HISTORY, ROMANCE AND...CATS!
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a vet by day and author of intelligent historical fiction by night. Grace is an avid reader and believes that smart people need to read romance - as an antidote to the modern world!
Grace is also obsessed by all things feline.
Pangur Ban, a Medieval Cat Poem - by Guest, Kim Rendfeld
I'm delighted to welcome author of historical fiction, Kim Rendfeld, to Fall in Love with History. Kim posts on a subject very close to my heart - cats. I love learning about how cats were depicted in early centuries, and the delightful poem about an Irish monk's cat is a new treasure. So without further ado, over to Kim.
The delightfully titled "Katzen und Maeuses"
When you read about early
medieval times, you expect war and brutal justice, not a charming poem about a
But such a thing does exists,
and it was a pleasant surprise in my research for my novels. I stumbled across
“Pangur Ban” in Pierre Riche’s Daily Life
in the World of Charlemagne. Written in the margins of a manuscript found
in a monastery in today’s Austria, this ninth-century piece is about a cat
named Pangur Ban, written by an Irish monk. In the poem, the author compares
his hunt for knowledge to the cat’s hunt for mice and describes the
satisfaction both get from their arts. (A kind soul has posted two translations
of the poem at http://homepages.wmich.edu/~cooneys/poems/pangur.ban.html .)
The poem reveals the
affection the poet has for his pet, so much that he’s given his animal a name,
and he refers to his cat as “he” rather than “it.” “Pangur Ban” is also
relevant to those of us who write and seek knowledge today. Do we not rejoice when
we capture that elusive piece of information we’ve been stalking? Are we not so
proud we want to meow and drop the prey at our companion’s feet, I mean show it
This delightful poem shows
a universality in affection for our pets and the pure joy of learning. In many
ways, we’ve not changed much from our ancestors, but in this case, it’s a good
Kim Rendfeld is a cat
lover and the author of The Cross and the
Dragon (2012, Fireship Press), a tale of love amid wars and blood feuds,
and The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar
(August 28, 2014, Fireship Press), a story of the lengths a mother will go to
protect her children. To read the first chapters of either novel or learn more
about Kim, visit kimrendfeld.com.
You’re also welcome to visit her blog Outtakes
of a Historical Novelist at kimrendfeld.wordpress.com, like her on Facebook at facebook.com/authorkimrendfeld, or follow her on Twitter at @kimrendfeld, or contact
her at kim [at] kimrendfeld [dot] com.
Thank you, Kim!
OK, this isn't strictly relevant but I'm going to post it anyway! A quick sketch by my son of Widget, my writer's cat. Isn't she gorgeous? Look at that smile.