Parandrus

What is a parandrus?

March 08, 2020

Parandrus - Bestiary Harley MS 3244, ff 36r-71v Parandrus - Bestiary Harley MS 3244, ff 36r-71v

Wikipedia describes a Parandrus as “a legendary reindeer/moose-like creature with chameleon properties“.

Pliny gives a detailed description1, describing it as bigger than an ox, with antlers, cloven hooves and the ability to change the colour of their fur for camouflage:

The Tarandus is as bigge as an oxe, with an head not unlike to a stagges, but that it is greater, namely, carrying braunched hornes: cloven hoofed, and his haire as deepe as is the Beares. The hide of his backe is so tough and hard, that thereof they make brest-plates. He taketh the colour of all trees, shrubs, plants, flowers, and places wherein he lieth when he retireth for feare; and therefore seldome is he caught. But when he list to looke like himselfe and be in his owne colour, he resembleth an Asse. To conclude, straunge it is that the bare bodies of a beast should alter into so many colours: but much more straunge it is and wonderfull, that the haire also should chaunge.

Parandrus- Bestiary, Royal MS 12 C XIX; 1200-1210 Parandrus- Bestiary, Royal MS 12 C XIX; 1200-1210.


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