Fantastic Fish of the Middle Ages
Here after followeth of the natures of the fisshes of the See whiche be right profitable to be vnderstande. Wherof I wyll wryte be the helpe and grace of almighty god, to whose laude & prayse this mater ensueth.
- Lawrens Andrewe


Mus Marinus

Mus Marinus, the see mouse, gothe out of the water, & there she laith her egges in a hole of the erthe, & couereth the eges, & goth her way & bydeth frome them xxx. dayes, and then commeth agayne and oncouereth them, and than there be yonges, and them she ledeth into the water, & they be first al blynde.

Mus Marinus, the Sea Mouse, goes out of the water and lays her eggs in a hole in the earth. She covers the eggs & goes her way & stays from them for 30 days, and then she comes again and uncovers them. Then there are babies, and she leads them into the water, and at first they are all blind.


Musculus is a fisshe that layth harde shellis, and of it the great monster balena receyueth her nature, & it is named to be the cocke of balena.

The Musculus is a fish that lays in hard shells, and from it the great monster Balena recieves its life, & it is called the egg of Balena.


The Mustela

"Mustela is the see wesyll"

Mustela is the see wesyll / she casteth her yonges lyke other bestes / & whan she hath cast them, yf she perceiue that they shall be founde, she swaloweth them agayne into her body, and than seketh a place wher as they may be surer without daunger / & than she speweth them out agayne.

The Mustela is the Sea Weasel. She gives birth to her young like other beasts, and when she has given birth to them, if she percieves that they will be discovered, she swallows them again into her body, and then seeks a place where they may be without danger, & then she spews them out again.


Murena is a longe fisshe with a weke skinne lyke a serpent / & it conceyueth of the serpent vipera / it liueth longest in the tayle, for whan that is cut of, it dyeth incontinent / it must be soden in gode wyne with herbes and spices, or ellis it is very daungerous to be eten, for it hath many venymous humours, and it is euyll to disieste.

The Murena is a long fish with a weak skin like a serpent. It gives birth to the serpent viper. It lives longest in the tail, for when that is cut off it dies incontinent. It must be boiled in good wine with herbs and spices, or else it is very dangerous to eat, for it has many venemous qualities, and it is evil to digest.

The Murena

"Murena is a longe fisshe... lyke a serpent"


Mulus is a see fysshe that is smale of body / & is only a mete for gentils: & there be many maners of these / but the best be those that haue ij. berdes vnder the mouthe / & whan it is fayre weder, than they waxe fatte / whan he is dede than he is of many colours.

The Mulus is a sea fish that has a small body, and is a food meant only for nobles. There are many different types of Mulus, but the best are those that have 2 beards under the mouth. When the weather is fair they grow fat. When they are dead they turn many different colours.

"Mulus... is only a mete for gentils"

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© James L. Matterer

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