James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sat Apr 27 21:54:02 UTC 2002

In a message dated 04/26/2002 4:21:42 PM Eastern Daylight Time,

>    And the meaning of the "fiddle"?

I hate to disappoint you, but "fiddle" appears in the second line for the
sole purpose of having a rhyme for the second "diddle" in the first line.

The OED2 defines "diddle" as "to cheat or swindle, to victimize" and gives a
citation from Edgar Allan Poe.  The first line, oddly, is a late addition to
the poem, by someone who interpreted "cat" in the second line not as the
correct "catapult" or even as "feline" but rather in the sense of "cool cat,
hep-cat", although this was a rather cold and felonious cool cat who was
interested only in diddling/swindling.  Cf the cat in Walt Disney's
"Pinocchio" who keeps singing "Hi diddley dee...".

Yes, this is the original cat scam.

    - James A. Landau

More information about the Ads-l mailing list