጥር 61)

ቆመ የስኳር ጠጅ

ውስተ ደብረ ማኅው ልብነ ሀገረ ሥቃይ ወተድላ፣

ወወደይነ በበትራሆሙ አረቄ ወጠላ፡፡

ወበውስተ በርሜል ልብነ ምስትጉቡአ በቀል አተላ፣

እሳተ አራዳ ኮኛክ እርሷው ተቃጥላ፣

አውዐየታ ለባቢሎን ገላ፡፡


T’aj made from sugar rested

In the suffering and comfort of our heart / glass mountain

And we added Araqe and T’alla

And the dregs/ vengeance accumulated in our barrel/heart

The cognac of Arada / Fire burning

Scorched our body/ Babylon.


To observe what is going on around us, we climb to a summit. Likewise, a t’aj brewed using sugar goes up to the head quick. Moreover, they started mixing Araqe and Talla to the T’aj.

[1] ዘገብረ መድኅን - አለቃ ዘሌመን ሥላሴ (3ኛ መጽሐፍ ገጽ 1)