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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

He wolfed it all down (some would add ‘hungrily’)

More views of - or after - Cambridge Film Festival 2011
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

6 December

Why this word associated with a creature that was eliminated in England, and why have some dogs not been eliminated, even though they are just as dangerous (remember that pointless piece of knee-jerk political legislation, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, which achieved almost nothing other than appearing to do something)?

(Mind you, it is probably just as much a myth that the wolf was hunted out of existence as that England was covered by forests, cut down to create the landscape that we have to-day…)

I found, to-night, that there is reference in the lyric to Riu, riu, chiu:

The river bank protects it, as God kept the wolf from our lamb.
The furious wolf tried to bite her, but God protected her well

Some suggestion that the wolf equates to the devouring Satan…

In any case, if someone, by accident, said He dogged it all down, it would probably carry some prurient meaning now, but that was not true ten years ago, so that’s no explanation, but maybe this Red Riding Hood anti-wolf / devil in disguise sentiment runs deep, and the disparagement of the phrase has simply fitted better to denigrating our lupine friend rather than man’s best.

How the cat is not man’s best friend is beyond me! I know that these things are deeply personal, but cats don’t slobber, jump up (even with the limited altitude of that leap, a pair of trousers ruined as soon as I arrived where I was staying on one visit to Germany), suddenly bark for no apparent or useful reason, or require to be taken to places that cats can get to all on their own, let alone the places that are exclusive to them.

OK, cats think that they are invisible when they are not (but Snowball wasn’t hiding from me under the rhubarb, and her tally of prey was impressive, if tiresome), and, without barking, they can miaow in so many different ways that don’t just mean Feed me! and it can be a deuce of a job (the devil again!) to work out what it means so that the cat will be satisfied and the miaowing will stop, but they do eat in a polite way, more as we do, except when (more animal prejudice…) We are making pigs of ourselves!.

Plus cats can purr (which deserves devotion in itself, as the Egyptians knew), and, usually without bearing much of a grudge, they are far more capable of stating their point of view with an arched back and a hiss, when the preceding warning-sign of a twitching tail has been ignored.

None of which has anything to do with The Song of Songs, or the German word Badezimmer, but I think that you knew that...


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