1. TTE New Member

    We're analyzing the poem "Ma Bohême" by Arthur Rimbaud, and we don't understand the meaning of "Petit-Poucet rêveur, j'égrenais dans ma course". Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. carolineR

    carolineR Senior Member

    Indian Ocean
    Le Petit Poucet is a famous tale by Charles Perrault (see here).
    In short poor family menaced by famine decide to get rid of their children by losing them in the woods. The youngest child "Petit Poucet" understands what his parents are plotting. He collects stones and drops ("égrener" in French) them one after the other behind him to ascertain they'll find their way back home. If I remember well, the story ends well.
    Here, Rimbaud compares himself to the character in the tale. :)
  3. TTE New Member

    Thank you so much! That explains a lot!!!:)
  4. clodo Member

    Savona, B.C., Canada
    English, Canada
    Caroline! Merci pour cet lien. Qu'elle histoire fascinant--je vois que les contes fees de Hansel and Grettel, Tom Thumb and The Seven League Boots ont tous ete volees de Perreault!
  5. doodlebugger Senior Member

    Le Petit Poucet = Hop o' My Thumb


    Charles Perrault did not invent the tales, he merely put in writing popular tales told by peasants.
    He wrote his major book Contes de ma mère l'Oye (Mother Goose Tales) under his son's name because he didn't want to ruin his reputation as a serious writer!
    He took the credit later after the enormous success of the book.
  6. Parigigi Senior Member

    France, French
    How about in this sentence (soldiers trying to get to the enemy lines):
    Bon, disons au milieu. On va faire le petit poucet, au cas où si on se gourre …
    Ok, let’s go for the middle. We’ll do like Hop o’ My Thumb, in case we get lost…
    Using "do", is that right? And Hop o'?
  7. lisbeth.feldspar Senior Member

    American English
    "We'll make like Hop o' My Thumb..."

  8. Parigigi Senior Member

    France, French
    THanks Lisbeth. SO the translation is ok - Petit Poucet to Hop o' My Thumb?
  9. lisbeth.feldspar Senior Member

    American English
    Yep, perfect. If your concern is that anglophones will recognize the reference, you could change it to "Hansel and Gretel," since we all know that story (which also involves dropping crumbs to find one's way back through a wood), and I think "Hop o' My Thumb" is not as well known. But "Hop o' My Thumb" is absolutely correct.

  10. Parigigi Senior Member

    France, French
    Good idea. Thanks again.
  11. viera Senior Member

    Paris suburb
    I've never heard of Hop o' My Thumb, but I know about Tom Thumb.
  12. Recent_Runes Senior Member

    Sussex, England
    British English ♂
    I was interested to see that "Petit Poucet" can be applied to groups like small football clubs whereas in English we would only apply "Tom Thumb" to an individual person.

    Le "Petit Poucet" de la Coupe de France, Schirrhein, est toujours en course, après avoir éliminé Clermont (L2) samedi, et sera le premier club de 7e niveau à disputer les 16e de finale.....

    In English we usually call small clubs "minnows" (vairons) in a similar situation. The description "minnows of the competition" could be applied to more than one team, but I have the impression that "Petit Poucet" can only be given the smallest person (or team) in a particular group.

    Is this correct, or can there be more than one "Petit Poucet" in a group?

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