comment faire

une morsure

Antique shop front in Salernes (c) Kristin Espinasse

A butter and cheese shop in the village of Salernes. Would this be a good photo for a book cover? If so, what might the book title be? Leave your answer here, in the comments box.

Chief Grape's USA wine tour will have him in the Washington DC area on 03/10, 03/11 and 03/12 and in Madison WI on 03/14. Click here to see all the cities Chief Grape will be visiting


une morsure (mor-sewr)

    : bite

une morsure d'araignée, de serpent  = spider bite,  snake bite
une morsure de chien = dog bite 
morsure du vent, du froid = biting wind, frost

Audio File: (Oh, man, here we go again. Not a Francophone in the house to record today's example sentence. I'll give it my best... but listen at your own péril! Update: I tried, but could not do it! My American accent drowned out the French words! Waiting for Max to return from driver's school. He have to do the recording this time!)

Example Sentence:
Une morsure est une blessure faite par la bouche d'un animal, incluant les humains.
A bite is a wound made by the mouth of an animal, including humans. --Wikipedia

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Un Mystère

Smokey made it  home first. Shivering and wet, he hopped from paw to paw until I took the hint and brought him a big bowl of croquettes.  After the two day escapade, he was affamé!

Braise arrived next. Only, as she bounded up to the back porch I noticed her head was covered in blood. Given her energetic arrival, I did not panic, but carefully parted her fur, looking for the wound.  

In addition to the tear along her ear (which must have flopped over onto her head, soaking it in sang), there were four gaping holes in her side! 

"C'est curieux," the vet commented, after we arrived at the clinic. "Normally, if this were une morsure the wound would not be so clear cut...."

I studied at the punctures in Braise's side, and wondered what--or who--could have gotten to her? My stomach weakened at the thought: Could a human have done this?

Impossible! No, she must have run into something sharp. A set of fire-stokers, par hasard? A barbed-wire fence? No, the hooked metal would have pulled at the skin. These wounds were too neat, like holes made by a tiny cookie cutter. 

The mystery was troubling, and I watched, in a state of half-attention, as the vet took care of Braise.

When the vet pushed an aiguille into Braise's front leg, I saw the patient's furry jambes slide out from beneath her until she was lying like a mop, completely anesthetized.

The petit doctor picked up our 30 kilo dog who, when lifted, all but eclipsed the vet in size. "Puis-je vous aider?" I reached for Braise's legs, but it was too late, the vet heaved her up onto the operating table. "J'ai l'habitude," she explained.
Standing beside the table, I caressed our dog. Reaching over to lift her paupières, I saw only the whites of Braise's eyes, which had rolled back. I wondered if she could sense my presence and if it comforted her?

"Vous n'êtes pas obligée de rester," the vet said. I looked over at her hands which were wet with blood. My eyes blurred at the sight of needle, thread, and dog ear.

"Oh... ça va. Je reste." It occurred to me that my presence might be a distraction, but it seemed too late to back out now. Braise had just heaved a gentle sigh. Maybe she wasn't so far away after all... perhaps close enough to be comforted?

With one hand on our dog, I gripped the table with the other. It was only a precaution... in case this new-found nonchalance dissolved into waves of queasiness... and landed me on the floor, supine as our canine! 

When the 45-minute operation was over (I lasted 10 minutes, only to end up chatting with a testy boxer dog in the waiting room), the doctor wrapped Braise's fury torso in one great bandage. 

I couldn't help wondering about those wounds, but the vet put my thoughts to rest by concentrating on the positive: "Braise was lucky. The attack could have been at a more critical place--like the throat."

(Oh, the thought of it!) 

"By the way, what about the other dog?" The vet inquired.

"Oh... Smokey... he is fine. I just hope he tried to help his mother during the attack!"

The vet studied Braise, thoughtfully. "Or maybe it was the mother who was defending the son?"

Of course! Chances are it was Braise who was looking out for Smokey. It wouldn't be the first time she saved his life.


French Vocabulary

une croquette = kibble (dry dog or cat food)

affamé = starving

le sang = blood (learn the expression "bon sang" + a dashing photo of Jean-Marc)

c'est curieux = that's strange

une morsure = bite

 par hasard = by coincidence

une aiguille = needle (learn a ton of "needle" or "aiguille" expressions, here!)

une jambe = leg

puis-je vous aider? = can I help you?

j'ai l'habitude = I'm used to it

une paupière = eyelid

vous n'êtes pas obligée de rester = you aren't expected to stay 

ça va. Je reste = it's okay. I'll stay



           "Mother Love". Photo of Braise and Smokey, taken two years ago. 

Le Coin Commentaires

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 golden retriever and French antiques keys

The next day I took Braise's son Smokey to the vet's... 

For the record, trying to keep a dog occupied in the doctor's (vet's) waiting room, is just as challenging as trying to keep a couple of toddlers occupied in the doctor's waiting room. The kids are grown up now, but I have a feeling that Smokey will never lose his need for one's full attention. And seriously, Smokey, how many times can one play Pat-a-cake? (Pardon me, I meant Paw-a-cake.)

Here's a French version of the game, one that Smokey particularly likes to play (keeps him busy during entire waiting room visits).


(sorry, the video is a bit dark. I found it on YouTube.)

Lyrics in French/English: Tape Tape, Petites Mains

Tape tape petites mains
Clap, clap little hands

tourne tourne joli moulin
turn, turn, pretty mill

nage nage gentil poisson
swim, swim, nice fish
vole vole papillon
fly, fly butterfly

Youpi! (Oui!)


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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety