Friday, December 14, 2012

The 12 Days of Weirdmas, Day 5: Choking on Aristotle

Quick hit today, on a Christmas tradition that's new to me, the Boar's Head Feast at Queen's College, Oxford. The tradition stretches back, yes, to pagan times and the triumph involved in slaying a wild boar; it also stretches forward to the present day thanks to settlers in colonial America and a continuous tradition at Oxford. But check out this purported "origin myth" meant to get rid of the boar's head's paganism and give it a nice personalized gloss for the University. Who needs pagan chieftains with spears when you have your handy copy of Aristotle:
Legend has it that a scholar was studying a book of Aristotle while walking through the forest on his way to Midnight Mass. Suddenly, he was confronted by an angry wild boar. Having no other weapon, the resourceful Oxonian rammed his metal-bound philosophy book down the throat of the charging animal, whereupon the brute choked to death. That night the boar's head, finely dressed and garnished, was borne in procession to the dining room, accompanied by carolers singing "in honor of the King of bliss."
That is the kind of Christmas legend that this blog can get behind fully.

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