“Mon p’tit loup” is one of the classics of Pierre Perret’s repertoire and marks the culmination of his writing. The narrator of the song addresses a crying character by promising him mountains and wonders – it’s really a song about the true definition of “mounts and wonders” – “to promise mountains and wonders”, “to tell mountains and wonders” . What the narrator promises as consolation are fantastic journeys to the four corners of the world.
“I’ll take you to dry your tears in the wind from the four cardinal points. Breathe in violett’ in Parma and spices in Colombo. We will see the Amazon River and the Valley of the Orchids. And the children who soap their bellies with cut flowers”.
It’s pretty – “kids soaping their bellies with cut flowers”… The image reminds me of India, although these cut flowers may be soapwort flowers, a plant that – when ‘one rubs its flowers – foams, soaps and cleans.
“Let’s go and see the land of Abraham, it’s even more beautiful than they say. There are Van Goghs in Amsterdam that look like fires. We’ll taste raw herring and we’ll drink Moselle wine. I’ll tell you about the success I had one day playing Sganarelle.”
Sganarelle is a famous character in the work of Molière – he appears in “Sganarelle or the imaginary cuckold”, “The flying doctor”, “The school for husbands”… – which supposes that the narrator is perhaps – or was – comedian. In any case, he constantly returns to this idea that nothing is too good to calm the pain of the other and he unrolls – in the song – an absolutely fabulous itinerary – aiming both at the biblical (the land of Abraham), artistic delight (the Van Goghs in Amsterdam) and the pleasures of the earth (Moselle wine).
“I’ll take you to see Liverpool and their garlands of Haddock. All the most beautiful books, by Colette and Marcel Aymé. Those of Rabelais or Léautaud, I’m sure you’ll like them.”
Small name-dropping of the authors that Pierre Perret likes and recommends as painkillers. Garlands of haddock – these are the fish (haddock) which dry in the sun and which Liverpool offers smoked or breaded in the famous fish and chipstube of English cuisine… These countries which we propose to visit here are really dazzling with surprises since he says at the same time where – and I quote: “there are hens that crow as loud as roosters”
And this world tour in a single song continues with the oath to go too: to Jamaica, to the top of Kilimanjaro, to the Sistine Chapel, to the Prado (the most imposing museum in Madrid). But also – if you’re not tired yet – in Virginia and Louisiana where – I quote “there are guys who have a trumpet full of despair every night”…
The catalog is vast, splendid, full of gems and masterpieces… We’re a bit between Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Geo magazine… And all that – all these marvels spread out before our eyes – is to dry tears.
“Don’t worry, my little wolf. That’s life, don’t cry. Will forget you, my little wolf. Do not Cry. Forget them, the little idiots. Who did this to you.”
Here we are: the tears, it’s because something was done to the little wolf. Harassment ? Assault ? humiliation? Flight ? Rape? There is no mention of it anywhere in the song or, we know that a first version of the text by Pierre Perret, which dates from 1976 – evoked rape more frontally… If the subject has been erased, and the violence watered down to make a more universal song – “Mon p’tit loup” is therefore also a song about rape – even if saying “Don’t worry, that’s life. You’ll forget” about a rape is a bit nimble
Other French songs evoke rape in a roundabout way…