The following is probably slim consolation for Boston after being humbled by Chien Mien-Wang yesterday, but it’ll have to do. The New York Times’ Teddy Kidder considers the implications of a squirrel seen running up and down Yankee Stadium’s right field fole pole Tuesday evening.
Believe it or not, the squirrel™s actions closely resembled those of Ratatosk, or œgnawing tooth, a squirrel in Norse mythology that climbed up and down a tree that represented the world. Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic scholar and poet, recorded the story in his 13th-century work œProse Edda.
As the story goes, Ratatosk carried insults as it traveled to opposite ends of the tree, fueling a rivalry between the evil dragon residing at the bottom of the tree and the eagle perched at the top.
œOh, that™s perfect, said Roberta Frank, a professor of Old Norse and Old English at Yale University, when told of the squirrel™s antics at the stadium.
Frank was born in the Bronx and is a Yankees fan. She said in a telephone interview yesterday that in the Bronx version of this myth, the Yankees would probably represent the eagle and the rival Red Sox would represent the dragon. The Yankees, after all, are the home team this week, more or less making them the good guys. And if there were a sports team identified with an eagle, it has to be the Yankees, who have begun any number of postseason games with a visit from Challenger, the bald eagle who swoops in from center field.
But being the eagle is not such a good thing, Frank noted.
œThe dragon will destroy the world in Norse mythology, she said, adding that the eagle would be on the losing end of a battle that was only made worse by the malicious squirrel.