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"Yes," said Hark, "but there are rules and rites and rituals, older than the sound of bells and snow on mountains."
James Thurber, 13 Clocks
Anne Walshe bestiary tiles. Left to Right: Dog healing a man of internal injuries, Aspidochelone (whale), pelican and kingfisher, bonnacon spraying burning projectile dung at its enemy. More individual tiles.
Anne's is the only known children's bestiary. It was produced in the early 15th century (c. 1400-1425); however, it may have been a book that she inherited. Anne scribbled in her book, even embellishing the fierceness of the wolf by adding teeth to its visage. Her handwriting is immature for the day. One scholar dates her signature as late 16th century, although others suggest it may have been earlier. That, and the care that Anne did or did not bestow on the bestiary, imply that the book may have come to her as a daughter after having been in the family's possession for many years.
The other second family bestiaries (a classification of Latin bestiaries) that we have available are luxury editions, with gold in both the painting and the binding, and a balance of text and illustration. Anne's bestiary, however, has half again as many pages with illustrations and those illustrations are very different from those in the luxury bestiaries. Moreover, Anne's bestiary has simply-colored cartoon images, probably an acidic ink with no gold at all, in either the images or the binding.
I will be adding to these tiles as time allows.
King Garamantes was captured by his enemies.
Two hundred of the King's loyal dogs went behind enemy lines to escort Garamantes back to safety.
King Garamantes being rescued by his dogs.
Most bestiaries begin with the lion, the King of Beasts, and the lion is associated with Jesus. Lions sweep away their tracks with their tufted tail and sleep with their eyes open.
A one-humped Arabian camel, which are less fleet of foot than a dromedary. Camels hate horses and prefer to drink muddy water. If only clear water is to hand, they will stir it up with feet to muddy it. Camels can live for 100 years, and their hooves do not wear down.
Mermaids have the body of a woman from the waist up and a great fish fin below. Mermaids are vain and like to admire their own image.
Crocodile eating a hydra but the hydra having none of it.
Second choice: crocodile hunter. The crocodile will weep after, but it won't be sincere.
Medieval beauty tip: Spread crocodile dung on your face and leave it there until the sweat washes it off for a fresh look.
The eyes of a wolf shine in the dark like lamps. Anne has enhanced this wolf's teeth to make him appear fiercer.
Relationship tip: The tuft of hair at the end of a wolf's tail can be used for love potions. However, if the wolf believes it is about to be captured, it will bite off the tuft so that no man can get it.
The beaver is hunted for his testicles, which are used in medicine. If a beaver sees that he cannot escape, he will bite off his testicles and throw them at the hunter, who disengages pursuit. Should he meet another hunter, he will show that he has already lost his testicles that he may be spared. Beavers have a strong bite, cutting down trees as though steel. When biting, they will not let go until they hear the bones grinding together. Anne's beaver is standing on its hind legs to show that it no longer has its testicles, which hang in the air behind him.
The ibis lives near the edge of water and rivers, looking for dead fish and other carrion. Herodotus says that winged snakes fly from Arabia toward Egypt in the spring but are met by the Ibis, who forbids their entrance and destroys them, feeding on snake eggs. Anne's ibis is picking up dead fish on the shore. It cannot reach the swimming fish in the water because it cannot swim itself. Another ibis is feeding its young in the nest.
The caladrius is part healer, part fortune-teller. The patient will survive if the caldrius looks toward the patient. If he looks away, the patient will not. The caldrius draws the sickness into itself through its eyes, then flies toward the sun where the sickness is burned away. Anne's caldrius is the oversized version.
The cat (musio) gets its name because it attacks the mouse (mus). Others call it cattus, from capture; others cattat (sees) because it sees so sharply that it overcomes darkness. ~Isadore de Seville (7th cent.)
The cat hates mice, creatures so named because they are born from the soil. A mouse's liver grows larger at the full moon. Dormice sleep all winter, motionless, and revive in the summer.
The panther, a multicolored beast, with only the dragon for its enemy, sleeps off its meal for three days, waking with a sweet-smelling roar that draws other animals to it. The dragon, however, stays away because it is afraid.
There are two kinds of sirens and Anne's teachers thought it important that she should know both.
Winged Siren. Don't let that intense gaze fool you. The siren is a deadly creature, half human, half fish or bird. Early sources tell us the siren is always female. Most sirens have wings; they charm sailors with their beautiful singing whereupon the sirens attack and tear their flesh. Anne's siren is missing arms.
Arabian Siren A winged serpent so poisonous that death follows their bite so quickly that their victim feels no pain. They run from horses but may also fly.
The bonnacon, with the mane of a horse and the body of a bull has horns that are curved back, and thus useless for fighting, saves itself by running away while emitting a projective of dung that scorchers pursuers as a sort of fire.
Persian or Indian elephants might bear a howdah or tower on its back, carrying soldiers. Anne's elephant has four tusks and cloven hooves. I'm not sure what to make of its ribbed trunk.
Consecrated to the sun, the gryphon has the body of a lion, and the head and wings of an eagle. They are fiercer than dragons and more majestic than unicorns. They hoard gold and treasure and are strong enough to carry away an entire ox. Anne's griffin has both eagle claws and lion feet, but this is not the norm.
The cock is an intelligent bird that can tell time. Lions are afraid of a white cock.
The peacock's voice causes terror in its listener. Its long green tail is adorned with eyes.
Anatomically, Anne's basilisk more closely resembles a wyvern. Like the cockatrice, its gaze is deadly. The basilisk is hatched by a cockerel from the egg of a serpent. Its only enemy is the weasel.
The product of a cockerel's egg hatched by a serpent (the opposite of a basilisk), the glance, touch, and breath of a cockatrice are lethal. To kill a cockatrice, have it look at itself in the mirror.
Partridges steal the eggs of other birds and hatch them, but the young birds do not stay and return to their true mother. Female partridges can become impregnanted by a wind blowing from a male.
The Crocotta, a mythical dog-wolf of India or Ethiopia, is a deadly enemy of dogs and men. The Crocotta can mimick sounds, human voices, and animal noises.
Sailors mistaking the whale for an island, land there in order to cook a meal. When the heat pentrates the skin, the whale dives, pulling down ship and sailors alike. Carta Marina
The phoenix lives for exactly 500 years. There is only one phoenix living at any time.
Below: When its time draws near, the phoneix builds a pyre of fragrant woods and spices and climbs on it. As it faces the sun, the fire ignites and it fans the fire with its wings until it is consumed in flames.
Above: The phoenix is reborn from the ashes of the fire.
The owl prefers darkness. Owls cry out when they sense someone is about to die. It is often found near tombs. Some say it flies backwards. Anne's owl is a common owl.
Bears cubs were believed to be born as formless young. The mother bear would shape the birth into small bears by licking it with its tongue. Anne's bear has five toes instead of claws.
The yale is the size of a horse, with the tail of an elephant and the jaw of a boar. Pliny tells us that its natural colors are black and tawny, with horns more than a cubit in length. The yale's horns are long and flexible, and can move independently in all directions. When fighting, one horn points backwards, as if in reserve, lest the active horm become damaged. The basilisk its natural enemy. Should a basilisk discover the yale asleep, it stings it between its eyes, causing them to swell and burst.
Finally! A maiden shows some remorse. A unicorn is similar to a small horse with a long, sometimes spiral, horn in the middle of its head. A unicorn horn can render poisons harmless. A fierce, strong, and swift beast that no hunter can catch. It is only possible to capture by placing a maiden in its path. The unicorn will approach, put his head in her lap, and fall asleep.
The duck of Pontus feeds on the poisons of the sea but its blood is useful in making antidotes. Anne's is an ordinary duck.
When it wants to catch a bird, the fox rolls in mud to appear covered in blood and lies still to appear lifeless. Anne's red fox has stolen a goose, as in the Reynard the Fox stories.
Geese can smell the odor of man better than any other creature.
Like the phoenix, the salamander is born of fire and can put out fires. They can break any curse or negative energy. Their blood is so cold that they can extinguish flames. When touched, the milky liquid from its mouth causes a person hair to fall off and the skin to change color. Anyone who eats the fruit of a tree a salamander has crawled into will die. Any water it touches is poisonous.
Pliny tells us that boars are very rough when mating, fighting each other after hardening their skin by rubbing against trees. Anne's boar is particularly fierce-looking, hairy and with tusks pointing up and down.
The antelope is an animal so wild that no hunter can catch it, except when it goes to the Euphrates River to drink, wand becomes entangled in the branches there. The hunter then hears its cries and draws near. The horns of an antelope act like saws and can cut down trees. Only the herecine trees by the Eurphrates Rivers can withstand them.
The Physiologus tells us of the gold-digging ants of Ethiopia. Large ants they are, the size of dogs.
Bees, on the other hand, are the smallest of birds. Bee laws are not enforced; lawbreakers punish themselves by stinging themselves to death.
The emu considers itself above its relative the ostrich and will show the ostrich great disrespect at every turn.
The ostrich is also flight-challenged, as it cannot fly at all. It lays its eggs on the ground and covers them with sand, to hatch on their own.
The power of a dragon lies, not in its teeth, but in its tail, which kills anything it catches in its coils. Dragon venom is harmless.
Doves gather in the peridexion tree because the fruit is sweet and they are safe from dragons, who fear the tree's shadow and stay on its unshaded side.
The eagle is the only creature that can look directly into the sun. The eagle can see fish as it flies over water.
The hawk is a robber bird because it snatches food from other birds. A courageous bird in a small body, it is known as a harsh parent that refuses to feed its young in order to teach them to catch prey.
Anne's bestiary tells us that, when teaching a parrot to talk, one should hit it over the head with an iron bar to gain his attention. Three-toed parrots have are mean-tempered; the six-toed variety are gentle.
A very fierce horse indeed. In battle, a horse can identify the enemy and may attack by biting. Outside Lisbon, mares are impregnated by the west wind, then run north or south to indicate the sex of the foal. A mare loves her young more than any other animal does.
Dogs are unable to live without humans and are known for their loyalty. Dogs are healers: A dog cures its own wounds by licking them. Anne Walshe's dog is young dog bound to a patient in order to cure internal wounds.
A unicorn may be a monoceros but a monoceros is not necessarily a unicorn. It has the head of a stag, the body of a horse, the feet of an elephant, and a single horn growing from its forehead. Anne's monoceros has cloven hooves. Like dragons, the unicorn is the mortal enemy of the elephant.
The horns of an ibex are so strong that if it falls from a mountain, it can land on its horns and walk away unharmed. Pliny tells us that the horns of the ibex, being elastic, can take the shock and thus it can bounce.
Anne's ape family has a mother carrying her twins, one in front and one in back, one points while the others look expectantly at something out of range. The ape on the left appears to have an appreication for the arts, as he seens to be examining or making a vase. There appears to be a tool of some sort in his hand. Anne's apes are missing their tails.
The manticore has a body of a lion, a human face with blue eyes, and three rows of sharp teeth. Its tail resembles a scorpion's stinger. It can leap great distances. Its voice sounds like a pan-pipe blended with a trumpet. It prefers to dine on human flesh. Anne Walshe's bearded manticore has a tail that curves over its back like a scorpion but the stinger is missing.
As young pelicans grow, they strike their parents and its parent, despite great love for its young, strikes back and kills them. After three days, the mother pierces her breast and the dripping blood revives her dead babies.
The kingfisher lays its eggs at the shoreline. For the seven days of incubation, and the seven days following, the sea remains calm. These 14 days are called "halcyon days" after the Latin name for the kingfisher.
Title: Bestiary of Anne Walshe
Tile: Tumbled Marble Stone
Size: 6 inch square tiles (15.4 cm)
Thickness: 3/8 inch (1 cm)
Weight: 22 ounces (.62 kg) each tile
*Also available on 4 inch tiles. Four-inch tiles have a single bird or animal
Per Anne's Bestiary Tiles:
4-inch tile: $68 (one beast per tile)
6-inch tile: $77
Prices do not include shipping costs.
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