This is a writing project i felt like trying. i might add more later.
First, let me tell a little about what a bestiary is. In the medieval ages, the Catholic Church had outlawed the owning of a Bible or any other religious book by any one not part of the clergy, with the exceptions of breviaries, the book of Psalms, and bestiaries. Bestiaries were short, magazine-like publications, full of brief descriptions of a real or imaginary animal’s appearance and habits. These little descriptions were often exaggerated or completely fabricated, the authors having to assign virtues, vices, and supernatural powers to creatures that often didn’t have them. Bestiaries were meant to teach morals and lessons of doctrine. They were immensely popular in the three centuries before the Renaissance, and continued for some time even then.
After reading lots of information on bestiaries, translations of them, and sometimes even the bestiary in its original form, (which required some of studying Latin and Old English) I decided to write a Bestiary. I would stick in every way I could to how bestiaries were done in the past, but, of course, I cannot make it exact. In the old bestiaries, ‘the LORD’ was written in small caps (this is still done in Hymn books and Bibles to-day); the moral was also in small caps. Unfortunately, while pasting this from Microsoft Word to here, it undid my smallcaps and made them just normal capitals.
If it didn’t seem like a spelling would be too cumbersome and would inhibit clarity, I spelled the word like it would have been spelled in the English that was most widely in use at the height of the bestiary’s popularity. All of the creatures were invented by me. I omitted some symbols that would have been used historically, like the Long-S, the left-U, and the Ctesius. Scythia was the medieval English term for the area around present-day Kazakhstan; Ætheopia is the term for just about any part of Africa that wasn’t Egypt or the Sahara; Libya meant, at that time, all of the Sahara desert besides Egypt; the ‘Land of Prester John’ is India (which in that time meant anything east of Persia). It was customary for the author of the bestiary to ‘sign’ the publication in the fashion I have done.
A Bestiary of the Balance in the LORD’s Creation
There dwells in that land Scythia a creature those me call a Darckem. This beast is, in all respects, like an antelope of Ætheopia, yet it forevere craves the flesh of men, and is exceedingly intelligente. So many tricks does it know, rarely does it fail to catch and eat the humane it pursues. So vicious is the Darckem, that surely there would be not a man left alive in all of Scythia, had not the LORD, in his wisdome, created the Darckem so that it is rendered completely helpless by the smell of thyme, and a man might fall upon the thing and kill it while it cannot help itself; thus, all things are balanced, and THE LORD NEVER MAKETH AN EVIL THING WITHOUT A REMEDIE.
Another beast does dwell in distant Libya, called a Rouldhourse. This is a truly horrible beast, among the most terrifying the LORD created. It has a body and head similar in shape and form very much like that of a hourse, with the long, flexible tail of a dragon and the paws of a falcon, and has the sharpest talons of any creature on Earthe. It cannot abide dry places, so lives in wet caves. In most times, the Rouldhourse stays there, but when it senses that the folk of the nearest village are being tempted in any way by the devil foul, it comes on a foggy morning and does battle with that evil serpent, and fortunately for mankind does not often fail. Again, THE LORD NEVER MAKETH AN EVIL THING WITHOUT A REMEDIE.
In the land of Prester John, there does live a creature called an Ameithæ. This is the most poysonous of all the Lord’s creations; so much that it has no blood in its viens, but only poyson. Being so, it craves after any fruit and leaf of poyson, but not at all does it crave meat or flesh of any kind. Also In the land of Prester John, there is a plante so fabulously poysonous it does kill a person even that only breathes in it’s smell; it is very rare in Prester John’s land, and grows not at all anywhere else. This is the favorite meal of the Ameithæ; the beast does go exceeding great lengths to get even a taste of this plante. Because the plant is so rare and the Ameithæ so populous, the plante is all the more rarer, at some times there are none at all. So are the humans of the land saved from death by the plante, proving indeed that THE LORD NEVER MAKETH AN EVIL THING WITHOUT A REMEDIE.
IN THE NAME OF GOD, I SPEAK NAUGHT BUT THE TRUTHE,