la peau du loup? Rien n'y fait?

jrundin

Senior Member
USA, English
I just read an article from "Le Monde" hebdomadaire. The article was about wolves in the Alps that have escaped from game wardens' observation and now, in some people's view, threaten livestock. The article begins with a few puzzling sentences:

"Paris exige la peau du loup. Mais le loup n'y est pas. Rien n'y fait."

Here are my questions. Is the first sentence, "Paris demands the wolf's skin," a reference to some French saying or folklore with which I am not familiar? And what on earth does "Rien n'y fait" mean?
--John
p.s.: the article is available at
http://www.lemonde.fr/cgi-bin/ACHAT...CHIVES&type_item=ART_ARCH_30J&objet_id=873430
 
  • Dothy

    Member
    France
    jrundin said:
    "Paris demands the wolf's skin," a reference to some French saying or folklore with which I am not familiar? And what on earth does "Rien n'y fait" mean?

    Yes, it most probably comes from the Middle Ages when wolves threatened humans and stock during periods of long food shortages leading men to hunt the animal and bring its skin as a trophy. There are a lot of legends attached to wolf. Usually it represents a huge threat, a death threat.
    And still today, even if, in most cases sheep attacks, it hasn't been proved wolves were responsible, men continue to see the species as a major threat (despite its really low number).

    "vouloir la peau de quelqu'un" means to "seek somebody's destruction".

    "Mais le loup n'y est pas" comes from a folklore song

    "Prom'nons nous dans les bois
    Pendant que le loup n'y est pas!
    Si le loup y'était, il nous mangerait
    Comme il n'y est pas, il nous mang'ra pas!"
    to continue...

    (I can't remember all the lyrics, but I found them on http://perso.club-internet.fr/bmarcore/Tine/E311.html)

    "rien n'y fait" means whatever you may have tried, you haven't succeeded.

    Hope this help,
    Do.
     

    jrundin

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Thanks, Dothy, that did help.

    As a sidenote, the day after that story was posted in "Le Monde" (22 October, I think), a female wolf was shot to death, as I just discovered. Quel domage! I find any wolf that survives in Western Europe (or the continental United States, for that matter) to be a particulalry heroic being.

    The victim was 18 months old. She had never had cubs (louveteaux! now that's a great word!)

    That story is available at

    http://www.lemonde.fr/cgi-bin/ACHAT...CHIVES&type_item=ART_ARCH_30J&objet_id=873572
     
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