Category Archives: fairy tales

breaking bread

Today is Thanksgiving in the US, a holiday marked primarily by having a large meal together with family and/or loved ones. In previous years, I’ve set the table with utensils, and served up some turkeys. This year, I want to make sure we include bread (and a few other bready baked goods) in our ongoing ThThTh feast.

  • break bread: an expression meaning “have a meal together with people”
  • “Breaking Bread,” a song by Johnny Cash
  • “bumped his head on a piece of bread”: a line from the song/nursery rhyme “It’s raining, it’s pouring” in the version I learned as a child (though not in more commonly known versions). Did anyone else learn this version?

    It’s raining, it’s pouring
    The old man in snoring.
    Bumped his head on a piece of bread,
    And didn’t get up till morning.

  • bread: a slang term for money
  • breadwinner: one who earns money for a household
  • dough: another term for “bread” as in “I’ll need some dough to buy bread”
  • dough: a mixture of flour, water and other ingredients used to bake bread, as in “I’ll knead some dough to bake bread.”
  • The Pillsbury Doughboy: an anthropomorphic wad of dough used to sell products for Pillsbury.
  • half a loaf is better than no bread or half a loaf is better than none: an expression meaning, roughly “getting something is better than getting nothing”
  • “Half a loaf is better than low bred:” a joke made by John Steed in The Avengers episode “The Correct Way to Kill
  • The Little Red Hen: a fairy tale about a hard-working, wheat-growing, flour-grinding, bread-baking hen who gets no help from her lazy companions, who prefer to loaf.
  • “give us this day our daily bread:” a line from the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer recited by Christian church-goers
  • bread line: a queue to receive food from a charitable organization
  • whitebread: a slang adjective used to describe someone whose tastes are bland and culturally mainstream, or things associated with such a person. Such as white bread.
  • bun in the oven: an expression meaning “knocked up”
  • The Muffin Man: an English nursery rhyme. Do you know the muffin man?
  • muffin top: the lumps of flesh about the waist caused by wearing pants that are too tight
  • Hansel and Gretel: in this fairy tale, two children leave a trail of breadcrumbs to mark their path so that they won’t get lost in the woods. It’s not a particularly effective method.
  • bread is the staff of life: a saying about the importance of bread. Etymology online says:

    Staff of life “bread” is from the Biblical phrase “to break the staff of bread” (Lev. xxvi.26), transl. Heb. matteh lekhem.

    I’ll take a page from Magpie and redirect you to this blogger, who poked further into the orgins of the phrase.

  • “I’ll grind his bones to make my bread,” a line spoken by the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk:

    Fee-fi-fo-fum!
    I smell the blood of an Englishman.
    Be he ‘live, or be he dead,
    I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.

  • the best thing since sliced bread: an expression said appreciatively of something really innovative, or just something really good. Often said facetiously.
  • bread and circus: as the wiki says, since I’m too tired/lazy to say something on my own “is a metaphor for handouts and petty amusements that politicians use to gain popular support, instead of gaining it through sound policy”
  • Project Bread, a Massachusetts anti-hunger organization. I’ll donate $5.00 to them for each commenter who includes the name of a type of bread in the comments below.

image credits: bread from wpclipart, Little Red Hen from Ella M. Beebe Picture Primer (New York: American Book Company, 1910) 87 from clipart ETC.

goosey, loosely

goose_girlIt’s that time of year again. You know, when the goose is getting fat. And you know what? So is my goose list for this fine Themed Things Thursday. But I’m in a bit of a rush, so I’ve gotten a bit loose in my descriptions.

A flock of geese things

  1. one’s goose is cooked: an expression meaning that one is in trouble. Eg. “She knew her goose was cooked when she saw the flock of angry geese heading her way”
  2. a wild goose chase: an expression for a fruitless venture, usually involving a lot of wasted energy. And sometimes flying feathers.
  3. a goose walked over my grave: an expression meaning “got a sudden chill”
  4. goose bumps: bumps that a appear temporarily on the skin when a person is cold. Perhaps because the skin looks a bit like that of a plucked goose.
  5. what’s good for the goose is good for the gander: an expression meaning that both male and female should be plucked. Or otherwise get equal treatment.
  6. take a gander at: an expression meaning “have a look.” As in “Take a gander at those soldiers doing the goose step.”
  7. goose step: a formal style of military marching.
  8. Spruce Goose: an airplane made out of wood.
  9. to goose: to poke someone in the butt, or between the cheeks.
  10. gets my goose: an expression one says when something has annoyed or made angry. (Probably a corruption of the similar “gets my goat.”) You know what really gets my goose? Getting goosed.
  11. duck, duck, goose: a children’s game played in a group. Participants sit around in a circle and quack and honk. (No, not really. Click the link if you don’t already know the game.)
  12. Mother Goose: a name given to the author of traditional nursery rhymes, who may or may not have been a real individual.
  13. Gossie: a children’s book by Olivier Dunrea about a gosling and her bright red boots.
  14. “The Goose Girl”: a fairy tale about a girl who is frequently goosed. Or maybe not.
  15. The Golden Goose: a recipe for roasting a goose. Or maybe it’s another fairy tale.
  16. The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs: a fable attribute to Aesop about a couple who had a profitable business agreement with a goose until they got too greedy.
  17. killing the goose that laid the golden eggs: an expression based on the above fable, said of people who have it out for geese, and are worried about cholesterol levels.
  18. goose egg: a slang term for zero, based on the fact that goose eggs weigh absolutely nothing. Or maybe because of their shape.
  19. silly goose: what one might call a person who is behaving in a silly way.
  20. give a gift of geese: Heifer International offers geese among their gift options, getting a family a goose to raise. Much better than getting goosed.

simpleton_finds_the_golden_gooseold_mother_goose

bed post

bedPhoebe got a real bed a couple of weeks ago, inspiring me to think about beds for a ThThTh list¹.

A bed list²

  1. make one’s bed and lie in it: an expression meaning that one must accept the consequences of one’s actions. The wording of the expression is somewhat variable, with various subjects (and agreeing possessives) possible, some variation in tense/aspect of the verb make, and variability in the the following clause. eg. You’ve made your bed, and now you must lie in it. or He made is bed, so now he’ll have to lie in it.
  2. The Princess and the Pea: a classic fairy tale in which a pea is hidden under mattresses to test whether a girl can feel the lump under the bedding
  3. “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed.” Something the bears say in the fairy tale Goldilocks.
  4. flower bed: an area, such as in a garden, that has been planted with flowers
  5. bed of roses: an expression meaning an easy or luxurious situtation. More often heard with a negative, such as “it was no bed of roses.”
  6. fortune cookies: If you add “in bed” to the end of the fortune when you read it, hilarity will ensue (in bed).
  7. hotbed: an environment conducive to rapid growth
  8. Beds Are Burning, a song by Midnight Oil. (youtube video)
  9. “5 little monkeys jumping on the bed:” a children’s song/rhyme of the “counting down” variety:

    Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
    One fell off and bumped his head
    Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
    “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”

    Subsequent verses are sung with one fewer monkeys jumping, until one reaches the final “no more monkeys” state. There’s a book based on the rhyme, too.

  10. “10 in the bed:” another kids’ song of the countdown type.

    Ten in the bed and the little one said “roll over! roll over”
    So they all rolled over and one fell out…

  11. in bed with the enemy: an expression meaning “consorting with the opposition”
  12. strange bedfellows: an expression used to describe a situation where unlikely individuals cooperate, having been brought together to by unusual circumstances. Taken from a line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”
  13. In Bed with Madonna:” The title of the 1991 Madonna movie (“Truth or Dare“) as it was released in various countries. I saw it in Brazil as “Na Cama com Madonna.”
  14. My Bed is a Boat:” a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson from A Child’s Garden of Verses

    My bed is like a little boat;
    Nurse helps me in when I embark;
    She girds me in my sailor’s coat
    And starts me in the dark.

  15. Come, Let’s to Bed:” a Mother Goose rhyme:

    “To bed! To bed!”
    Says Sleepy-head;
    “Tarry awhile,” says Slow;
    “Put on the pan,”
    Says Greedy Nan;
    “We’ll sup before we go.”

  16. bed head: hair that has been messed up during sleep, or that at least appears that way

44432_girl_sleep_lg>
¹Also at times inspiring me to miss the cage-like qualities of the crib. Is duct tape really so wrong?
²You know, I pretty much never make my bed. But I’m clearly not opposed to making a bed list.³
³You know, I really need to get to bed.

girl in bed image source: Ella M. Beebe Picture Primer (New York: American Book Company, 1910), Copyright: 2008, Florida Center for Instructional Technology

going nuts

It’s fall now up here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the squirrels are busy squirreling away their nuts for the winter. Meanwhile, I’ve been eating a lot of nuts, and going a little nuts. And reading about nuts¹. It’s almost as if nuts have been falling out of the trees and bonking me on the head². So, grab your nutcracker³, because I’ve gathered up a few nuts to share with you for this week’s list o’ Things.

a selection of mixed nuts

  • nuts. (adj.) An expression meaning “crazy.” As in “you are totally nuts.” There are also other nut-themed variations, such as the additional adjectives nutty and nutso, and nouns like nutjob and nutcase.
  • Nuts (1987) A movie starring Richard Dreyfuss and Barbra Streisand.
  • Nuts (2007) A short movie directed by Irvine Welsh. (You can actually watch it on IMDB.)
  • nut: a piece of hardware: “a type of hardware fastener with a threaded hole.” Typically used with a bolt.
  • wingnut: a kind of nut (the hardware kind) with the appearance of wings
  • wingnut: someone with extremely right-wing political views. As in “please don’t let us have a wingnut for vice president!”
  • nuts: a slang term for testicles.
  • Mr. Peanut. The mascot for Planter’s nuts. An anthropomorphic peanut wearing a tophat.
  • in a nutshell: an expression meaning “in summary” or “in brief,” evoking the compact size of a nutshell, and what can be stuffed in it.
  • O’Reilly’s In a Nutshell series: technical reference books, such as Perl in a Nutshell and Java in a Nutshell
  • The Nutshell Library: A box set collection of miniature books by Maurice Sendak. Not about technical topics.
  • Death in a Nut“: A folktale (in various versions) about a boy who tries to save his mother from death by stuffing Death into a nut shell.
  • Thumbelina“: a fairytale about a tiny girl. She had a cradle made of a walnut shell.
  • Kate Crackernuts: an English fairytale about a girl who frees her stepsister from a curse that hides her beauty. The nuts are somewhat peripheral to the story. Kate collects them while going about her tasks and eats them for breakfast.
  • Nutcracker: a device used to access nuts that are encased in a hard shell. Decorative ones sometimes are made to look like people.
  • The Nutcracker: a ballet by Tchaikovsky, based on the story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffmann featuring a decorative nutcracker toy.
  • Harlan Pepper, played by Christopher Guest in Best in Show, likes to name nuts:

    I used to be able to name every nut that there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy, because she used to say, “Harlan Pepper, if you don’t stop naming nuts,” and the joke was that we lived in Pine Nut, and I think that’s what put it in my mind at that point. So she would hear me in the other room, and she’d just start yelling. I’d say, “Peanut. Hazelnut. Cashew nut. Macadamia nut.” That was the one that would send her into going crazy. She’d say, “Would you stop naming nuts!” And Hubert used to be able to make the sound, he couldn’t talk, but he’d go “rrrawr rrawr” and that sounded like Macadamia nut. Pine nut, which is a nut, but it’s also the name of a town. Pistachio nut. Red pistachio nut. Natural, all natural white pistachio nut.

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¹ Two of my favorite bloggers coincidentally (or perhaps both sparked by the start of school) wrote about how they are dealing with nut restrictions in their schools. Emily wrote Nutty, and Denguy wrote Aw, Nuts, two thoughtful posts that raise awareness about nut allergies. (I’d like to add that neither of them has a child with a nut allergy, and in fact have kids who love peanut butter. But they are both concerned and considerate.)

² That happened to me once with a chestnut. It hurt.

³ …or your epipen…

Thumbelina image from Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales (Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, ND).

a butterfly collection

A while back, I gave you a list of moths for a Themed Things Thursday list, and I said I’d get around to the other major set of lepidoptera shortly. So here is a collection of butterfly things, which I have carefully skewered with pins and lined up for your enjoyment.

    A Butterfly Collection

  1. butterfly collecting: a hobby that involves collecting specimens of butterflies, and typically pinning them to a board and displaying them under glass in rows. It was a particularly popular hobby during Victorian and Edwardian times.
  2. The Collector (1965) A movie about a butterfly collector who kidnaps a woman to add to his collection of creatures.
  3. butterfly net: a type of handheld net used for catching butterflies (often for a collection). The image of using oversized butterfly nets to catch people is sometimes used in cartoons (or the imagery is evoked in humor writing). Particularly when depicting the “men in white coats” in pursuit of an escapee from a mental institution. (cf: this, this, or this cartoon.)
  4. “The Butterfly”, a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. A tale of a butterfly seeking a flower to be his bride. Unsuccessfully. In the end, he gets caught by people and pinned down, a state he likens to marriage.
  5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. A picture book about a caterpillar who is hungry and eats a lot before becoming “a beautiful butterfly.” (Sorry, did I give away the ending?)
  6. Heimlich : a caterpillar (who is generally very hungry) from Pixar’s animated feature, A Bug’s Life. At the end of the movie, he emerges from his cocoon as a butterfly with wings disproportionatley small for his body, saying: “Finally, I’m a beautiful butterfly”?) (You can watch the scene on YouTube.)
  7. butterfly kiss: a nickname for the act of brushing one’s eyelashes against another person’s skin as an act of affection.
  8. In the Time of the Butterflies. A novel by Julia Alvarez about 4 sisters who participated in a resistance against a brutal dictator in the Dominican Republic. Their codename was “las Mariposas,” or “the Butterflies.” Also a 2001 TV movie based on the novel.
  9. butterflies in the stomach: an expression referring to temporary minor gastrointestinal distress triggered by stress, such as that due to an anticipated meeting or public performance. (Doesn’t that sound poetic?)
  10. The Monarch. A bumbling arch-villain from “The Venture Bros.”, a cartoon shown on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Wears a butterfly costume, as do his henchman.
  11. Madame Butterfly: an opera written by Giacomo Puccini about a Geisha in Nagasaki called “Butterfly.”
  12. “Butterfly”, a song by Weezer about catching a butterfly in a mason jar. It also makes reference to the opera Madame Butterfly, and is on the album Pinkerton, which is the name of the male protagonist from the opera.
  13. the butterfly effect:
    An idea from Chaos theory whereby minor events can trigger a chain reaction of other events, which can sometimes lead to big events. Such as the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings leading to a tornado changing its path. (Also a 2004 movie.)
  14. butterfly ballot: a voting ballot notorious from the 2000 US presidential election, as its confusing layout may have led some would-be Gore voters in Florida to mistakenly vote for Pat Buchanan.
  15. The Sinister Butterfly: “Nefariously fluttering from leaf to leaf.” John’s blog. Which he doesn’t update very often these days. But he has posted some great photos there before, as well as some other stuff that’s worth reading.

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Butterfly collection image source: Worcester City Museums, UK. The Monarch image was found herehttp://cakerockstheparty.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/ncaa-heisman-trophy-avatars/.

roar

lion2.pngHere’s my first ThThTh list of March. In like a lion, as they say. Or in with a list of lions, which they don’t really say. But I’ll say it. Or I just did. Here are some lions for you.

  1. Leo. The astrological sign of the lion. Based on the constellation.
  2. The Cowardly Lion from L. F. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. (Also in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.) A lion who wants to get courage.
  3. Aslan. The lion in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the other six books in the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.
  4. The Lion King (1994) . An animated Disney movie, and a broadway play based on the same.
  5. The MGM Lion. This lion mascot (actually several different lions since 1924) appears roaring in the MGM logo as part of the (much parodied) opening sequence of Metro Goldwyn Mayer film productions.
  6. The Lion Sleeps Tonight“. A famous song with a more complicated history than I’d realized.. The original version “Mbube” was recorded in South Africa in 1939. Many versions, some also going by the name “Wimoweh,” have since been recorded around the world. Best known perhaps is the version by The Tokens. (Hear it on YouTube in a video with a singing hippo and dancing dog.)
  7. The lion’s share. An expression meaning “the biggest portion.”
  8. The Lion’s Share“. A song off 10,000 Maniacs’ album Blind Man’s Zoo.
  9. Fed to the lions or Thrown to the lions. Expressions meaning that a person has been placed in a metaphorical position of danger or a situation for which they are not well prepared. (Ancient Romans threw people to the lions as a spectator sport, and in a less figurative way.)
  10. The Slave and the Lion.” An Aesop’s fable about an escaped slave who removes a thorn from a lion’s paw, and thus gains the lion’s loyalty. And avoids getting eaten when he is thrown to the lions.
  11. “The Lady and the Lion.” A fairy tale told by the Brothers Grimm about a young woman who is held captive by a lion, who turns out to be a cursed prince. The story has much in common with versions of the “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale. A retelling of the story is available as a picturebook.
  12. The Lion and the Unicorn. Symbols of the United Kingdom. The lion gets to wear the crown on the UK Royal Coat of Arms. There’s also the related nursery rhyme:

    The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown
    The lion beat the unicorn all around the town.
    Some gave them white bread, and some gave them brown;
    Some gave them plum cake and drummed them out of town.

leo2.jpg

ribbit

Here it is, February 28th. What is typically the last day of February. However, this year, as I’m sure you are aware, is a leap year. So we get another day this month, making this year 366 days long.¹ Anyhow, this leaping business of leap year has inspired me to think about frogs.² And thus you get a froggy ThThTh list.
florida_tree_frog.jpgflorida_tree_frog.jpgflorida_tree_frog.jpgflorida_tree_frog.jpgflorida_tree_frog.jpg

A Few Frogs

  1. leap frog: A game you play by leaping over crouched people. (I can’t really describe it. Go see what Wikipedia says.)
  2. Frogger. A classic 80s arcade game. The goal is to get a frog to hop safely across a road and a river without getting squashed or dunked. You can play online.
  3. Kaeru: This Japanese word means both frog and return, leading to frog charms being carried for luck by travellers.
  4. The Frog Prince. A fairy tale about a princess prince-turned-frog-turned prince. It has some variations I’m less familiar with:

    Although in modern versions the transformation is invariably triggered by the princess kissing the frog, in the original Grimm version of the story, the frog’s spell was broken when the princess threw it against a wall in disgust.[1] In other early versions it was sufficient for the frog to spend the night on the princess’s pillow.

  5. The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher, a book by Beatrix Potter. Mr. Fisher is a frog who goes fishing for his meal, but after some mishaps, opts to dine on grasshopper.
  6. Frog and Toad. Characters from the series of books (including Frog and Toad are Friends) by Arnold Lobel. They are a frog and a toad. Who are friends.
  7. crane_frog4.jpg     beatrix_potter_jeremy_fisher_cover.jpg     frog_and_toad.jpg

  8. Kermit the Frog. The beloved Muppet, created by Jim Henson. The orginal version was made from a discarded coat and ping pong balls.
  9. Michigan J. Frog. The singing frog from the classic Warner Brother’s cartoon.
  10. Keroppi Hasunoue. A Sanrio character. (It’s not actually clear to me what he is a character of, beyond toys and other merchandising.)
  11. kermit28.gif     mjfrog3.gif      keroppi.jpg

  12. Froggy, a character in various books by Jonathan London, such as Froggy Gets Dressed
  13. magnolia.jpg

  14. The frog scene from the movie Magnolia (1999). It rains frogs. Really big frogs. It gets messy.
  15. Frog Went A-Courting. An English folk song.
  16. Five Little Speckled Frogs. A children’s count-down song:

    Five little speckled frogs,
    Sitting on a hollow log,
    Eating some most delicious bugs,
    Yum, Yum.
    One 1 frog jumped in the pool,
    Where it was nice and cool,
    Now there are four 4 speckled frogs,
    Glub, glub.

  17. A frog in one’s throat: an expression describing the gurgling and croaking⁴ that people sometimes get when talking with phlegm in the throat.
  18. Crunchy Frog: a Monty Python sketch about a chocolate confection with a dead frog center.

    We use only the finest baby frogs, dew-picked and flown from Iraq, cleansed in finest-quality spring water, lightly killed, and then sealed in a succulent Swiss quintuple smooth treble cream milk chocolate envelope and lovingly frosted with glucose.

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¹ Has anyone else noticed that this is perhaps an unfortunate year to choose for the inaugural year of Blog 365, where people commit to blogging daily for the whole year? But I see they have a planned day off for tomorrow.

² Because they leap.

³ We recently got a different Froggy book for Phoebe from a Scholastic catalog, namely Froggy Eats Out, and were a bit dismayed by the message of this particular one. In it, Froggy behaves like a brat and embarrasses his parents so badly at a nice restaurant that they must leave. They then reward him by going out to a burger joint, like Froggy had originally wanted.

⁴ Or irregular phonation. Which sounds less frog-like than croaking and gurgling.