Sunday, January 29, 2012

Now That's A Monster Entry

They are called MONKEYS (Simia) in the latin lan-
guage because people notice a great similitude to human
reason in them. Wise in the lore of the elements, these
creatures grow merry at the time of the new moon. At
half and full moon they are depressed. Such is the nature
of a monkey that, when she gives birth to twins, she
esteems one of them highly but scorns the other. Hence,
if it ever happens that she gets chased by a sportsman
she clasps the one she likes in her arms in front of her,
and carries the one she detests with its arms round her
neck, pickaback. But for this very reason, when she is
exhausted by running on her hind legs, she has to throw
away the one she loves, and carries the one she hates,

A monkey has no tail (cauda). The Devil resembles
these beasts; for he has a head, but no scripture (caudex).

Admitting that the whole of a monkey is disgraceful,
yet their bottoms really are excessively disgraceful
and horrible. In the same way, the Devil had a founda-
tion when he was among the angels of heaven, but he was
hypocritical and cunning inside himself, and so he lost
his cauda-caudex as a sign that all of him would perish
in the end. As the Apostle says: 'Whom the Lord Jesus
Christ will kill with the breath of his mouth'.

'Simia' is a Greek word, meaning 'with squashed
nostrils'. Hence we call monkeys this, because they have
turned-up noses and a hideous countenance, with wrinkles
lewdly puffing like bellows. It is also said to be a charac-
teristic of goats to have a turned-up nose.

Cercopitheci1 do have tails. These are the only ones
to be discreet, among those previously mentioned.

Cynocephali2 are also numbered among monkeys.
They are very common in Ethiopia. They are violent in
leaping and fierce in biting. They never get tame enough
not to be rather ferocious.

Sphinxes' also are reckoned as monkeys. They are
shaggy, defenceless, and docilely ready to forget their
wild freedom.

1 Aidrovandus says that the English is 'marmuset'.

2 The Baboon, the dog-headed ape, possibly the Egyptian god Anubis.
According to Gesner, the sphinx is a real monkey, and the Sphinx of art,
woman in front and lion behind, is merely an imaginary representation of
it made by painters and sculptors. Perhaps he is not so wrong in this as he seems.

At any rate, the Guinea Baboon is called a sphinx to this day.

A note on fabulous animals will be found in the Appendix.

From Bestiary: A Book of Beasts by T.H. White

Well worth it and all on-line here courtesy of the University of Wisconsin.


  1. I never knew this was available online. This just made my day.

  2. I wonder what sort of entry monkeys would write for humans?

  3. Sphinx! Im so happy right now.

    Someone on this blogosphere posted that old drawing of a crocodile, which looked like a lizard-cat-dog... so I can certainly see them turning the sphinx monkey into a.. err.. lionlady.

  4. Wow. If only I didn't have to get ready for work ... I could sit here and read this thing all day long. So. Much. Material.