Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What a bad blogger I am. *shakes head*

If it is any excuse I am in the midst of a new novel and it is taking a lot of research to do properly. I am deeply into studying and writing about the brief, heroic life of Andrew de Moray. It's a fascinating project.

However, I do want to share something. I recently came across a reference to one of my favorite poems which happens to be by an unknown Irish monk (translated).

Pangur Ban

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will,
He too plies his simple skill.

Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

I have always loved that poem and it is proof, although I could refer you to much more, that the stories that people during the middle ages did not keep cats are quite apocryphal. People then as now often had them--sometimes as the poem shows as mousers and often as pets.

Another amusing medieval reference to cats comes from the Distaff Gospels which is a fascinating compilation of medieval beliefs:

When you see a cat sitting in the sun in a window, licking her behind and not rubbing her ear with her leg, be sure that it will rain that very day.

We are assured there are no exceptions.

Remember not to always accept the myths about medieval life.