On The Hedgehog

I had the pleasure of attending an event last night as part of the Manchester Kino Festival, O!PLA, Across the Borders, Polish Shots.

The event showcased some incredible short animations from Poland. One in particular caught my eye. DE HERINACIO, ON THE HEDGEHOG by Ala Nunu Leszyńska.


The short animation is inspired by the Rochester Bestiary, held in the British Library, a very similar volume to the Aberdeen Bestiary we photographed and blogged about only 2 days ago.

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Rochester Bestiary Royal MS 12 F XIII f.45r British Library

The Rochester text reads;

‘The Physiologue says that a hedgehog has the shape of a suckling piglet. On the outside it is entirely covered with spines. During the grape-gathering season the hedgehog enters the vineyard. And when it sees a good grape, it climbs up the vine and removes that grape in such a way as to make all the clusters fall onto the ground. Then it climbs down and rolls itself over them so that that all the grapes get caught in its spines This is how it brings food to its offspring.’

In the Aberdeen Bestiary, the same is written, in a slightly different manner (also note the mole, one of my favourites from the manuscript);

‘The mole, blind and condemned to darkness underground. Hedgehogs, covered in bristles and prone to roll up in a ball, carry grapes back to their young by impaling them on their spines.

Illustration: the mole is viewed from above, blind and with conspicuous pink paws for digging. The hedgehogs are seen climbing the vine, shaking it and rolling in the grapes in order to transport them home to their young.’

The image also differs slightly, but again shows the same actions, you can clearly see the grapes on the spines of the hedgehogs.

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The Aberdeen Bestiary f.24r


Both manuscripts are available online in their entirety, Aberdeen here and Rochester here, with a transcription for the Aberdeen Bestiary available by clicking the page marker on the right.


4 thoughts on “On The Hedgehog

  1. jwrobinson says:

    Reblogged this on John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog and commented:

    CHICC recently digitised a wonderful Bestiary up in Aberdeen, watch a wonderful animation inspired by the Rochester version held at the British Library!

  2. jemckenna says:

    According to the Greek grape-seller who spotted the hedgehog mascot on my backpack in my student travelling days, hedgehogs do indeed climb vines to eat grapes and eat any that fall to the ground. Well known for it in Greece.

    Though he didn’t mention them carrying fruit off impaled on their spines so I suspect that’s embellishment 🙂

    Having told us all this, with explanatory mimes and laughter from his companions, he did give us a big bag of grapes, for no charge.

  3. […] And don’t miss our last post regarding the panel under the mole above, with the fantastic tale of why a hedgehog has it’s spikes! […]

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