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Frappadingue - and our French-infused story

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If today's story is frappadingue, be reassured that all returns to normal in the next post. And if this photo has nothing to do with the story--and the example sentence is a bit strange--I have no excuses, frappadingue or otherwise!

TODAY'S WORD: frappadingue

    : crazy, wackadoo, wackadoodle, barking mad
    : moody

(Frappadingue comes from "frappé" and "dingue"--each meaning "crazy")

Didier est un vrai frappadingue de danse. Une passion dévorante, à tel point que l’agriculteur a demandé à ses prétendantes de faire quelques pas pour prouver qu’elles savaient bouger leur popotin, lors du speed dating. (from, L'Amour est dans le pré)

LISTEN HERE to the French sentence above

Didier is crazy about dancing. It's an all-consuming passion to the point that the farmer asked his wooers to do a few steps to prove they knew how to move their tushes, during speed dating.


Today's French word story was written using all the terms that readers sent in to this box. The paragraphs were composed according to the order in which the words were submitted. Thank you very much for your French word contributions, and for the chance to use them to write some fiction! Here now, is our final story....


This is the story of Plume, a two-ton hippopotame who was starved of life's most basic need, touch (la caresse). Neighbors pointed the finger of blame at Plume's only surviving parent, Olivia who, they say, spent her days watching Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.

Plume and Olivia lived in Toiser, named after the judgemental inhabitants who have the habit of looking outsiders up and down. When the Toisers caught hold of the mother hippos movie addiction, they deemed it choquant and sent in a social worker who hauled Olivia away. They did not bother to send an Interchangeable (the government's term for "surrogate mama hippo"). Therefore Plume, alone and désabusé,  clung to her only companion, a doudou (a little stuffed Hippo) named Ronronner whose snoring helped drown out, and so adoucir, Plume's fears. Olivia taught Plume that all fear came from the Loup-Garou. "Pay no attention to it!"Olivia cautioned her daughter. Focus on La Douceur--the force of softness, gentleness, and kindness

The Hippos of Toiser knew not this Love. They grabbed for échantillions of it at the quincaillerie, only to discard Love at the déchetterie (called DODU as it was plump with the city's rejects). Olivia and her daughter, the Toisers suspected, had an endless source of this foreign substance which, they guessed, came from Eolienne Field--so the mayor had all 7000 wind turbines destroyed, going as far as to have a notaire to draw up a legal contract forbidding windmills anywhere in Toiser and, by extension, the Agape (The Universe).

"C'est époustouflant!" Olivia told Plume (mother and daughter kept in touch via DORLOTER, a service similar to SMS--more than text, loved ones could emit cuddles--miettes that sustained Plume, who had never been starved of affection (as the Toisers insinuated) and who, thanks to Mama Hippo Olivia, knew the true meaning of Agape: more than the "The Universe," Agape was Love incarnate...)

"Love is sweet as ananas," Olivia murmured via DORLOTER to Plume and her little stuffed hippo, Ronronner, as they drifted off to sleep each night...

L'amour voyage

Love has no griffes, no claws
Love is l'intuition
Love is not malheureuse
Love knows not violence
Love looks over us, il nous surplombe
Love warms us like a good pair of pantoufles
Love refreshes us, like pamplemousses

Love is there when the sky darkens, au crépuscule
It's in a kinésintherapeute's hands, as he works
It appears in the strangest places, inattendu
It is as nourishing as a truckload of cacahuoètes
It is the source of la paix

Le truc, the thing about Love is:

You can't shut it up (tu ne peux pas fermez sa bouche!)
It won't crash or collapse (ça ne dégringole pas!)
It's truly a gift, un cadeau
Its longing--son envie--is for all to know Love

Love has no prickly points comme un chardon
It is one's true Petit Bijou
Love is une journée à la plage
C'est le sable qui effleure la peau pendant qu'on lézarde

Sand skimming over the skin while we bask in the sun

Hungry for love, some chase skirts (les coureurs de jupon...)
Others overeat--one hundred aubergines!
There are those who only ever flirter, or court love
Still others who are rendered crazy, folle in love's absense

But for those who want so much as to apercevoir Love
Who endeavor to see it from a panoramique viewpoint (un belvédère)
For a bird's eye view with les oiseaux, putting all bonne chance on their side...

They need only remove the thin tulle covering their vision
Quiet the lost monkeys--les ouistitis perdus--in their brains
Take a shovel to their hardened heart and let Love begin its enracinement....

"Jadis... Long ago..." Olivia whispered to Plume (for Ronronner, the littlest (stuffed) Hippo, had fallen asleep and was snoring softly), "when I met your father, mon coeur battait...." The Toisers accused me of mortal sin, l'Extase, said I was nothing but une coquine, and that I would be thrown into Le Machin-Chose where I would suffer until I reached le troisième age. That is how I ended up here, without electricity or l'eau courante. My cellmate, a jovial flâneuse, was arrested for growing roses called Cuisse de nymphe emue which she tossed into her yaourtière to make "Serrée" (a dessert that doubles as a thigh-thinner). 

"Tombeaux! Tombeaux!" Ronronner shouted. Plume's little stuffed hippo was having a nightmare--evoqué by DORLOTER which sent out "mind slaps" (instead of cuddles) when it sensed non-conformist conversation. 

"Mon Petit Chou," whispered Plume, "Mon petit ver de terre...hush..."

When Roni fell back to sleep, Olivia continued her story of life in prison: Le Robot patrols at night, when the corridors are lit by l'Etoile du Soir--the same star that's become, for Flâneuse and me, a great comforter, notre paraclet. And I am hopeful, once again, that I'll return home with you and Ronronner, to enjoy Les Parapluies de Cherbourg. Every time I see it, it reminds me of how I met your father, in the cinema's vestiaire! Your father can't remember the cloakroom, he says he was blinded by mes jambes! He called one Mouton and the other Bonbon! And I called him"L'Ecureuil...."


Roni was tossing and turning again, mumbling nonsense in his sleep."Il pleut, il pleut! Châpeau! Le chat voit tout, et ne communique pas c'est qu'il pense! LES BUTINS ARRIVENT. FAUT EPAISSIR LA POTION!"

Plume and Olivia identified Roni's first two groggy sentences as government-issued mind slaps. But the rest was an unmistakable message from from Shalimar--The Sacrificial Vessel. Her warning: The Butins (flying hippos) had been deployed, sent to inject. This is how Olivia's love, the father of Plume, disappeared--following an injection! And now the Butins were heading for Olivia....

Shalimar sent out her gatherers, delicate winged creatures called Les Savoir-Faires. They would use their claws to gather the antidote to these injections. The ingredients could be found back at the DECHETERRIE. "Regarding all those échantillons the Toisers has tossed onto the trash heap," Shalimar explained, "Love can never be thrown away!"

Meantime, The Savoir-Faires were circling over DODU, the dump, scouting out the precious échantillons. Each had a name and each was a vital ingredient in Shalimar's powerful essence....

Pamplemoussier! One of the Savoir-Faire's cried as it honed in and plucked up the first échantillon. The reclaiming continued... Caoutchouc! cried another of the Savoir-Faire's, rooting it up beside some broken glass. And the gathering continued...Terroir! Les Indices! Chouette!

This potion--this antidote--was none other than Love in all its components, the mysterieux names of which the Savoir-Faires cried out upon retrieval of each tossed, forgotten échantillon:

...brouillard! charm! polyvalente! substance! ruisseau! parapluie! insupportable! escabeau! submergé! barjo! tempête! nuages! le foin! mistral! arrête! brouillard! chatoyer! insolite!

As the winged creatures picked up the echantillons, Plume questioned the names--some of which seemed far from love!

"All these ingredients , the good with the bad, are incontournable--essential," Shalimar reassured, gently. "None are superflu, mon petit chou!" We're almost there! guimauves! féerique! douillet! vasistas! autrefois! pamplemousse! fauteuil!

Plume, Olivia, and Roni's eyes were wide watching the winged creatures fly over Shalimar, dropping into her mouth the échantillons which were englouti, gobbled up by The Sacred Vessel.

Ronronner giggled, "She's like a giant poubelle!"

"Roni!" Plume scolded.

"It's okay!" Olivia said. "Love is not easily offended!"

It was dusk, la crépuscule, when Shalimar was filled with the life-giving essence. Our dear Sacrificial Vessel was so full elle a zigzagué as she advanced down the path of Redemption, which was blood red for the color of the coquelicots that carpeted the way.

Dépassée by the time she reached L'Ecureuil, she could not hear his shout for joy: SAPERLIPOPETTE!!! FRAPPADINGUE!!!

Squirrel's enthousiasme ended when he caught sight of the sky. Tens of thousands of BUTINS were honing in on Shalimar! Their injections now dropping like darts over The Sacred Vessel!

As the darts struck her, Shalimar slowed, collapsing in the road of coquelicots. L'Ecureuil ran toward her and knelt beside her. 

Love flowed out through every hole in Shalimar's vessel, as tears flowed from L'Ecureuil's eyes. "Love is nourriture, the Bread of Life," she whispered.

"Shalimar! Stay! How will I make it back to Olivia and Plume?"

"Listen closely," Shalimar said, her last breaths touching him like a caresse. "Yours is the story I am interested in. You are half way home."

"But...." L'Ecureuil looked down at Shalimar, his hands drenched in the essence which was now gone from her. He was astonished as the drops began to dry...and a magnificent plume appeared.

"Take it! The ink pouring through it is Love," Shalimar revealed. "Write your story with it and you will make it safely Home."

As L'Ecureuil walked on along the path of red poppies, the feather in his hand multiplied, as is Love's nature, carrying the great hippo up and over the land toward home. And what a view from below, where all could see and read the story of Love written across the sky. All but the Toisers, who were conquered by it.


This story is devoted to Mama Jules, who to this day wears Shalimar and still sports a plume in her hat.

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A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. 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.

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