Saturday, April 14, 2007

Köttur ættleiddi mús: A Mammalian Mystery

Every once in a while I check an Icelandic newspaper’s site, just to see if I can understand the headlines. Unless it’s something like “Bush Visits Camp David”, I’m usually in way over my head, especially since I’ve been lax in my Germanic language studies lately now that I work next door to my apartment and have no commute. I now realize that before we moved here, I did most of my linguistics reading on the tram. No commute equals no book-learnin’. I is dumb and they be stealin’ my bucket.

So anyway, on the Icelandic news site I saw the headline “Köttur ættleiddi mús”. I figured that here was a nut I could crack. CAT SOMETHING MOUSE. How hard could it be? My first clue that this was not going to be easy was that it mentioned its source as the kínverska eftirmiðdagsblaðinu Yanzhao. That I could decipher: Chinese evening newspaper Yanzhao. What on Earth would a Chinese evening newspaper have to report about a cat and a mouse that would be picked up by the Icelandic press? I tried to read the story, and gave up. I just didn’t know the crucial verbs about what the cat was doing to the mouse. My best guess, before giving up and searching for the English version of the story, was that the cat was afraid of the mouse.


The truth was far more terrifying.

And far, far sexier.

Turns out the cat loves the mouse, according to what I think is the English version of the same story.

On the morning of April 11, a woman surnamed Zhao said that the cat in the warehouse of her unit had caught a mouse outside and kept the mouse and her kittens together after her birth.

The cat was brought to the warehouse specifically in order to catch rats, as rats were very rampant in the warehouse. Just three days ago, the cat caught a grey mouse, but surprisingly, she didn't eat it, instead raising it with her kittens. Seeing this, a staff of the unit threw the mouse outside the warehouse, but the cat got the mouse back and put it in her net again.

What's more, the cat pays special attention to this small mouse. As long as the mouse is not within the scope of her vision, she will immediately stand up to look for it anxiously.

Experts say this cat's behavior is certainly a special case. They point out that many animals will present some changes in behavior and character during breastfeeding.

Well, I’ll be. There you have it. The most trivial, retarded newspaper story in history, with suspiciously anonymous pictures that may or may not have been staged after the fact by devious Chinese journalists, and I got suckered into it by a partially-deciphered Icelandic headline. And this hopefully ends my unbroken string of posts about cute animals. I don’t know what happened. I hate cute animals. Well, I don’t hate them all but I find the idea of blogging about them nauseating. And yet I keep writing posts about them, one crappy animal post after another. Hopefully this offensively cute story will be the digital enema that finally blasts the cute animal incrustations from the innermost twistings of my brain’s colon.


Örvar said...

If the title still doesn't make sense to you:

ættleiddi = adopted (ætt = clan + leiða = lead, ie. lead into ones clan)

albtraum said...


I'm not sure there's a cognate of "aett" in English or German, so I don't think I would ever have figured that out by guessing. Oh well. I guess I need to study more.