This Week in Animal History: August 22

Matt ran off to the USA and took the podcast with him. What he didn’t take was the leather-bound first edition of Jake’s Complete Guide to Animal History. So if you listened to this week’s podcast and felt like something was missing, it was probably This Week in Animal History! (Although Matt’s assessment of biological warfare in the middle ages was historical, he left out the part where they also hurled dead livestock into besieged cities.)

So without further ado:

This Week in Animal History

On August 22, 565 AD, St. Columba was ambling along in Scotland and he came across a couple of gentlemen who were burying a body. The deceased, Columba was informed, had been killed by a monster in a nearby loch. Subsequently, as Columba stood alongside the River Ness, he spied a swimmer in peril. The poor soul was under attack from a vicious creature of the deep. St. Columba, no doubt a certified life guard, followed standard life-saving protocol; he made a sign of the cross and told the monster “You shall not pass!”* Like all bullies, the monster was absolutely shocked that anybody would stand up to him and quickly retreated. The witnesses/survivors all converted to Christianity and Columba went on to become the patron saint of bookbinders and poets.

If you have not already guessed, this story is the oldest recorded account of one of the world’s most famous monsters: Bigfoot. I mean, Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.

*”You shall not pass!” is not exactly what he said, since he presumably didn’t speak English. The story as related by Adomnan of Iona is in Latin. In it Columba says “Noles ultra progredi” which actually does mean (more or less… or much less) “You shall not pass!”

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