"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Rose, Is a Rose, Is a....Marigold.

Ola!, my friends. Today I will enlighten you with a bit of history. No, not a history of the goat. That would be, I am quite sure, most exciting. However, instead, my mission is a bit more defined. For you see, today I am going to tell you a bit of the history of the Marigold. My sobriquet is not just the stuff of history, but is, in fact, steeped in legend.

Marigolds originated in Central America (probably Mexico), and were introduced to Southeast Asia by the 16th Century. They have naturalized there, and are used in India and Pakistan as a medicinal, flavoring, dye and ornamental. I do not know, personally, if they are tasty or not. However, it is on my 'to-do' list.

Now, then. It seems the humble Marigold is one of the traditional flowers used in offerings in Southeast Asia. The Gonds, an aboriginal tribe in Central India, connected the flower with their God, Gondmuli. Gondmuli stole another god's wife and the battle was on - in fact, Gondmuli sort of lost his head over it. The abducted wife was sad for the loss, dropped her hairpin as she was dragged back, and a marigold sprung up where it landed. I would like to point out, that the word Gonds is very close to the word Goats. No doubt there is a connection here. Although, I must say that I am not acquainted with any wife-stealing goats. If anything, it is the other way around. Given the situation with my beloved Gun-Bun, it is clear that it is husband or boyfriend stealing that goes on. Nonetheless, sad though I may be, I have not noticed any marigolds springing forth. For that matter, come to think of it, I haven't even noticed any Peanuts sprouting up. Perhaps the Peanut doesn't enter into the legend. I can't be sure.

Anyway, another legend says that back in Biblical times, the marigold was known as 'Mary's Gold'. Now there may be some validity to this legend seeing as how my original goatmother's name is Mary and she is the one who saddled...er...blessed me with my name. At any rate, the legend goes that Mary (the Biblical one, not the goatfarmer one) used the blossoms as coins during the 'Flight into Egypt'. (Oddly, I am sure Mary, [the goatfarmer one and not the Biblical one] wishes she actually had some of this floral fortune given the state of the economy and the price of hay.) That aside, the Holy Family was set upon by thieves who took Mary's purse (the Biblical one, not the goatfarmer one) and when they opened it up, marigolds fell out. I am struck here by two things. First of all, why would Mary be carrying a purse? Didn't Joseph have any pockets? Perhaps there was no place to carry a wallet in those long gown thingies. And second, why would she be carrying flowers in there instead of something meaningful like Peanuts? Goat figure.

So there you have it. See? My name is not so trivial as you once thought - not that anyone with an iota of intelligence would think such a thing. Clearly I have a heritage to uphold - one divinely inspired. Marcus T. Cicero said, "There never was a great soul that did not have some divine inspiration." I think that sums it up pretty nicely, don't you?


Anonymous said...

I can attest to the medicinal properties of Marigolds myself, as I have seen my human mother, Chris rub the petals on a bee sting and within a couple of minutes...No sting!
I always thought that she wouldn't of gotten stung in the first place if she wasn't out there messing around with their flowers, all the time! She actually thinks, they're hers. :)

goatfarmer said...

What a beautiful and inspiring treatise you have written, Marigold, and how fetchingly Flamenco you look with your rose. And if only these wonderful considerations had been part of the name-choosing equation and not just the facts that a) Marigold sounds pretty and b) goes with the names Mars (your brother) and Marty (your mother.)

If only.

If only, as the bumper sticker says, we could all be the person (or the goat) our dog thinks we are.

Marigold said...

That's okay, goatfarmer. I'm glad to know you aren't a LOT older than you look. :) Really, I think my name makes me quite special, don't you?