Posted by Lotg on February 20, 2004
In Reply to: Australian Aborigines posted by Koala on February 19, 2004
: : : : : I understood that this is a temperature scale and that it refers to the number of dogs you need in bed with you at night to stay warm. I was recently told that it refers to the number of dogs that died that night due to the cold. Comments?
: : : : :: In Alaska, and the arctic, when it gets dreadfully cold you bring dogs from the sled team into the tent to sleep with you. The measure of cold is how many dogs it takes to provide enough body heat to get through the night. I've heard of four dog and five dog nights, but three dog night is the most recognizable phrase because of the rock group with the same name.
: : : Yep, this applies to Siberian Samoyeds too. And I can vouch for their effectiveness. I once got stuck in a severe storm on a drive up to my farm. I had to stay the night in a very very cold (read snowing etc) town. I slept in the the back of my station wagon with my 2 dogs. My Samoyed slept almost on top of me, insisting on keeping me warm. Despite the intense cold outside, it was soooooo hot inside with my muts that I had to wind all the windows down.
: : : So I figure if you have a THREE dog night, that's it's got to be unbelievably cold!!!
: : I found quite a few sites claiming that the phrase "three dog night" be attributed to Australian Aborigines' dingos (dingoes?)!
: :::That's a new one. It seems to me that anyone who would bring three dingos in to sleep with them might find themselves in a bit of trouble, especially if the dingos were hungry. You might find that you had literally gone to pieces. (But weren't cold anymore, I guess).
Yep, I struggle with that one too. Although you'd have to be either mighty small or mighty weak for a dingo to chomp any bits out of you. They aint that dangerous. In fact, if you look them straight in the eye, they're more likely to bolt. Plus the only place I could imagine that aborigines would want to be kept warm by dingos would have to be in the mountain regions, like Kosciousko or something. There are Alpine dingos, but in no way domestic and I can't imagine how you'd coax them into bed/hut/mia mia/whatever.
Maybe if there is a genuine aboriginal reference, it's got nothing to do with warmth. Maybe it's to do with food or something less savoury. But somehow, I'm liking the Alaskan theory better.