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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

england, 1200's: recommended pets for nuns

A long time ago, a church official bethought himself of what the nuns in his care needed for a practical yet consecrated life. Though the author's identity is not exactly known, research points to Bishop Richard Poole, who held the See of Salisbury from 1217 to 1229. His take on what makes a good animal for nuns to have, and his thoughts on companionship versus commerce thereby, are interesting.

Ye shall not possess any beast, my dear sisters, except only a cat. An anchoress that hath cattle appears as Martha was, a better housewife than anchoress; nor can she in any wise be Mary, with peacefulness of heart. For then she must think of the cow's fodder, and of the herdsman's hire, flatter the heyward, defend herself when her cattle is shut up in the pinfold, and moreover pay the damage. Christ knoweth, it is an odious thing when people in the town complain of anchoresses' cattle. If, however, any one must needs have a cow, let her take care that she neither annoy nor harm any one, and that her own thoughts be not fixed thereon. An anchoress ought not to have any thing that draweth her heart outward. Carry ye on no traffic. An anchoress that is a buyer and seller selleth her soul to the chapman of hell.

-- From The nun's rule: being the Ancren riwle modernised by James Morton, The King's Classics under the General Editorship of Professor Gollancz (London: The De La More press, 1905), p. 316.

1 comment:

parlance said...

Hmmm... she can have a cow but mustn't think too much about it or sell it.

Yet a cat's okay. Of course, she wouldn't think of selling her cat.