Good morning everyone!! Today is “P” day – no, not ‘pee-day’ but “P” for the Blogging Challenge!! Sadly, I only have two P’s today: Pekingese and Pangur Ban.
Emperor Ling Ti ruled China from 168 to 189 CE (the Han Dynasty) and he loved his Pekingese dogs. Four of the dogs went with him everywhere he went – two preceding him barking his arrival and two more carried his robe behind him. One of his very favorites was given an esteemed honor, the Chin Hsien, a literary award similar to today’s Nobel prize in literature. Some dogs received the rank of k’ai fu, or viceroy; others were granted the rank of yi tung, or imperial guardian. The pampered Pekingese were guarded by imperial soldiers and chefs prepared the best meat and rice for them. I guess it does pay to be a dog sometimes!!!
Emperor Ling’s reign was not a good one – he had to deal with multiple assignation attempts while enjoying a decadent lifestyle and basically ignoring the needs of his people in favor of his own personal needs. He was not greatly mourned when he died, except for maybe by his dogs.
The first named cat known to history in Europe is Pangur Ban. He was a real cat whose human was an anonymous Irish monk living in the monastery of Carinthia in Austria during the 9th century CE. Why is he remembered by name and not his human after all these years? Because the poem the monk wrote about Pangur has been preserved and is considered the most famous surviving poem from Early Ireland.
The poet wrote eight verses in the Old Irish language comparing his cat’s hunting of mice with his own hunting of knowledge. The cat’s name, Pangur Ban, means Fuller White. Legend states Pangur was white and I wonder if he was ‘fuller’ than all the other cats because he enjoyed hunting mice so much!
The poem is preserved in the Recihenau Primer and kept safe in St. Paul’s Abbey in Austria. And there is statue of him and his monk in the lobby of the Irish Folklore Department at University College in Dublin.
Now, for your enjoyment, the poem Pangur Ban, as translated by Robin Flower from Old Irish.
I and Pangur Bán my cat,
‘Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.
Better far than praise of men
‘Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.
‘Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.
Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur’s way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.
‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.
When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!
So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.
Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light
Thank you for stopping by on “P” day!! Since tomorrow is Tuxie Tuesday on Thursday, BobbieSue will be sharing with you “Q” Day!!! I’ll see you back on Friday for “R” and fRiday fill-ins!!!!
Peace out, dudes and dudettes – – Toby