An extremely vicious, stubborn, intelligent, capricious, smelly and downright dangerous (in this order) little beast, the weasel has always been compared to a young woman, from Afghanistan to Spain. The revelation came to me in the Kabul bazaar where a peddler had a couple of these wicked, smelly predators in cages, trying to sell them for competitions (he was explaining that they fight to death, and that it‘s very-very gory, which I readily believe).

Now, the proud Taliban call the weasel in their Pashto language (related from afar to Iranian):nawla, which is clearly, although today‘s speakers don‘t realise it anymore, derived from nawi, the bride, or the fiancée. This, in turn, comes etymologically from the old Iranian adjective nawa = new… Calling the fiancée ”the new one“ makes some sense and it is exactly what happened at the other end of the Indo-European realm, in Spain, where the fiancée is called: novia. But why call the weasel ”the fiancée“?!…

Actually, this is exactly what Bulgarians and Romanians, in the Balkans, have done, calling it in Bg. nevestulka and in Rom. (borrowed from Bg.) nevãstuicã, literally: ”the little bride“ (in Romanian rather ”little wife“). And it is plainly brud : ”bride“ in Danish!… Dangerous little creature that jumps to your throat.

Suddenly, one realises that the perfidious little thing received everywhere a sexist, tabooistic  name, given to it as if to keep away the danger. It is donnola, the ”little lady“ in Italian, doninha in Portuguese; belette in French, that is ”belle“ with a nuance of affectation. In the Slavic languages, with the exception of Bulgarian, it is laska, related to the root from which we have lascivus in Latin… And, finally, the root from which weasel itself derived has to do with something that smells bizarre… ”the smelly one“…

Now, if even the tough Afghans, who know a lot about the female nature, called the creature ”little fiancée“, everybody will agree that there is some relevance and pertinency in this.