Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Little Cow that Flew Away

Hanging clothes out to dry is part of Russian life. Recently, I hung a cotton blanket on the clothesline outside my balcony. When I returned later check on it , I was surprised to see a little cow clinging to the blanket. It fluttered away before I had a chance to run for my camera but fortunately, another little cow, this one magnetic, volunteered to stand in.

Oh, silly me. I failed to mention that the Russian term for lady bug, *Божья коровка,* is literally translated sweet, little cow of God. Really, it is. Can you imagine such a name for a ladybug? Calling a ladybug a cow, not to mention a cow associated with divinity.

But then again, Russian folk have laughed when I've told them that in English, ladybug is literally, woman's insect. So whether you see the spotted beetle is a little cow or a woman's insect, it sure is cute. Say, did you happen to notice ladybugs in the headlines last week? Apparently they're an environmentally friendly way to control insect pests. Now that's not only lady-like, it's also divine.


Kyle & Svet Keeton said...

Hi Eileen,

Thank you for very interesting article. I always wanted to know too: Why this beautiful bug has a such strange name. And just now I found out this.

This bug's name "God's little Cow".
God's that is like we would tell God's man (Божий человек) about someone - that means this person is absolutely harmless and trusting.

Cow - that is another story.
This bug legs' joints provide orange droplets of liquid-milk when he meets even slight danger.

Here is a Russian article what I read.

Best wishes,
Svet and Kyle

Karen L. Alaniz said...

My son asked me one time how we know that a lady bug is really a lady and not a man. Answer that one! But "little cow of god"? That's even harder to explain. ~Karen