Blog: Pop Goes the Weasel

Burt Ross

A couple of months back I was driving on a narrow road in Eastern Malibu where I am renting a house until my home is rebuilt. It was quite dark at night, and all of a sudden an animal darted across the street. I had never seen anything quite like it. The animal was slightly longer than a squirrel and darker. It was not a raccoon, a dog, a cat, a mountain lion, or a coyote.

Then just a few days ago I saw an animal practically at the identical spot, but this time it was dusk, and I got a much better look. I had never seen this animal before, and so I contacted my good friends at Google and asked what animals inhabit Malibu. The list included all the familiar animals we have become accustomed to, but one animal on the list surprised me entirely.

I googled the animal and sure enough, the photo was a duplicate of the animal I had just seen. By this time you my intelligent reader have probably guessed the animal was a weasel, and you would be correct. This nocturnal mammal is quite sneaky when it comes to breaking into chicken coops, and so if you are called a weasel, it is most assuredly not meant as a compliment.

The last time I heard the word “weasel” it was in a nursery rhyme which is the heading of this blog/column. I have no idea what “pop goes the weasel” means, and so once again I returned to my friends at Google. Sometimes when I retrieve a definition, I still don’t have a clue what something means. The best I can tell this song started in Victorian times in England. The word “pop” is English for the word “pawn” and “weasel” means “coat,” so apparently this ditty is about a person who pawned his coat for a glass of stout.

You and I now share something in common—we both know far more about weasels than we ever wanted to know.