shrinkinglibrarian

erikkwakkel:

Dog prints in medieval chained library

I made this image in the chained library “De Librije” in the Dutch city of Zutphen. Established in 1564, everything about this place is still precisely as it was, including the tiles on the floor. Remarkably, throughout the library there are tiles with a dog’s paw prints. These 450-year-old traces of a large dog come with a local legend. One night, a monk called Jaromir was reading in the library while enjoying a meal of chicken, delivered to him by some nuns. He was not supposed to do this: not only does one not eat in a library, but he was also going through a period of fasting. Then suddenly the devil appeared in the form of a dog, scaring the living daylights out of the monk. The devil ate the chicken and locked the monk inside as a punishment - as devils do. Knowing the story, it’s hard to ignore the prints when admiring the books. 

Pics (top my own): Zutphen, Librije Chained Library. More on the legend on the library’s website, also source for lower pic, here (in Dutch).

I would totally work in a library plagued by devotion-enforcing demon dogs.  Too bad the story makes no sense unless the unfinished tiles were fired in situ.  Better luck next time, Mulder.  

Footnote to All Prayers

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshipping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond desert;
And all men are idolators, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.
Take not, O Lord our literal sense. Lord, in thy great
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.

— C. S. Lewis