I’ve just uploaded this song to youtube – La jument de Michao is an interesting song – it is a traditional Breton song that originates from Vannes. I’v provided a translation below, for all the good it will do you – but I think it rocks.
It is supposed to be a parody of the Dies Irae – a part of the latin Mass, and as I say on the YouTube commentary there is probably a deep significance to the lyrics which have long been lost… if anyone can provide an insight I’d be very interested to hear it! I will add that the weasel is the official animal of Vannes and you will see it everywhere (wearing a cloak). This extract is from the Quimper-Vannes Blogspot: I hope they forgive me for copying it here:
The ermine (Mustela erminea) a.k.a. stoat or short-tailed weasel is the national emblem of Brittany.Its much sought after white winter coat was used for the cloaks, crowns and caps of the aristocracy.
The eleven ‘ermine spots’ which form the pattern in the top left corner of the Breton flag represent the way the black-tipped tails were hung on the white fur. This heraldic ermine canton was a feature of the arms of the Dukes of Brittany.
Breton flag with ermine canton
The story goes that Anne de Bretagne, the last independent Breton ruler and the wife of two successive French kings, saw a group of hunters chasing after an ermine. When the ermine reached the edge of a muddy lake the ermine decided to stand up to his attackers rather than risk soiling his beautiful white fur.
|ANNE DE BRETAGNE
Anne, it appears, was so impressed that she saved the ermine and adopted it as the emblem of her dynasty along with the motto:
Plutôt la mort que la souillure.
It is better to die than to get dirty.
end quote. Couldn’t have said it better myself. The ‘better to die’ bit in particular. Here are the lyrics:
In ten years time, I will go
I hear the wolf and fox singing.
I hear the wolf and the fox and the weasel singing
I hear the wolf and the fox singing
In nine years time I will go
Michao’s Mare has gone into the meadow
Michao’s mare and her little foal have gone into the meadow
and eaten all the hay. (repeat)
Winter is coming lads, winter is coming – Michao’s mare will regret it…
So, there we have it. Better now? Great song though.
I hear the