Native Mud

Louis XIV's chateau at Marly comprised a central building (named the Sun) flanked by twelve others (named for the signs of the zodiac) symetrically arranged around an exquisite artificial pond, stocked with Louis's favorite carp (which he blessed with such glamorous names as Beautiful Mirror, the Dauphine, Golden Sun, and Dawn). A lady once remarked to Mme de Maintenon (Louis's second wife) that these fish seemed rather melancholy in their calm crystalline water. "The carp are like me," she replied. "They miss their native mud."

[Hence the common French phrase: "nostalgie de la boue."]

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