Thursday, February 14, 2013


Today, February 14th, is the start of the ancient festivals Februa (from which this month gets its name) and Lupercalia, both dedicated to renewal and cleansing, averting evil spirits and purification.

Lupercalia, or "Wolf Festival," was partly held in honor of Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled the infant orphans, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Lupercus, who's feast day is held at the same time, is the god of shepherds. During the Lupercalia celebration, young people would run up and down through ancient Rome naked, striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. Pregnant women would deliberately get in their way in the belief that being struck would be helped in delivery.

The Gurldoggie, something of a she-wolf herself, wishes you all a Happy Lupercalia.

The Wolf's Postscript to 'Little Red Riding Hood'

by Agha Shahid Ali

First, grant me my sense of history: I did it for posterity, for kindergarten teachers and a clear moral: Little girls shouldn't wander off in search of strange flowers, and they mustn't speak to strangers.

And then grant me my generous sense of plot: Couldn't I have gobbled her up right there in the jungle? Why did I ask her where her grandma lived? As if I, a forest-dweller, didn't know of the cottage under the three oak trees and the old woman lived there all alone? As if I couldn't have swallowed her years before?

And you may call me the Big Bad Wolf, now my only reputation. But I was no child-molester though you'll agree she was pretty.

And the huntsman: Was I sleeping while he snipped my thick black fur and filled me with garbage and stones? I ran with that weight and fell down, simply so children could laugh at the noise of the stones cutting through my belly, at the garbage spilling out with a perfect sense of timing, just when the tale should have come to an end.

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