Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api

Pomme Gris and Lady Apple
There's an old French children's rhyme, nowadays rendered as follows:

Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api
Tapis, tapis rouge
Pomme de reinette et pomme d'api
Tapis, tapis gris.

In English:

Pippin Apple and Lady Apple,
Carpet, red carpet,
Pippin Apple and Lady Apple,
Carpet, gray carpet.

describing a carpet ("tapis") of red and gray apples lying on the ground. Russets perhaps, for the gray.

Pomme d'Api is today the venerable Lady Apple, but the name may once have applied to more than one variety, or to a broader family of apples to which Lady belongs.

This would square with older versions of the song in which "tapis, tapis" was "d'api, d'api" rouge and gris, that is red and gray Api apples. (If so, "tapis" is an appealing French Lady Mondegreen.)

My photo shows Lady with Pomme Gris. I suppose "Pomme de Reinette" could be Pomme Gris (depending on which theory of origin is right for that apple, France or Quebec).

However I only chose the Gray Apple as a nod to how I first learned of this song: thanks to an anonymous comment to my review of that variety last year. The gray apple of the song could be any of many apples.

A bit more on the song here (though I can't vouch for accuracy) including an mp3 of its cheerful polka-like tune.

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