Directions: You are going to read a list of headings and a text about explorations into maple lores. Choose the most suitable heading from the list A－F for each numbered paragraph (41－45). The first and last paragraphs of the text are not numbered. There is one extra heading which you do not need to use. Mark your answers on ANSWER SHEET 1. (10 points)
[A] The influence of maples on the Canadian culture.
[B] The token of maples in Canada.
[C] Contemplation of global distribution of maples.
[D] The triumph of Nokomis over the devils with the help of maples.
[E] The popularity of the maple in a favorite myth.
[F] The maple signals the approach of fall.
The maple smoke of autumn bonfires is incense to Canadians. Bestowing perfume for the nose, color for the eye, sweetness for the spring tongue, the sugar maple prompts this sharing of a favorite myth and original etymology of the word maple.
The maple looms large in Ojibwa folk tales. The time of year for sugaring-off is "in the Maple Moon." Among Ojibwa, the primordial female figure is Nokomis, a wise grandmother. In one tale about seasonal change, cannibal wendigos-creatures of evil - chased old Nokomis through the autumn countryside. Wendigos throve in icy cold. When they entered the bodies of humans, the human heart froze solid. Here wendigos represent oncoming winter. They were hunting to kill and eat poor Nokomis, the warm embodiment of female fecundity who, like the summer, has grown old.
Knowing this was a pursuit to the death, Nokomis outsmarted the cold devils. She hid in a stand of maple trees, all red and orange and deep yellow. This maple grove grew beside a waterfall whose mist blurred the trees' outline. As they peered through the mist, slavering wendigos thought they saw a raging fire in which their prey was burning. But it was only old Nokomis being hidden by the bright red leaves of her friends, the maples. And so, drooling ice and huffing frost, the wendigos left her and sought easier prey. For their service in saving the earth mother's life, these maples were given a special gift: their water of life would be forever sweet, and Canadians would tap it for nourishment.
Maple and its syrup flow sweetly into Canadian humor. Quebeckers have the standard sirop d' erable for maple syrup, but add a feisty insult to label imitation syrups that are thick with glucose glob. They call this sugary imposter sirop de Poteau "telephonepole syrup" or dead tree syrup.
The contention that maple syrup is unique to North America is suspect, I believe. China has close to 10 species of maple, more than any country in the world. Canada has 10 native species. North America does happen to be home to the sugar maple, the species that produces the sweetest sap and the most abundant flow. But are we to believe that in thousands of years of Chinese history, these inventive people never tapped a maple to taste its sap? I speculate that they did. Could Proto-Americas who crossed the Bering land bridge to populate the Americas have brought with them a knowledge of maple syrup? Is there a very old Chinese phrase for maple syrup? Is maple syrup mentioned in Chinese literature? For a non-reader of Chinese, such questions are daunting but not impossible to answer.
What is certain is the maple's holdfast on our national imagination. Its leaf was adopted as an emblem in New France as early as 1700, and in English Canada by the mid-19th century. In the fall of 1867, a Toronto schoolteacher named Alexander Muir was traipsing a street at the city, all squelchy underfoot from the soft felt of falling leaves, when a maple leaf alighted to his coat sleeve and stuck there. At home that evening, he wrote a poem and set it to music, in celebration of Canada's Confederation. Muir's song, "The Maple Leaf Forever," was wildly popular and helped fasten the symbol firmly to Canada.
The word "maple" is from "mapeltreow", the Old English term for maple tree, with "mapl" - as its Proto-Germanic root, a compound in which the first "m" - is, I believe, the nearly worldwide "ma", one of the first human sounds, the pursing of a baby's lips as it prepares to suck milk from mother's breast. The "ma" root gives rise in many world languages to thousands of words like "mama", "mammary", "maia", and "Amazon." Here it would make "mapl" mean "nourishing mother tree," that is, tree whose maple sap in nourishing. The second part of the compound, "apl", is a variant of IndoEuropean able "fruit of any tree" and the origin of another English fruit word, apple. So the primitive analogy compares the liquid sap with another nourishing liquid, mother's milk.