une histoire à dormir debout

Sainte Cécile (c) Kristin Espinasse
Potential pied-à-terre.... if only in one's dreams! Read on, in today's fictional foray.

une histoire à dormir debout

    : a tall tale

The origin of the term "une histoire à dormir debout" comes from Olden Times--from the early days of aviation when navigators, or nap-igators, needed to stay awake during a wearisome round-the-world voyage. In those days, each pilot was assigned his or her own storyteller, whose job it was to keep the would-be slumberer conscious, this, via a phantasmagoric fictional account designed to do for a snoozer what caffeine (Starbucks was not yet invented) could not. Those storytellers who failed in their mission were not executed outright, but went down, vraisemblablement, with the pilot and the doomed vessel, er... aircraft.

(For another tall tale, read on, in today's story column.)

French christmas music French Christmas Music: "Mon Beau Sapin", "Saint Nuit", "La Marche des Rois", "Petite Ville Bethléem", "Il est né Le Divin Enfant". Order CD here. 

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

"A Tall Tale in under 199 words"

How is it, it recently occurred to me, that I have never mentioned that we live in a tree?

Mais évidemment! Of all the yellow-bellied yarns about life on a grape farm, I have left out the most original fact: where it is we live—and in an arbre at that!

Fallen acorns at my feet, I stand beneath our towering oak tree, shaking my head tsk-tskedly. I've said so much but of all I've said... not a mention of our tree or of the tree life we have led!

I stare up at our teetering house, perched high on the tree's limbs and spread throughout. I gaze at our front door (part of a trunk—one that's been cored!). I am wondering about forgetfulness... the older I get and the thoughts are more but the memory is less. Oh, it's not such a bad thing. For in the absence of recall I might spin a story, however short, however tall.

 :: Comments Box ::
Talk about today's word or stories here, in the comments box.


Belgium flyer Meet Jean-Marc... in Belgium, December 10th, 11th, and 12th!  He'll be at the Salon des Vins et Métiers de Bouche(Centre Sportif de Soumagne, Tel 04 377 98 11)


French Vocabulary

le pied-à-terre = second residence

vraisemblablement = most likely

Mais évidemment = Why, yes! (why hasn't it occurred to me!)

un arbre = tree



A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation of any amount.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens