Animals Do the Darndest Things (Mmm… Marginalia #63)

This week’s marginal image comes to us from the famous Macclesfield Psalter:

The Macclesfield Psalter has made a few appearances in Mmm.. Marginalia over the years. Remember our friends the Knight-Terrorizing Snail, the Man Who Rides a Giant Duck, the Dr. Monkey, M.D., Dog-Ass Man, and Piggyback Aristotle? Of course you do! Now, to their august ranks we may add Horrifically-Maimed Jousting Rabbit.

The image is as self-explanatory as it is gruesome, but two details jump out at me as noteworthy. First, while the green hill with black holes in it is a standard medieval way of representing a pastoral landscape, usually the holes have little rabbit heads poking out of them. The expected rabbits have clearly chosen to flee after they saw what happened to their friend. And second, take a look at the expression on the rightmost horse’s face. He’s apparently quite troubled by what his doggy master has made him a party to.

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  • tenthmedieval

    I think both horses are fiercely concentrating on chewing their oversize bits in the absence of any direction from their riders, myself. But I have to congratulate the dog on managing to get that kind of impact from a spear he's basically balancing on his shoulder. (Seriously, I love that the artist thought about how a dog could hold a spear rather than just anthropomorphising it physically.) Ultimately, however, the rabbit fails by the old medieval maxim, "never bring no weapon at all to a melée"…

  • Got Medieval

    If you expand the pic, I think you'll see that the rabbit had a weapon. It just shattered into splinters that are still in the air between them.

  • tenthmedieval

    Wow. Okay, I'm glad that dog existed centuries ago then. He'd clearly have given Dante a run for his money.

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