Cethegrande – The Whale*


Pottering about among her old Middle English textbooks, in vacant and in pensive mood, Gert came across a favourite from the days when she was much more vacant and much less pensive.

Cethegrande is a fis,

The moste that in water is.

That thu wuldes seien get,

Gef thu it soge wan it flet,

That it were a neilond

That sete one the se sond.


There’s a  rich prize for the best translation.


*The Medieval Bestiary


12 thoughts on “Cethegrande – The Whale*

  1. Twas brillig, and the slithy toves. Or something along those lines. I tossed out all my old textbooks, finally, this year. I didn’t own any nearly as interesting.

    Here goes nothing:

    Catheterization is a fix
    Mostly for passing water
    That you would soon get
    Right after the fleet enema
    It is a bloody nuisance
    But it only takes a second.

    Translated by Ethelred the Incontinent

  2. High marks for originality and for bringing the Middle Ages right into the 21st century. A purist might question your grasp of the subjunctive, but let that pass. It’s a contender.

        1. I didn’t dazzle quite enough to pass Roman History Perhaps due to the fact that I hadn’t read the textbook and made it up out of my memories of Shakes’ ‘Julius Caesar’. But I’m making up for it now by listening to a great podcast series on the history of Rome.

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