Nationality: Pakistani, American
Occupation: Computer Programmer
Residence: 11048 Washington Blvd Apt 306
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/26/2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Urdu, Punjabi
Context: The following is an account from the informant, my father, that was told to him in a casual setting during his childhood in a Pakistani village.
Background: The informant was recounting some common sayings that his aunts and older relatives mentioned in their everyday life. This particular saying is an explanation for the cooing of doves, mentioned to him by both of his aunts. Such things were told in a matter-of-fact manner, and widespread throughout the region.
Aunt: Do you hear the sound of the dove cooing? It always makes the same sound over and over again, ‘Coo coo coo’. If you listen closely, however, you can see that it sounds like it is saying, ‘Yusuf coo’.
Informant: Why would it say that?
Aunt: It’s been saying that for hundreds of years, after the prophet Yusuf (Joseph) was thrown down the well by his brothers. Ever since then, the dove has been trying to let everybody know what happened to him.
Analysis: This is another myth that I hadn’t heard before, attempting to connect the unique cooing of the dove to a sacred, religious story. ‘coo’ in Punjabi, the language that the informant and those around him were speaking, translates to ‘well’.