Friday, March 8, 2013

Frolicking with a flat-iron

I have a good friend who grew up in rural Maine.  When she was a young girl life was hard.

Kids today may complain, but they have no clue as to what real hardship is.    

When Betty was a girl there was no television and shoes were a luxury.  She didn’t have dolls and she didn’t have a lot to eat and she didn’t complain about it. 

She once told me a story about how she and her brothers rode one of their pigs for fun.  They rode that poor pig to death, literally. 

That was life and it was what it was.

Don’t get me wrong, Betty had a toy.  A toy.  It was flat iron . . . attached to a string.  I kid you not!  She loved that iron and she dragged Lucivil everywhere she went. 

That’s what she named her pet iron – Lucivil; funny name for a little kid to name a toy. 

As she tells it, there was a stray cat that hung around their home for a while.  Betty’s father told her and her brothers they had better not let that cat in the house because it was a lucivee.    

Okay, so what the heck is a lucivee?

According to early folklorists, Lucivee (or Lusifee) is a malicious wildcat spirit of the Wabanaki.    However, in Indian lore the creature is called Lox (Luks).   Lox shares the characteristic of Lucivee but takes the form of a wolverine and not a cat.  The confusion for may be that lynx, a wild cat, sounds similar to Lox/Luks and the French-Canadian word for lynx, is loup-cervier which sounds similar to Lucivee.   

I can’t imagine why little Betty would have adopted the name of an evil native American animal spirit for her pet flat iron.  Perhaps, she wanted that poor feral cat so badly, she pretended that the flat iron was the kitty.  I don't know.

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