Folklore tends to go hand in hand with mythology, so I doubt it comes as a surprise that I’m fond of folk and fairy tales as well as stories about gods. They’re even better when they’re tied in with etymology–I don’t remember exactly when I found out that the days of the week were named after Norse gods, but I’ve never forgotten it.
I remember hearing a particular bit of folklore when I was at the community fair with a boy I absolutely detested. The weather was beautiful and warm, but it started raining suddenly, and he told me that meant either God was spitting on me or that the devil was beating his wife.
Neither of those sounded all that great, to be honest. I remember being struck by the idea that the devil had a wife–who was she? Why was he beating her? Did she live in Hell, too?
It stuck with me, as weird, folkloric references often do. Though “the devil beating his wife” is typically a Southern phrase for a sunshower, it found its way to my hometown in the Pacific Northwest. Myths are weird like that; they have a complete disregard for geography.
Anyway, a drabble.
(Noun: from French sirēnus, “cloudless”)
Light rainfall from a cloudless sky after sunset.
“The devil is beating his wife,” he says. He waves a hand toward the rain, which falls as if it’s a Pacific Northwest autumn despite there not being a single cloud in the long Mississippi sky.
“That’s not what they called it where I’m from,” she says, picking at a spot of dirt on her arm. “They used to say it was the wolf’s wedding. Le mariage de loup.”
He frowns and takes her hand, running a long finger over the ring he’d given her. His eyes are yellow in the evening light.
She stands, shivering, and watches the sunset.