Just in case anyone thought that Warner Brothers invented the prankster animal pursued by ineffectual hunters meme, take a look at this misericord from St. Beverly Minister and be set right:
Tricky anthropomorphic animals, they’ve been around a lot longer than Bugs and Daffy.* Monkeys, of course, are the most common mischievous non-humans, followed closely by foxes like Reynard.
One final note. A couple of people have contacted me recently to let me know, in a generally friendly fashion, that the figures I’m calling monkeys are actually apes. And you’re right, mostly, and usually it’s because I just think monkey is a funnier word than ape. Though for many a medieval artist, monkeys and apes are pretty much interchangeable. But not all. Witness this image from Morgan Library MS M 167:
An ape and a monkey in the same margin at the same time! What more could you ask of me?**
*And the “why I oughta…” fist-shake is clearly pretty old, too, if that’s the correct reading of the dude on the right’s upraised hand.
**Aside from timely updates, I mean.