A Jonathan Swift poem? Norse mythology? A mistranslation from the Greek? Shoddy thatched roof craftsmanship? Where does the phrase “raining cats and dogs” come from anyway? (Part 2 of our 2-post investigation)
Sometime last year, The Five-Year-Old discovered the highly informative children’s book series “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That.” The books relay all kinds of fun facts about the natural world in a Seussian rhyme scheme. The lively presentation has convinced The Five-Year-Old that words that rhyme have some special connection, if only she can find it. Recently, my daughter realized that kitten rhymes with Britain. So naturally she wanted to know, “Mommyo, did kittens get their name in Britain?”
There’s nothing like seeing the lyrics of traditional holiday songs projected in giant letters on a screen in a school auditorium for making you realize just how weird they are. I mean, there I stood, trilling merrily about jingle bells and sleigh rides when all of a sudden I realized I had absolutely no idea what “bells on bobtails ring” even meant.