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Southern Magic - History Tidbits

Lions, Tigers, and Bears...Oh My!
Or Animal Tidbits from the Middle Ages

By Carla Swafford

Most monarchs preferred regal animals such as Henry II had leopards, Henry I, Edward I, and Edward II had lions, Edward II had a leopard, lions and two tigers. But not Henry III, he had in his menagerie a white bear, and an elephant. The elephant was buried in Westminister, not far from the royal interment.

Despite two broken ribs caused by a kick from a horse the night before, Edward I led his army against Wallace at Falkirk.

Two main types of dogs were used in hunting. The limners, trained to stalk and find the quarry silently, and the speedy dogs that would chase the quarry to kill.

At the end of a stag hunt, the heart, lungs, liver, and windpipe were given to the hounds, but the right forefoot was presented to the most distinguised person present.

Each level of society had a designated bird they could use during hawking or falconry. The poor man had the tercel, the yeoman had the goshawk, while the earl had the falcon and the king a gerfalcon.

A royal decree stated that anyone who found a lost falcon and failed to return it would be severely punished; the bird would be allowed to eat six ounces of flesh from the culprit's breast.

Beware! A dog companion was not a loyal Rover or Spot, but was a lover's go-between.


Taken from Magic Moments - June 2000 Volume 3/Issue 6