Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The Tortoise and the Hare - Bilingual edition! Order here.
le lièvre (lee evr) noun, masculine
synonym: le bouquin = buck rabbit
Terms & Expressions:
un bec-de-lièvre = hare lip
C'est là que gît le lièvre = that's the crucial point
lever/soulever un lièvre = to hit on a problem
chasser deux/plusieurs lièvres à la fois = to attempt to do two/several things at once
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Aunt Marie-François stopped by yesterday, on her way home from work. "Viens voir ce que j'ai dans la voiture," ("come see what I have in my car,") she said.
I followed my belle-tante out to the vines beside which her voiturette was parked. I watched as she opened the passenger-side door, then reached into the car and carefully pulled out her wicker panier. Inside there was a smaller basket lined with cotton. And there, in the center, was a nouveau-né.
"Do you know what it is?" She, already knowing the answer, quizzed me. My guess was a cochonnet, given the shape of its face and its round ear.
"Aha! Mais..." my aunt said, gently turning the newborn to its side. And there I saw an elongated ear....
"C'est un bébé lièvre!"
"The maman must have bitten off the other ear while cleaning off the placenta," Marie-François guessed.
She told me the story of how Uncle Jean-Claude found the abandoned newborn in the vines, while prepping for the harvest over in Chateauneuf du Pape.
Aunt Marie-Françoise and I stared at the little rescapé who, she tells me, is drinking pharmaceutical cat formula (with the help of a pipette) every two hours. "If it's good enough for cats," Marie-François reasoned, "it's good enough for him."
"What will you call the orphan?" I asked, suppressing the urge to tickle its fuzzy chin or to so much as touch the weak infant.
"I haven't thought of a name," she admitted. I guessed this had something to do with the delicate state of its health. Would the little lièvre survive?
"Why not call him Pierre?" I offered, thinking of the plucky Peter Rabbit.
My aunt giggled, softly. This little one would indeed need pluck... along with oodles of luck!
"It's true that we found him in a pierraille..." she considered. "We could call him Pierrot!"
"That's it, Pee err oh!" I seconded, sounding the soft nom de guerre. May he be a fighter!
My aunt looked doubtful and her eyes turned tender as tears.
"On verra...." said she, setting Pierrot down in his basket, ever so quietly.
Le Coin Commentaires
Questions, corrections, and comments are most welcome! Thank you for leaving a message here, in the comments box.
la belle-tante = aunt-in-law
la voiturette = little car
le panier = basket
le/la nouveau-né(e) = newborn
le cochonnet = piglet
c'est un bébé lièvre = it's a baby hare
la maman = mother
le/la rescapé(e) = survivor
une pierraille = place, yard with loose stones
nom de guerre = literally "war name"
on verra = we shall see
French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student.
A French standby. Strong, durable, all Emile Henry cookware can be taken directly from the freezer to the hot oven, can go under a broiler and in the microwave; freezer and dishwasher safe. The natural clay is unsurpassed for conducting and retaining heat.
In books: I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany
Exercises in French Phonics is...
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"useful and practical"
"high quality material, good value for your money" --from Amazon customer reviews. Order your copy here.
Cat curtains. Photo taken in Tulette, while strolling through the village with my friend (and newbie harvester) Sandy.
In French film: Le lièvre de Vatanen
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I agree! May Pierrot be a a fighter!
Posted by: Samantha Verant | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 11:04 AM
Sending prayers for petit Pierrot.
Posted by: mary | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 01:21 PM
Vive la Pierrot! Thanks, Kristin, for this sweet story et merci a tante Marie-Francoise for her loving care of this abandoned nouveau-ne.
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 01:28 PM
Hi Kristin ...
Perhaps Pierrot with a vets help can regenerate the ear using a week long or more regime of daily debridement of the wound and application of MatriStem wound powder as described recently in this CNN article about a California woman who regrew the tip of her severed pinky finger !
Bon courage !
Posted by: Susan from Oregon now living in Paris | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 01:35 PM
Please keep us posted on Pierrot's progress.
Kisses to Marie-Francoise for rescuing, adopting & nursing le petit.
Posted by: Rive | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 01:43 PM
What a sweet story! I want to know what happens to Pierrot. Milles excuses - about the English from a literacy specialist who was raised by a tyrant with respect to grammar.
There is an error inn the sentence, "the mother must have bit off his ear." Have demands the past participle, bitten. It should read, "The mother must have bitten off his ear." Again je vous demande pardon mais l'omission du participe passé, c'est comme les bouts des doigts sur le tableau.
Posted by: Ginny McCann | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 01:47 PM
Oh gosh. This is very sweet and he is adorable. I hope he does well. But: It is important to know that he may not have been abandoned. Mama rabbits are not with their babies 24-7; instead they bed them down in little hidden nests, so predators don't find them, and return periodically during the day/night. I've seen this on our own meadow. It's possible that's what your uncle found...
Posted by: Maryn | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 01:50 PM
What a sweet face and nose he has.... The Espinasse family certainly has a softness in their hearts for wounded creatures.
Do keep us posted on Pierrot's progress.
Posted by: Ophelia in Nashville | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 02:14 PM
Kristin, What a wonderful post to wake up to this morning. Good luck to your belle tante! I hope Pierrot lives up to his name. I raised a little cotton tail rabbit that I rescued from a cat. I named her Beatrix (of Potter fame). Cat milk, a wee baby bottle from the pet supply, and a rabbit fur lined slipper for a bed did the trick. I had her for two years.
Keep us posted.
Margaret (busy making lists to ready for our trip to see you after the harvest!)
P.S. Thank for the link to Sandy's blog.
Posted by: Margaret Dennis | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 02:39 PM
Those two little feet in their Superman pose!
Posted by: Roseann | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 03:03 PM
This summer, for the very first time in my life, I found a nest of baby rabbits. They were under the sod in my yard. I had no idea that they did this! I left them alone for a day and when I came back they had all passed away. :-(
Knowing that they don't survive long in this world - even at maturity - I think this petit Pierrot has found his luck with this pluck.
Posted by: Karen W (Towson, Maryland) | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 03:09 PM
I love animals specially the young ones.They are so delicate and beautiful.The pictures are really cute and my mum and dad enjoyed them and the story.
You are really good to take in the poor little creature. He's lucky to be with you. You are so kind.
Posted by: Alisha | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 03:23 PM
LOVE the video!
Posted by: Margaret Dennis | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 04:25 PM
Today’s blog reminded me of the Frenchman that kept rabbits in a hutch back of Notre Dame
Posted by: Herm in Phoenix, Az | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 04:34 PM
Thanks, Margaret. The video was added after I posted the newsletter. For those who missed it:
(go to end of post): http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/motdujour/2010/09/lievre.html
Alisha, thanks for sharing this one with your mum and dad! The little lièvre is in good hands: staying with Marie-Françoise
Karen, that must have been awful for you. So sorry!
Roseann: "superman pose" = :-)
Maryn: good point. Marie-Françoise explained that this baby should normally be under the earth... but was found above ground. Perhaps this is why Uncle JC brought it to her.
Ginny, many thanks for the correction. I've changed it to "bitten".
Susan, thanks for the info and link! Will need to check it out.
Posted by: Kristin | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 04:45 PM
Cheers and blessings to the one who saved little Pierrot! May he live long and strong even though he has had a hard beginning. Your kindness will provide his best chance for life. On another note, through the "Exercise in French Phonics", I have just discovered this morning why my name is pronounced with a silent "d" at the end. Thank you! I enjoy your site so much.
Posted by: D. Burleaud | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 05:08 PM
Ohh!! How wonderful! Who better to find and make room in her heart for little Pierrot! We here have been adopted by a tiny gray kitten that will be going home with my oldest son very soon-they need each other very much.
Beautiful day to you!
Posted by: Missy | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 05:13 PM
"...eyes turned tender as tears" - pure poetry that captures so well our feelings when we try to save these little creatures that may or may not survive. Thank you for sharing a beautiful and bittersweet moment, Kristin.
Posted by: Ellen | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 05:28 PM
Love the story, he is the cutest lievre ever; I finally got your book yesterday, I looked for it locally and couldn't find it, I had to buy it from NJ, I waited and waited and waited for over a week to be shipped (from NJ to Utah)I LOVE IT! Thank you for being such a great inspiration for me and for sharing your french life with the world, I can't wait to get your second book, I will give it to my friends (and to myself of course)for Christmas. God Bless.
Posted by: Ido | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 05:29 PM
Quelle belle histoire!
Posted by: Michael Armstrong | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 05:36 PM
Lovely post. And Bonne Chance a Pierrot. Keep us updated.
Posted by: Christine in Salt Lake City | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 06:24 PM
Thank you and Marie-Francoise so much for rescuing little Pierrot. I was sorry to hear about his ear, but if he has to, he can manage with one. Max and Jackie and all will have a new friend to play with when Pierrot gets older.
Do you know of any way to order the film that was on the video clip, "Le Lievre de Vatanan?" Not only would it be good practice to watch it in French, it looks to be a good story, as well.
Bonne chance, Pierrot!
Posted by: Marianne Rankin | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 07:21 PM
Gosh, why doesn't anyone think to consult someone who knows something about wildlife! Nearly all animals and birds "rescued" are merely given a death sentence. Do a Google search at the least, belle-tant, before kidnapping a youngster! Here's a tidbit from Alberta Wildlife, and surely there's info to be found for French wildlife species too:
"Hares (jackrabbits, snowshoe hares)
What you should know:"
"Young hares are easy to catch and appear helpless
Precocial at birth – fully furred, eyes open and able to hop
"Mother hares’ natural behavior is to leave the young alone for most of the day, so her scent will not attract predators
Mother hares nurse their young only at dawn and dusk
"What you should do:
"If you find a young hare that is not obviously injured, leave it alone and do not handle it
"If you find a hare in a dangerous place (parking lot, road) try to steer it, without handling it, to a safer location less than 150 m. from where it was found.
"If a dog or cat finds the hare, remove the pet, not the hare. "
That explains the first mistake. The second major mistake is to assume that what's good for one species (a domestic cat, for godsake, is good for another, a wild hare). Please, please get professional help from someone who has more info than a Peter Rabbit book! Sorry, but "storybook" and "poetry" don't make up for pure ignorance, which for wildlife usually results in a life never lived.
Sorry, but I've seen too many critters die because of well-meaning individuals who don't seem to realize that all species are different and have different nutritional needs and strategies to survive. What looks "wrong" to us is most of the time merely "different."
That said, I love learning about French and life in France. Thanks for the posts.
Posted by: Pam Peterson | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 07:55 PM
Bonjour Kristin - just found your blog - am giggling my way through your book right now.
Posted by: Valerie | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 09:04 PM
Sadly Pam is right about the frailty of "wild" animals. However, it sure seems like nobody has ever kept a garden or raised flowers or even tried to keep a green lawn. Hares are not our friends! They are (stop here if you are too sensitive!)- pests. However, I certainly appreciate a rabbit stew.
Posted by: Ron Cann | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 10:29 PM
Ah, le joli Pierrot! How fortunate that he fell into the hands of your belle tante and not into the hands of some of your readers! :)
Posted by: Candy in SW KS | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 11:35 PM
Kristin - I am sorry to see the post attracted some responses we don't usually see on your blog.
I am not sure how the "viagra online" post ended up here but it does not seem the appropriate forum.
As for the negative posts about the hare, I am not sure if these posters are aware of wildlife rescue organizations. Sometimes there are cases of a baby being abandoned for various reasons and intervention is needed or you decide to let nature take its course. I have rescued as saved wildlife or turned the critters over to an organization. When I rescued a cotton tail rabbit, I was told by my local organization that they had never been as successful as I was and they tried to recruit me for the team. I turned it down since is it 24 hour a day work and I couldn't take the heartache of cases with not so happy endings. The cat milk treatment is the correct one in this case. I found one rabbit that was so tiny I didn't know if it was a rabbit or a squirrel. I fed it drops of pedialite and kept it warm over night and turned it over to the professionals the next moring. I was told I did the absolute right thing and saved its life and they took it from there. There are more success stories from my end but I will leave it there.
As for the rabbits as pest post, I can only say that yes, this might be the case for some but not all. I haven't heard of hares taking over Provence lately. In my case, I made a decision to either plant things that did not attract the lone rabbit that visits my garden or share it with her. I chose the later rather that getting out a stew recipe! Seems like your readers were not in a good mood today.
Posted by: Margaret Dennis | Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 12:30 PM
I do share your comments about the viagra online response, (not necessarily generated by a reader!). I'm sure as soon Kristin notices the post she will eliminate it (and will also delete our remarks about it). I remember a case along the same line but with a rather rude language, totally out of context with her newsletter. So, let's hope Kristin will soon interfere.
Thank you for eliminating the undesirable post that had nothing to do with FWAD!
I am aware of the fact hares can be a pest, invading some areas and causing damage. Some are getting killed as "gibier" - this being considered as a natural elimination and balance of the hare population.
I am also aware of the fact people with a good heart might do the wrong thing in rescuing an animal in distress (thinking of the wrong things many people do here, with hedgehogs for ex!)
Anyway, I fully trust Aunt Marie-Françoise's 'know-how'. In this particular story, I was absolutely sure she'd follow not only her instinct, but her knowledge and experience. I am 100% confident her heart and her head will do whatever is right for "le rescapé" - and if necessary, she will, no doubt, seek advice from the right sources and experts.
The idea of giving a name to "le levraut" is fun (by the way, a young hare is "un levraut" in French). Well, bearing in mind a rabbit is often called "Jeannot Lapin", it sounds perfect for its cousin, our cute "levraut", to be called "Pierrot"!
Saying that, I must admit I would prefer the idea Pierrot doesn't become a pet. Hopefully it will survive and will become stronger. I think when the time is right, it should, with great care, be released in the wild, where it belongs. Surely, vets and rescue organisation can be consulted and give the right advice.
Mille mercis to Oncle Jean-Claude who spotted Baby Hare and took immediate action to rescue it.
Tante Marie-Françoise - don't know why the final "e" got missing three times... must be the mistral playing its blowing game! - "quel grand plaisir de vous rencontrer à nouveau".
I remember your "Lettres de ma terrasse", your description of "le tablier" worn by French women two or three generations ago ... and your crafty ways to transform some "tiges de lavande & rubans" into charming "fusettes de lavande".
Bonne chance avec "Pierrot le levraut" et mille mercis!
Posted by: Newforest | Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 03:52 PM
Thank you Newforest. You have expressed my thoughts in such an elegant manner.
Posted by: Margaret | Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 07:43 PM
Well, I have learned my lesson. I will see rabbits and hares in a new light.
Let's end by asking two respected members of FWAD what they think about cute little bunnies:
Braise: "I love them!"
Smokey: "Yep, me too!"
Posted by: Ron Cann | Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 08:21 PM
Thank you, Pam, for explaining so clearly your point of view which I'll pass on to Aunt Marie-Francoise. The little hare is in her hands and she will take all the necessary care and advice.
Merci to Newforest for giving us the French word "levraut" (young hare)! I like the idea of its return to Mother nature.
Thank you, to all who participate in this comments section. I regret not answering all the questions or responding to certain comments (especially this, harvest, time of year). It cheers me to see the interaction here, the helpful responses to the questions that pop up, and the contagious camaraderie.
Ron, your latest note brought a chuckle! And it's a wonderful example of keeping an open mind, or, as you say, "seeing things in a new light".
Cheers to all.
Posted by: Kristin | Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 02:56 PM
Has Pierrot survived?
Posted by: Trish | Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 11:50 PM