Widgeon Woes

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning is DUDGEON. Perhaps my new header has inspired this verse?

Wigeons not Pigeons!

One day a curmudgeon went hunting for duck
he hoped he would bludgeon a widgeon, with luck.
He spotted a flock–sitting ducks on a lake
and imagined the golden roast widgeon he’d bake.
But our aimless curmudgeon just left in high dudgeon
taking with him the pigeon he’d hit by mistake.

Hope you like my bit of whimsy. Now for a historical note.
To me DUDGEON and BLUDGEON sound like Old English words, so I looked up its origin in the dictionary, along with several other -EON words — and mostly got “origins unknown.” Probably a lot of word origins have been lost in the historical hodgepodge of English.

I once thought of the original British as a mix of Anglos, Celts, Scots, Saxons, and later Normans. However, last winter I read a book, The Faded Map: Lost Kingdoms of Scotland by Alistair Moffat. I soon had my mind opened to just how many kingdoms, tribes, and languages there once were in the British Isles centuries ago. So who knows what words may have persisted even though their original users have long been forgotten.

The local tribes skirmished regularly; some royal son was in high dudgeon because of a crown that wasn’t bestowed, and had to start a war over it. The Roman army marched over the land; Irish, Jute and Viking invaders sailed up the Firth of Forth to plunder and carry away slaves – like the lad who later became St Patrick. Saxons pillaged, bludgeoned, and massacred their way across the southeast, reaching what’s now London. Locals lucky enough to escape fled across the Channel, taking their language into Brittany.

We tend to associate slavery with Africa, but the slave trade has been carried on all through history, and it’s mostly been tribal rather than racial. Legionnaires brought conquered Angles & Celts to be sold in Rome; the Vikings carried slaves to all ports along the Mediterranean. My impression now is that early Europe was a huge mishmash of genetics and linguistics.

People should read more History. Would we hear as much wailing and high dudgeon over current politics if we all realized how good we have it today?

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