Happy Mother’s Day! (Mmm… Marginalia #73)

Hey, there’s a holiday for moms, right?  Y’know, a day set aside to tell your mom or the mother of your kids or a woman walking down the street that you assume must be a mother because of the baby carriage and the matching hair color but then she cops an attitude and says she’s just babysitting and oh my god how gross to think of her with kids she’s not even graduated yet how much you think of them and all they do.  I’m pretty sure a day like that happens every year around this time…

Aaaaanyhooo, here’s your Medieval Marginalia for the week of Mother’s Day.  (Hope it’s coming soon, or else this post will only draw further attention to how far behind I am!!)  It’s a monkey who happens to also be a mom:*

I should probably point out that this image is only half appropriate for a day in honor of moms, because according to medieval legend, monkeys are terrible parents exactly half of the time.  As the bestiaries relate, medieval monkeys always give birth to twins.  One of the twins the mama monkey loves and dotes upon, the other she hates and ignores.  She carries the good kid in her arms and forces the bad one to cling to her back.  But on account of the irony,** when threatened by hunters, the mama monkey drops the beloved child as she runs off, and the hated child clings to her back against her will, leaving her only with the child she pissed off once the hunters are gone.

So this Mother’s Day–whenever it is–be thankful that your mom isn’t a medieval monkey.  Though come next Mother’s Day, you could always drop by my CafePress store and get a magnet with the medieval mama monkey on it.  Then you can have all the fun of explaining to your mom that you don’t mean to imply she’s a monkey or anything, or that she’s a bad parent, or that you intend to cling to her back–on second thought maybe the magnet is a bad idea.***

*But on the off chance that she’s just babysitting for an older monkey, don’t go up to her and be all “Happy Medieval Monkey Mother’s Day!!” Just tell her that the kid looks cute.  Not her kid.  The kid.  Trust me on this one.
**Apes love irony!
***But such an attractively priced bad idea!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Judy

    Oh, lord, did you know that Tarzan's adoptive mommy always carried him when he was really little because her first baby (the one on account of she had milk for baby Tarzan) was clinging to her back that morning and fell off when some male ape, Turkoz or Kerchak or one of them, went berserk for no special reason?
    Ah, irony. "Alice, Alice, little John is crying. What shall I do?"

    Fortunately Mother's Day is long gone, as well as Father's Day.

  • Sheryl

    (Hope it's coming soon, or else this post will only draw further attention to how far behind I am!!)
    Let this go on record as one of the most amusing ways of saying, "Sorry I'm so behind with my updates!"

  • Orly

    I'm a newly acquired follower of this blog (an avid medievalist and pratchett fan), and a future Yalie hopeful (in medieval lit – English PhD + M.Phil Medieval Studies) – found this while searching online for the significance of monkeys in marginalia (my online grad seminar is examining Yale MS 229 at the moment) and you popped up.

    Highly enjoyable, two very enthusiastic thumbs up, and may the streets of Ankh-Morpork (in all the medieval splendor) always rise up to meet you!

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