Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Waterdog

The children and I were singing / saying nursery rhymes after supper last night. Alice was holding a nursery rhyme book that was just the right size – not too heavy, and filled with charming illustrations. She was flipping the pages trying to find Baa, Baa, Black Sheep and I was trying to say or sing at least the first two lines of every page she flipped before I could see the illustration of the next page.

My words were only a blur she was turning the pages so fast.

 She paused for a moment at “Polly put the kettle on” and Richard joined in with me, singing the second verse, Sukey take it off again. When I got to the line “they’ve all gone away,” I started to explain why guests might go away and why a kettle must be taken off of the heat. I had a flashback to my grandmother telling me a story about her grandmother’s tea kettle.
My grandmother’s grandmother had invited friends over to have tea. All had remarked on the delicious flavour of the afternoon’s drink. It was only after they had gone that she found a waterdog had slipped into the kettle.
Waterdogs change into tiger salamanders
I have carried that story in my head for many years.

Today I googled water dog, and it is a North American salamander (a smaller relative of the mudpuppy), typically living in flowing water. 

That is what must have slipped into the kettle along with the water.

This story is true because my grandmother told me this story about her grandmother.


Grandmother Arta


  1. yum! i am sure a water dog is as good as a hot dog?

  2. I used to take this story as a cautionary tale about the dangers of not keeping the Word of Wisdom. Now I take it as a comment on the cleanliness of the water that those women were using. Afterall, this is my grandmother's grandmother's time.