Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Stump, the Candle and the Pencil Sharpener

Read in this book about the Middle Ages about Francesco Dantini. "Orphaned when still young, he began trading everything that could turn a profit: weapons and spices, cloth and silk." Upon his death in 1410, "he bequeathed his entire estate" to a charitable trust he had founded, called "the poor people's stump." By doing so, he "hoped to avoid punishment in Hell." His charity "still exists today, a miraculous survival," the author calls it. So that's pretty good! I hope he got into Heaven okay. Speaking of the Middle Ages, didn't they believe in unicorns back then? I'll check one of my many reference books about unicorns. Yes, yes, I see in THE LORE OF THE UNICORN that the legendary figure Prester John (in whom a lot of people believed, according to my book about the Middle Ages) was supposed to have plenty of unicorns running around in his kingdom. Oh yeah, and I forgot William Davenant got a job fetching powdered unicorn horn for a duchess way after the Middle Ages, even. So! Rhea sent me this picture of some cupcakes she had made, and as you can see, she placed them decoratively around a golden unicorn. Who wouldn't? But then she had second thoughts! She felt, perhaps, that the makers of this unicorn had improperly given it a horn, when, as you can plainly see, the candle sticking out of its head should have cleverly served in that capacity. The horn is redundant! Or so Rhea feared. And I believe that Rhea is right. Take, for example, this pencil sharpener (below) given to me by Beth Ann Fennelly. Here we have the unsharpened silver pencil properly representing the unicorn's horn. I can only hope that future manufacturers of unicorn novelties will take a lesson from Rhea's tragedy.