Monkeys, jackals and wolves, all getting married in the sunshower

Monkeys, jackals and wolves, all getting married in the sunshower

We have a strange expression in Afrikaans, used to describe the phenomenon of rain falling while the sun is shining: Jakkals trou met Wolf se vrou. Translated, it means, "Jackal is marrying Wolf's wife".

Our little cottage overlooks a vineyard. Every time this happens, it takes my breath away... One moment, there's a soft, grey haze covering the world, and the next, the sun reaches its long arms towards earth and paints vines and mountains with touches of glistening gold. Colours become unnaturally saturated, as if someone photoshopped the landscape, and overdid it. Raindrops become falling stars, twirling and dancing as they descend to the ground.

And of course, with Afrikaans being my mother tongue, I can't help thinking of Jackal marrying Wolf's wife.

I spent hours of happy Googling, trying to find out what the origins of this unique expression is, to no avail. I even switched over to the South African English version, which is "A Monkey's Wedding". All that I could dig up was that this version is a loan translation of the Zulu umshado wezinkawu - a wedding for monkeys.

In this fun Q & A with British etymologist and writer, Michael Quinion, he explains that similar expressions exists in many languages throughout the world, with a great variety having animal and wedding associations:

"In Arabic, it seems the term is 'the rats are getting married', while Bulgarians prefer to speak of bears doing so; in Hindi it becomes 'the jackal’s wedding'; in Calabria, it is said that 'when it rains with sun, the foxes are getting married', for which there’s a similar phrase in Japanese; Koreans refer to tigers likewise; there’s even an English dialect term, 'the foxes’ wedding', known from the south west. However, in Polish, the saying is that 'when the sun is shining and the rain is raining, the witch is making butter'."

My favourite from Mr Quinion's list is a version that's popular in the American South (at least amongst the older generation) that goes: “The devil’s behind his kitchen door beating his wife with a frying pan”. Fun...! But unfortunately, not even the eloquent Mr Quinion knows where on earth all these expressions have their origins...

Anyway, during a recent sunshower, I suddenly envisioned Jackal and his unconventional bride as a great addition to my collection of Downloadable Colouring Pages, save for one issue: I would have loved to stick to South African animals, but wolves don't occur here... Thankfully, my clever mom had a great idea -- an Aardwolf would be a fabulous alternative! After all, in Afrikaans its name means "Earth Wolf".

So there you have it! Jackal is marrying "Wolf's" wife during a monkey/leopard/fox/bear's wedding... And if you look closely, maybe you'll see the devil beating his wife!

Just kidding...

downloadable colouring page work in progress

Sometimes, I get to work from our couch!

downloadable colouring page work in progress

The initial pencil sketches - finally putting the idea onto paper!

downloadable colouring page work in progress

Now a light pen line, so that I can erase all the pencil marks before thickening the lines.

downloadable colouring page work in progress

downloadable colouring page for kids and adults jakkals trou met wolf se vrou

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Sjoe, Tobie, jy het ’n pragtige skryfstyl! Dankie vir jou mooi kommentaar. Daar is niks mooier as ’n reënbui terwyl die son lag-lag saamspeel nie!


Dankie vir hierdie heerlike verhaaltjie van andertalige variasies van die mooi Boergermaanse uitdrukking van Jakkals wat weereens vir wolf die loef afsteek. Het toevallig hierop afgekom na ek ’n videotjie geneem het van ’n lekker reënbui terwyl die son ewe baldadig bly skyn.

Tobie Louw

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