Monday, June 03, 2013

Historical Disapproval

Special thanks to reader Tineke, who sent us a link to this illustration of disapproving rabbits from 1305


bunny mummy said...

This is lovely.
Can anyone translate? (my money is on Fleetie)

speedyrabbit said...

Hmmm Some help Fleetie!!!!

brandi said...

I can translate using the body language of the offended lagomorphs.

"Dost thou detect the vile odour of human?"
"Aye. Whilst nomming on my victuals here, my gorge wast risen. O how I wisheth I could puketh!!!"

Yuppers. That is exactly how it happened.

Fleetie said...


Just goes to show that there have always been rabbits around for far longer than there have been stoopid hoomins.

And rabbits have always needed to Disapprove Of those stoopid hoomins, right down the ages.

Fleetie said...

Bunny Mummy : I can't even read the letters properly!

Clicking the link suggests this may not even be Latin; rather some kind of ancient Dutch or Flemish or something like that.

All of which translates as : I dunno!

Not surprising, being a stoopid hoomin!

Ijon Tichy the Nth said...

Just maybe, we try to decipher the words, wishing to discover the disapproval is not a sever as we know it be. Can you image, that much disapproval, over time, with compound interest? I feel that would throw me back to beginnings of dirt.

Fleetie said...


Fleetie said...

And yet again!

It's official: We are doomed!

Rabbits' Guy said...

The one on the right is definitely an ancestor of Cinny! The resemblance has passed down thru thousand of generations remarkably intact.

Terra said...

I have to say, they're not _as_ disapproving of humans as the ones in this picture (WARNING: might be quite traumatic to view despite being a medieval artwork)

Fleetie said...

I found an "entry" about that original image, but without the writing.

Here it is.

Fleetie said...

Ah! Finally! Here is the original image, IN CONTEXT, i.e. it shows the whole page of the book/manuscript.

Fleetie said...

And here is what the script on the page, around the rabbits picture, says:

Cyrogillus es een dier bor groet,
Dat Moyses in die wet verboet;
Ende al eist cranc ende clene,
Nochtan eist noesel al ghemene Ende
vreselijc tallen dieren :
So fel es et van manieren.

[Picture of 2 rabbits goes here]

Cuniculus dat es een conijn,
Der vele in vele landen sijn.
In daerde wonen si ende in holen.
Nachts soe coemen si uutghestolen,
Ende doen scade int coeren
Bede in wingard ende in coren.
Danne kerensi ter morghenstont,
Ende sluten weder des gaetes mont,
Dat mense sdaghes niet vinde daer.
Waer so conine wonen een jaer,
Daer dien si seer in corten tiden,
Want si dicke draghen ende riden.
Mescoemt hem yet in enighe stede,
Si loepen wech, ende dandere mede,
Die van haere kiesen sijn.
Langhe noet dat conijn.

I THINK it's from a book or manuscript about different animals, describing each one.

I also think the first few lines, above the rabbits picture, pertain to a different animal, and not the rabbit.

I think the rabbit's entry starts with the text BELOW the rabbit picture. ("Cuniculus dat es een conijn, ...").

Maybe one of our rabbit-lovers from the Netherlands can help. (Elsewhere? Can you help translate or interpret it?)

Elsewhere said...

@ Fleetie, It looks like medieval dutch to me. I'll have a go, and post is here. May take a while ;-)

Fleetie said...

The page of text, but larger, so easier to see

Elsewhere said...

translation first bit (from after the picture):
Cuniculus, that’s a rabbit
of which there are a lot in many countries
They live in holes in the earth
and come out stealthily at night
they do harm in the gardens
in the orchard as well as in the wheatfields
Then, in the morning, they return
And close off the entrance of their warren
So that man won’t find them during the day

(after it becomes more difiicult/strange… I’ll ask my more history oriented sister. Will be continued!)

Fleetie said...

Elsewhere, that's great! Thank-you! You don't need to do any more work!

Thanks again! I am sure rabbits will Approve Of you for translating that for us! After all, it is about Rabbits!

sallyneary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bunny mummy said...

Thank you so much, Elsewhere et al!

tinebeest said...

Hey, so glad this got used! When I came across this, I immediately thought of this site.
Great translation from Elsewhere. I am Flemish, but the medieval variant of our language baffles me, too, in that second part. (My field is in medieval Chinese history, so I think I can be excused!)

Grandrabbit said...

Good job, Elsewhere.
My attempt for the last part (involving some guesswork, but should give a rough idea):

Where rabbits live for a year
They prosper in a short time
Because they bear many (??)
Should bad things happen in some place
They run away, and the others too
That are of their acquaintance

My mind went blank on the last line ..

sallyneary said...

Well then you hoomins with rabbits better take great care that no bad things are allowed to happen, lest they run away! This should be quite a challenge.

Elsewhere said...

Last bit:

'Where rabbits live a year
They do well in a short time
Because they ride (mate) and carry a lot
Are they displeased in some towns
They walk away, and others
that are their acquintances too
Long ride (mate) the rabbit.'

Well, no surprises there! ;-)

Fleetie said...

Hmm, so the message here, after all the translation (Thanks again!), is that rabbits, being many, will always outwit hoomins, and despite the attempts of the (particularly stoopid) hoomins, rabbits will always survive, because they bear many young, despite the fact that they do not live long.

I don't think we can disagree, really!

Elsewhere said...

@Grandrabbit: we're not far off, considering... I found another transcript that read 'Lange ridet dat conijn' as the last line, so hence my suggestion.
@Fleetie: yup, they eat our stuff, produce a lot of offspring and walk away if they disappove. Simple really ;-)

bunny mummy said...

What a great series of posts.
Thanks so much everyone!
Special shout out to Brandi

Grandrabbit said...

Hi Elsewhere,
Yes, I found that alternate last line too, it only managed to confuse me :)
But your interpretation is probably close.