By Brian Freitag
You can blame this article on the very large black cat that sprawled across my keyboard (Mr. Poe) when I was trying to write on a recent rainy day. I started to think about cats and weather. Specifically, the phrase “raining cats and dogs.”
What do animals falling from the sky have to do with torrential downpours? Can you imagine anything more improbable than raining cats and dogs or, for that matter, more uncomfortable? Then again, why does a keyboard seem to be the ideal place for a catnap?
Some authorities tie the idea to Norse mythology. Thor, the Viking god of storms, was often pictured with dogs and wolves, symbols of wind. Witches, who supposedly rode their brooms during storms, had black cats, which became signs of heavy rain. Therefore, “raining cats and dogs” referred to a storm with wind (dogs) and heavy rain (cats).
The phrase actually originated from Tudor times in England. At that time, most people who weren’t wealthy land owners had to keep their animals in the house with the people. Domestic animals would often be put up in the rafters. Roofing at the time was simple thatch that dropped directly into the house so that at times of heavy downpour rain would fall through the thatch, and either flush or encourage the “pets” to return to ground level. Hence the phrase “raining cats and dogs”.
While the story sounds good, the expression didn’t become popular until the 1700s, when Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels) used it in a satire.
Tahquamenon Area School Public Library has a very rain-proof new roof (unthatched, as a matter of fact); and has plenty of options to enjoy on a rainy day as opposed to avoiding dodging airborne cats and dogs abroad in the great outdoors.
We recently received an abundance of new Best-Selling books from the New York Times Best Sellers List in a variety of genres just itching to be voraciously read. We have also received a variety of new Oscar-winning movies waiting to be taken home for a treasured viewing by you or your family.
Whether the rain threatens or not, the library welcomes you to drop by and enjoy what we have to offer; with no animals dropping in but for Daisy the Reading Dog on Thursday after 5 p.m. Daisy is a great companion reader for youth and adults! Take care and keep reading.