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I recently took this picture of a ladybird, and I wanted to share it with you. While trying to find something to say on the ladybird, I discovered that this insect was named bóín Dé in Irish, which means “God’s little cow”. In French, it is called “bête à bon Dieu” (“God’s animal”). I like the way the animal in one language is a little cow in another!

I’ve also come across this nice poem by Victor Hugo:

La Coccinelle

Elle me dit : Quelque chose 
Me tourmente. Et j’aperçus
Son cou de neige, et, dessus,
Un petit insecte rose.

J’aurais dû, -mais, sage ou fou,
À seize ans on est farouche, –
Voir le baiser sur sa bouche
Plus que l’insecte à son cou.

On eût dit un coquillage ;
Dos rose et taché de noir.
Les fauvettes pour nous voir
Se penchaient dans le feuillage.

Sa bouche fraîche était là ;
Je me courbais sur la belle,
Et je pris la coccinelle ;
Mais le baiser s’envola.

– Fils, apprends comme on me nomme,
Dit l’insecte du ciel bleu,
Les bêtes sont au bon Dieu,
Mais la bêtise est à l’homme.

And in English… (my own translation):

The Ladybird

 

And she told me: Something

Is bothering me. And I saw

Her snow-white neck, and, above it,

A little pink insect.

 

I should have, – but wise or mad,

At sixteen one is timid –

Seen the kiss on her mouth

More than the bug on her neck.

 

It looked like a shellfish;

Pink back dotted with black.

To see us, the warblers

Were leaning in the foliage.

 

Her fresh mouth was there;

I curved over the belle,

And I took the ladybird;

But the kiss flew away.

 

– Son, Learn how I am named,

Said the bug from the blue sky,

Animals belong to God,

But foolishness belongs to man.

  
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I reread ‘The Little Prince’ last night. Actually no, it was the first time I was reading the translation. My grandmother used to read this story to me when I was a kid and I reread it a few times when growing up. I happened to come across a copy of it in English a few weeks ago, and thought ‘why not, it’s been a long time I haven’t read it’. Although I try to avoid translations as much as possible, I still enjoyed the read.

It hasn’t lost any of its freshness and childish innocence. However, behind the light tale are serious concerns. ‘Le Petit Prince’ points to the absurdity of human life. It shows how by growing up as adults, we have lost sight of what’s really important in life. We have become too serious, individualistic, and are unable to reach true happiness. ‘Le Petit Prince’ warns us about the dangers of forgetting how to love with the heart rather than with the eyes, and reminds us how to give a sense to our lives. As the fox says:

“On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux” (“It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eyes”)

I think this book should be on every bookshelf, it is definitely a beautiful tale of love.

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