The casual visitor to Maplecroft may miss the tiny figure on the firescreen of Lizzie Borden’s back bedroom on the second floor. In the surround of the fireplace opening of the raised-hearth in the corner, sits a cunning metal salamander with a very satisfied little face. Lizzie added this room for herself above the kitchen, along with her famous bathroom with the hand-painted porcelain bathing tub. Although a high school drop-out, Lizzie was very well-read. Did she know the legend of the salamander when she chose her furnishings? The salamander today is the logo mascot for asbestos workers everywhere, and throughout ancient Greek myth , was the only animal which could go through the fire unscathed. This is partly true, as salamanders exude a milky substance when exposed to high temperatures, and are rendered, at least briefly, impervious to flame. This phenomenon was observed over the ages as salamanders like to hide in logs, and when a fire was ignited, they would be seen scampering out of the flames triumphantly.
It’s fun to think maybe Lizzie may have been leaving a message, as she did , in fact, go through the “fire” and did not get burned in her acquittal on all charges. Lucky little salamander. . . .