(472) word: hobbyhorse [英単語]

1. toy horse on which a child rocks.
2. topic one constantly talks about.
----Merrian Webster

---RIQ(Free newspaper) なーるほど英会話

But there were spiderwebs on the dolls and the hoop, and the hobbyhorse, because there was no one there to use them.
---from picture book “The donkey prince”
hobbyhorse web小.jpg
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(471) word : mistletoe [英単語]

Word: Mistletoe

mistletoe matsuyama3.jpg
pic. mistletoe matsuyama3

Word: mistletoe [mísltòʊ|‐t`əʊ]

1. Noun. Any of several parasitic evergreen plants with white berries that grow in the crowns of oaks, apple trees and other trees. 

2. Noun. A sprig of these plants used as a Christmas decoration.

parasitic: Drawing upon another organism for sustenance.
crowns: The upper branches and leaves of a tree or other plant.

Pic. mistletoe1

It is traditional to kiss under the mistletoe.

This tradition comes from a Norse legend.

mistletoe kiss.jpg
pic. mistletoe kiss

What is the story behind it?

Mistletoe’s mystical properties stem back from the Celts and Norse people who believed there was something mystical about it as it stayed green in winter even when the tree has
lost its leaves.
Celts: A member of a European people who once occupied Britain and Spain and Gaul prior to Roman times.
Norse: An inhabitant of Scandinavia.

mistletoe matsuyama2.jpg
Pic. Mistletoe matsuyama2

It was also believed to bring luck in Medieval times.

One Norse tale explains its links to romance and love (and kissing).

Balder, son of the goddess Frigga, was killed by an evil spirit with an arrow made of mistletoe.


Frigga was so distraught that her tears turned to white berries, coating the plant and symbolizing her love for him.
Frigga was so overjoyed that she blessed the plant and promised a kiss to all who passed beneath it from that day onwards.

This turned into a tradition in ancient times when visitors would kiss the hand of a host under the mistletoe when they arrived as a way of honouring the Norse legend.

distraught: Deeply agitated especially from emotion. 

Since then, the tradition has evolved to the custom we all know.
In England, the custom of kissing under the mistletoe is referred to in late 18th century England.
mistletoe matsuyama4.jpg
pic. mistletoe matsuyama4


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(470) Nonsense with birds [詩歌]

Nonsense with birds

今年は酉年なので、鳥が出てくるナンセンス・ポエムをEdward LearBook of Nonsenseから選んだ。

Owl , hen雌鶏, lark雲雀, wren, raven,

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!---
   Two Owls and a Hen,
   Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”

lark: 雲雀(ひばり) songbirds
wren: 鷦 ミソサザイ small active
brown bird
pic. EL001

There was an Old Man of Whitehaven,
Who danced a quadrille with a Raven;
    But they said, “It’s absurd,
    To encourage this bird!”
So they smashed that Old Man of Whitehaven.

Whitehaven: Cumbria County, North, England
quadrill: 18-19世紀に流行した、4組の男女のダンスで、スクエア・ダンスの先駆けになったもの
raven: 鴉 Large black bird with a straight bill and long wedge-shaped tail.
absurd: foolish
pic. EL074

There was an Old Man who said, “Hush!”
I perceive a young bird in this bush!”
  When they said, “Is it small?”
  He replied, “Not at all!
It is four times as big as the bush!”

hush: cause to be quiet or not talk.
perceive: to see, hear, or feel.
Pic. EL080

There was an Old Man with an Owl,
Who continued to bother and howl;
   He sat on a rail,
   And imbibed bitter ale,
Which refreshed that Old Man and his Owl.

howl: cry loudly, as of animals.
imbibe: .take in liquids
ale: an alcoholic beverage
pic. EL098

There was an Old Man on whose nose,
Most birds of the air could repose;
   but they all flew away,
   At the closing of day,
Which relieved that Old Man and his nose.

repose: lean in a comfortable resting position.


Pic. EL111

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