Wednesday, May 27, 2015
I enjoy the patina of folk tale on this story, about a book. There’s quite probably a book called Vox Piscis. It may be at the threshold of truth, that it was found at a fish market. It does strain credulity that it was found in the stomach of a 93 year old cod fish. An Atlantic cod has a lifespan of 25 years, tops. Actually, you couldn’t fit a book in an immature codfish. So, the fish would have had to have been 8 years old already, to reach full size. That would have had to have been a hundred and one year old cod fish, in which the treatise was found. Satisfying as a story, but not very manageable in the light of cold reason.
Anyway, the story that launched this piece:
On June 23, 1626, a fishmonger in Cambridge, England gutted a cod and found a book inside, wrapped in a sailcloth. It was a discourse on the sacraments written by Protestant priest, John Firth, burned at the stake in 1533. Before he was executed he was imprisoned in an Oxford fish cellar, where he wrote the treatise, stuffed it in a fish, and threw the fish back out into the water, presumably. The volume was called Vox Pisces, The Voice of the Fish.