Beasts of Caledon

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The Whitehorn Library, the pride of Victoria City, is well known for having a continuing series of engaging and interesting exhibits. Therefore, the opening of a new offering in Caledon’s most famous library branch is always a social and academic event of the highest magnitude.

Therefore, I was very excited to go have a look at the newest gem in the Caledon Library’s starry crown, Beauty in the Beasts: Medieval and Modern Bestiaries, curated by the esteemed Dame Kghia Gerardi of the Library Militant.

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The exhibit, occupying the ground floor of that august building, features artwork and text from Le bestiaire ou le cortège d’Orphée (The Bestiary, or The Parade of Orpheus) by Guillaume Apollinaire and Raoul Dufy (among others) and will run until June 1st.

While I found the artwork to be very well presented and very interesting, I took the greatest pleasure from the well written and deeply informative note cards attached to each animal displayed. Not only did they provide explanations concerning the animal’s presentation in the various bestiaries in question, but were a treasure trove of interesting facts and scholarship about the medieval view of the animal kingdom.

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For example, in describing the snake, the following is just a fraction of the excellent information provided:

The snake shedding its skin reminds us that we must shed the old self by going the crack (the “narrow way to salvation”) in the rock (Christ). The snake spitting out its venom shows that before going to church one should get rid of evil desires. The snake fleeing the naked man represents the way the devil will flee from a man who has thrown off his wicked ways, but will attack one still clothed in worldly affairs.

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In the face of such exceptional scholarship, I began to wonder what a Caledon Bestiary, documenting those species prevalent in our fair land, would include.

I offer the following humble examples:

The Caledonian Kvetch: Known for it’s thin skin and extravagant plumage (in a variety of loud colors), this flightless species of cuckoo is often seen in all parts of Caledon. However, it’s natural habitat is the Caledon Group Chat or Guvnah Shang’s Notecard folder.  It can be identified by it’s distinctive call of “BUT, BUT, BUT”.

The Fence-sitting Polecat: This species of canine is often seen in Caledon pretending to be a feline, while refusing  to state a firm opinion on anything vital to the state, preferring to demure until any issue is long settled. Only then will it raise it’s complaints concerning actions taken previously. It is often mistaken for another common species, The Yellow-Breasted Vacillator, a well known invertebrate.

The Caledonian Dramallama: This wool bearing mammal is always in the thick of any disagreement, either private or public, even when they are not directly involved. Known to have a very low pain threshold, the Dramallama will loudly and profusely exclaim how wounded it is, taking great pains to explain it’s injuries in depth to anyone who will listen. Dramallama’s have a limited lifespan however, but when one dies off, it is quickly replaced by the next generation.

Any one else have a suggestion? Please feel free….

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