Perindens.

A symmetrical arrangement of doves in the branches of the tree and two dragons at its base.

A symmetrical arrangement of doves in the branches of the tree and two dragons at its base.

Text Translation:

Of the tree called perindens The perindens is a tree in India. Its fruit is sweet throughout and exceedingly pleasant; doves delight in it and live in the tree, feeding on it. The dragon is the dove’s enemy; it fears the tree and its shadow, in which the doves dwell; and it cannot approach either the tree or its shadow. If the shadow lies towards the west the dragon flees to the east, and if the shadow falls towards the east, the dragon flees to the west. If it should happen that a dove is caught out of the tree or its shadow, the dragon kills it. Take the tree as God, the shadow as his son; as Gabriel says to Mary: ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee’ (Luke, 1:35). Take the fruit to be the wisdom of God, that is, the Holy Spirit. Therefore see to it, O man, that, after you have received the Holy Spirit, that is the spiritual, apprehensible dove, descending and remaining upon you, you are not caught outside eternity, set apart from the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and that the dragon, that is, the Devil, does not kill you. For if you have the Holy Spirit, the dragon cannot cannot come near you.

Take heed, therefore, O man, and stay within the catholic faith, live within it, remain steadfast within it, within the one catholic church. Be as careful as you can that you are not caught outside the doors of that house, that the dragon, the serpent of old, does not seize you and devour you, as Judas was at once devoured by the devil and perished, as soon as he had gone forth from the Lord and his brother apostles.

Folio 64v – Of bees, continued. De arbore que dicitur perindens; Of the tree called perindens.

Stealing Fire.

 Black kites (Milvus migrans) circle near a roadway during a fire on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia. Credit: Dick Eussen.


Black kites (Milvus migrans) circle near a roadway during a fire on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia. Credit: Dick Eussen.

Grassland fires that are deadly and devastating events for many kinds of wildlife are a boon to certain types of birds known as fire foragers. These opportunists prey on animals fleeing from a blaze, or scavenge the remains of creatures that succumbed to the flames and the smoke. But in Australia, some fire-foraging birds are also fire starters.

Three species of raptors are widely known not only for lurking on the fringes of fires but also for snatching up smoldering grasses or branches and using them to kindle fresh flames, to smoke out mammal and insect prey.

How amazing is that?! You can read and see more at Live Science.

Eagle.

Two panels of eagles fishing and plunging into the rejuvenating spring.

Two panels of eagles fishing and plunging into the rejuvenating spring.

Text Translation:

Of the eagle. The eagle is so called because of the sharpness of its eyes, for it is said to be of such keen vision that it glides above the sea on unmoving wings, out of human sight, yet from such a height sees small fish swimmming below and, swooping down like a missile thrown from a siege engine, it seizes its prey on the wing and carries it to land. When the eagle grows old, however, its wings grow heavy, and its eyes grow dim. Then it seeks out a spring and, turning away from it, flies up into the atmosphere of the sun; there it sets its wings alight and, likewise, burns off the dimness in its eyes in the sun’s rays. Descending at length, it immerses itself in the spring three times; immediately it is restored to the full strength of its wings, the former brightness of its eyes.

In the same way, you, O man, with your old clothes and dim eyes, should seek the spiritual spring of the Lord and raise the eyes of your mind to God, the fount of righteousness, and your youth will be renewed like that of the eagle. It is also said of the eagle that that it exposes its young to the sun’s rays, holding them in its claws in mid-air. If any of them, struck by the light beating down from the sun, maintains a fearless gaze without damaging its sight, this is taken as proof that it has shown itself true to its nature. But if the young bird turns its eyes away from the rays it is rejected as unworthy of its kind and of such a father and, being unworthy of being begotten, it is considered unworthy of being reared. The eagle condemns it not in a harsh manner but with the honesty of a judge.

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Peacock.

A fine portrait including the peacock's tail.

A fine portrait including the peacock’s tail.

Text Translation:

Of the peacock The peacock gets its name, pavo, from the sound of its cry. Its flesh is so hard that it hardly decays and it cannot easily be cooked. A certain poet said of it: ‘You are lost in admiration, whenever it spreads its jewelled wings; can you consign it, hard-hearted woman, to the unfeeling cook?’ (Martial, Epigrams, xiii, 70) ‘Solomon’s fleet went to Tharsis once every three years and brought from there gold and silver, elephants’ teeth and apes, and peacocks’ (see 2 Chronicles, 10: 21).

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Ducks.

The ducks are shown not swimming but on land. They are multi-coloured and include the green and brown mallard.

The ducks are shown not swimming but on land. They are multi-coloured and include the green and brown mallard.

Text Translation:

Of ducks. The duck, anas, has been aptly named because it is constantly swimming, natare. Some of its species are called Germanie, ‘from Germany’, because they eat more than the rest. The goose, anser, derives its name from the duck, either because they are similar or because the goose too is constantly swimming. The goose marks the watches of the night by its constant cry. No other creature picks up the scent of man as it does. It was because of its noise, that the Gauls were detected when they ascended the Capitol.

Each species of bird is born twice; for first the eggs are produced, then they are given form and life by the warmth of the mother’s body. They are called eggs, ova, because inside they are full of fluid. Anything that has fluid on the outside is umidum, ‘wet’; anything with fluid on the inside is called vividum, ‘life containing’. Some people think that the word ovum is of Greek origin. For the Greeks call eggs oa, losing the v. Some eggs are conceived by useless wind; nothing can be hatched from them, however, unless they have been conceived through intercourse with a male bird and penetrated by the spirit carried in his seed. Such is the quality of eggs, they say, that wood soaked in them will not burn, nor clothing, in turn, catch fire. In addition, eggs mixed with chalk, it is said, will glue pieces of glass together.

Folio 59r – the swan, continued. De anatibus; Of the duck.