27 March 2013

A northern St Francis

Once, reading a psalter by the sea, [Cuthbert] dropped his book into the water - I imagine its glittering illuminated and unchained pages fluttering as they tumbled into the murky depths, an expensive loss in an age when books were more precious than almost anything. At that moment, a seal dived down and returned with the book in its mouth. It...received a blessing for its efforts, although I suspect a little fresh fish would have been as welcome.
-- Philip Hoare.

Image (via British Library): Cuthbert (lower left) praying in the sea, and, after he has finished (lower right), otters coming to warm and dry his feet with their breath and fur, while (above), another monk watches.

See also Otter tracks.

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