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ursulav

The Devil's Wife

As is usual, the day I pick to do some moving, it starts pouring rain. It's one of those downpours so intense that you can only drive at ten miles an hour, and when you finally get home, the fifteen feet from car to house leaves you drenched to the bone. About all you can do is resign yourself, get in the house, peel your soggy clothes off, and head straight into the shower. And then blog while you wait for the weather to clear.

However, for a brief period this morning, we experienced that Southern weather classic, where the sun is blazingly bright, behind a thin skin of cloud, and it's raining, so you can watch rain drops splatter the concrete in your own sharp-edged shadow. It's unsettling and weird, and the Southern colloquialism (albeit rather archaic now) for this weather is "The Devil's beating his wife."

James and I learned this awhile ago and have been using it with glee ever since, because it is So Damn Weird.

This morning, while bored and driving, I began pondering the theological ramifications. You never hear about the Devil's wife. Lilith, Adam's first wife, gets a lot of popular press, but one generally hears about Satan as a bachelor. Who's this battered spouse suffering untold indignities whenever it's sunny and raining?
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The linguist Bert Vaux once collected a bunch of names for this phenomenon; you can see the list at

http://www.sfs.nphil.uni-tuebingen.de/linguist/issues/9/9-1795.html#1

--Norvin Richards

hi - i'm here via metaquotes and had another weird variation to add to the fitcher's bird story. in one version i ran across (probably when i was very young), it isn't a mannequin the heroine leaves in the window but a life-size woman made of cake and filled with some sort of raspberry jam. her husband asks her to cook dinner for him and his guests or something of that nature and then gets angry because she doesn't respond (because she's made of cake). he slaps her, knocks her head off and raspberry jam goes everywhere. because his guests have now witnessed the "murder" of his wife first-hand, he gets lynched (or whatever the popular fairytale punishment is that day).

to this day, my mental version of the bluebeard story contains a woman made of cake. (of course, this may be something like the version of rumplestiltskin i read as a child where he turns out to be made of gingerbread at the end. i swear that's the way the story goes but i have yet to find anyone else who's heard that version.)

Apropos to nothing, but apparently you're the 28th most popular LJ user in terms of Google PageRank. Congrats!

Laugh! I love the retelling of the Devil's Wives story.

I'm sure the story about the self-absorbed woman could take off, but only on the premise that the door eventually does get opened. If not by the woman herself, then by her Bluebeard husband, or heck, maybe she has friends over and they want to poke around a bit.