Alas! It’s the 844th anniversary of the demise of Hildegard of Bingen, a woman who once saw a Gruffalo popping out of the Bride of Christ’s… um
A Gruffal-OH, if you will, or
St. Hildegard had had visions since childhood, and Pope Eugenius III suggested she write them down (she may have had a hand in, or approved, the illustrations, too). This one’s from Scivias, the first of three books describing what she saw.
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are frankly lucky she’s been dead so long. The plagiarism is outrageous.
…although, to be fair, the Gruffalo doesn’t fly away on a cloud of turds and get hit by lightning.
And behold! That monstrous head moved from its place with such a great shock that the figure of the woman was shaken through all her limbs. And a great mass of excrement adhered to the head; and it raised itself up upon a mountain and tried to ascend the height of Heaven. And behold, there came suddenly a thunderbolt, which struck that head with such great force that it fell from the mountain and yielded up its spirit in death. And a reeking cloud enveloped the whole mountain, which wrapped the head in such filth that the people who stood by were thrown into the greatest terror.
Here’s that illustration in full, showing the Gruffalo — oh, all right, the Antichrist — raising itself and its accompanying “mass of excrement” up a mountain before the unceremonious landing:
Hildegard’s visions have been attributed to all sorts of things, from the visual auras of migraines to ergot, a fungus that gets into rye, and then rye bread, and when eaten causes St Anthony’s Fire (burning sensations, hallucinations, convulsions…)
Not to be confused with St Elmo’s Fire, although that’s also something you can feel burnin’ in you, apparently
Sorry, that’s just silly. Anyway, I’ve finished lowering the tone now, because thankfully, none of the other illustrations in Scivias lend themselves to misinterpretation or childish sniggering.