As a member of the Androscoggin County Commission and one who voted for the county’s new flag design, I felt it necessary to respond to David Martucci’s guest column (March 22).

Martucci writes that the adopted design “unfortunately” perpetuates a myth about a cougar being on the county seal. Now, I have been living in Androscoggin County for more than 40 years and I don’t once recall anyone saying, “Hey, you remember that myth about the cougar on the county seal, right?” Or, “Don’t listen to your little friends, kid, that ain’t no cougar on the county seal, that’s just pure myth!”

Maybe it’s just a vexillological myth that no one else knows about.

Regardless, Martucci studied the original seal and concluded that it was a horse. Take a look.

Image supplied by Patricia Fournier

Does that look like a horse to anyone (besides vexilloligists)? He contends that it is obviously a horse because it has a mane and hooves (those are hooves?) but overlooks the fact that the snout looks nothing like a horse’s, the ratio of the legs to the body would make it the world’s shortest horse, and that it has a cat’s tail.

The vexillological theory, apparently, is that back in 1854, the county fathers put out the word that they would select the finest rendition of a draft horse standing on the banks of the mighty Androscoggin to be incorporated into the new county’s seal. Artists from all around the county worked feverishly. Hundreds of submissions were received and pored over. At last, they found it. This was it! The perfect depiction — a fine draft horse (cat’s tail and all) alongside the mightiest of rivers!

That’s a nice theory, but probably not true.

Anyway, the commission didn’t consult vexillologists this time around because (a) we didn’t know that was a thing, and (b) who really cares? Why be bored with fake stories of horses and bad artwork when we could just vote for whatever we wanted. And so, we adopted a cougar as the county mascot and voted to place it on our new flag.

I even declared at the public meeting, “I am pro-cougar!” — a personal belief I’ve held since early adulthood.

Why a cougar? Well, my deep thoughts on this were that if we ever needed to go to war with, say, Kennebec County or Oxford County, we would want a fierce fighting cat as our mascot. After all, a cougar inspires fear and dread in our enemies. No one dreads a draft horse.

So, let me be clear. It’s official. It’s a myth no more, vexillologists. It is a cougar.

Photo by Michael Lord

Marc Roy, Lewiston


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