Our dog, Braise, in all her French glory--and towering over her kingdom of Ste Cécile.

saigner (say-nyay) verb
   to bleed

Quand le lion saigne, les chacals reprennent courage.
When the lion bleeds, the jackals regain courage.


After searching for weeks, I found the first clue smack in the middle of the hallway. And I didn't have to look too far before another trace appeared. Then, true to the French saying "jamais deux sans trois"* I found the third splotch, this time in front of the fireplace, blazing red like spit ember.

To my relief, the little crimson spots disappeared beneath a shower of ammonia and a swipe of sopalin.* But in some areas the blood had fallen right into the grooves between the floor tiles, making it impossible to scrub out.

Armed with window cleaner and rolls of paper towels I remained on alert, ready to obliterate the next drop. But by day three our home was beginning to look like a Gallic crime scene. Of course this wasn't true, no signs of struggle were to be found, and you needn't worry about so many finger-pointing French flics* queuing at my front door, search warrant in hand. Mais, non! My only crime was in letting the blood shed. Disposable couches* would have come in handy.

"Try dog diapers!" friends suggested. I didn't even know that dogs menstruated, or estrated--make that "underwent estrus" (or is it oestrus?). Whatever. Dogs bleed! And diapers? Who knew? After all, who would have thought that dogs lost teeth like toddlers, snored like old women, hiccupped like barflies and--this latest revelation--paraded their PMS through the house as if to brag: I am woman hear me roar.

There'll be roaring alright. Indeed, the time has come to have a talk with my ten-month-old about the birds and the abeilles.* For our golden retriever, Braise, is no longer a puppy, but a pouty-lipped postmenstrual PUPPY MACHINE.

Puppies! Oh, no. No, no, no!  Too early for that. And, in view of all those suitors lining up at the front gate, howling and hungry for a one night stand, eyes pushing out like pinballs (va-va-voom!) we'll have to make this talk short and get right to the point. Braise will get the same thundering tirade that all
us Marcus women got. Not the Southern French Catholic side of our family, but the American Jack Mormon side (the generation preceding the waving, hands-in-the-air Born Again Christian side) and these women don't mince words. As great Grandma Audrey would say to Braise: You make your bed, hon, and you can just lie in it! This, mind you, is said more as a threat than as self-styled dictum.

And if Braise doesn't look white in the face like us Marcuses did, that's just because she didn't quite understand the threat (she's a French dog). So hear this, Mademoiselle Braise, and be forewarned: comme on fait son lit, on se couche!*

References: jamais deux sans trois = never two without three ("bad things come in threes"); le sopalin (m) = paper towel; le flic (m) = cop; la couche (f) = diaper, nappy; une abeille (f) = bee; Comme on fait son lit, on se couche! = As one makes one's bed, so one lies in it!

                        :: Audio File ::
Listen to my son, Max, pronounce today's word in the following quote: Download saigner.wav
Quand le lion saigne, les chacals reprennent courage.

Terms & Expressions:
  se saigner aux quatre veines = to pay through the nose
  saigner du nez = to refuse a challenge, to flinch
  saigner un fossé = to drain a ditch

Reverse dictionary: the English expression first, French equivalent second
  "with a bleeding heart" = le coeur navré de douleur
  "you bleeding liar!" = sacré menteur! (sacrée menteuse!)
  "my heart bleeds for you" = tu me fends le coeur

Verb Conjugation: saigner
je saigne, tu saignes, il/elle saigne, nous saignons, vous saignez, ils/elles saignent ; past participle = saigné

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