by Heather R. Darsie
Have weak eyes? Go down to the water, find yourself a charadrius, and rub its dung in your eyes. Such is a piece of medieval advice. “Charadrius” is the genus for “plover.” According to the MS Bodley 764, a Charadrius is an all-white river bird. The bird could purportedly foretell if a person was mortally ill, as well.
By Morris, Beverley Robinson; Fawcett, Benjamin, 1808-1893, engraver
A person can find the charadrius, “…in the court of kings. If someone is sick, he will know from the charadrius whether he will live or die. If the man’s illness is mortal, it will turn away its head as soon as it sees him, and everyone will know he is going to die. If he is going to recover, the bird will look him in the face and take all his sickness on itself.” The charadrius has a unique way of disposing of the disease. The bird reportedly, “…flies up to the sun, burns off the sickness, scatters it in the air, and cures the sick man.”
Perhaps I should get a charadrius this flu season instead of a shot. What do you think of the charadrius?
Sources & Suggested Reading
- Barber, Richard: translation and introduction. Bestiary: Being an English Version of the Bodleian Library, Oxford. M. S. Bodley 764. Pp. 130-131. All original miniatures reproduced in facsimile. Woodbridge: 1999.
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