Another new kit for Harrogate, and I’m rather pleased with him

he’s in the shop with a pink option.


. I always think medeival elephants are sort of a visual game of chinese whispers. I imagine some poor impoverished scribe, let’s call him Alfric, sneaking into the tavern at the end of a long day for a well deserved ale, and somedisreputable looking chap in tattered silk lurching over to him and slurring, “you the scribe”

Alfric nods nervously.

The man waves his hand vaguely across the room “theesh chaps don’t beleef me. I’ve been trying to tell them about a beast of rare wonder I saw in far away – will you draw it?”

“beer?” Alfric suggests.

The man sloshes a generous amount of beer from his jug into Alfric’s cup. most of it washes the table, but some makes it into the cup and Alfric gulps it down as he pulls a scrap of parchment and a quill from his scrip. “what did it look like?”

The man ponders whilst assorted patrons shuffle closer, eager for any free entertainment on offer. “Sort of like a very big cow…but no uddersh”

Aflric draws a cow

“no no no! it’s horns washn’t nears it earsh, they wash in it’s mouth, like a boar. And itsh earsh wash floppy”

Alfric rubs out the top of the cows head before the ink dries, and give it wild boar tusks like the ones he saw last yule when the boars head carol was sung at the lord’s feast, and adds a couple of floppy spaniel’s ears like those on lady Alice’s lapdog.

he squints at it, looking doubtful, but decides he’ll keep drawing when the man splashes more free beer at him.

the man grins broadly, looking even more foolish than before, “Thatsh it, but it din have a nose like a cow, it wash more like…like…like a twumpet”

Alfric takes another sip of beer. It’s a big sip, and afterwards he indicates his cup is sadly bereft of ale. Once it’s full again he asks, “a trumpet?”

the man nods eagerly

“like the musical instrument?”

“yesh, and it sounds like a twumpet too”

Alfric, by this point, has decided the man is winding him up. But on the other hand his ale cup has been filled to overflowing, so he replaces the cow’s nose with a trumpet similar to one the Angel gabriel plays in the fresco on the wall of the parish church. The assorted patrons are snickering into thier ale by now. It get’s worse as the man announces “Ish not big enuff. I swear it wash sho big it had a housh on it’s back”

Alfric snorts ale out his nose. By the time he’s composed himself his cup has been topped up though, so he draws a tiny thatched hovel on the beast’s back.

“no no – grand housh! A castle!”

Alfric snorts “just growing there, like a wart, was it?”

“don’t be shilly, it wash on a shaddle”

More ale is sloshed. By this point Alfric can bearly hear himself think for the din of guffawing peasantry crowding round, but he resulotely draws a saddle on the creature’s back, with castle snugly nestled therein.

He squints at the ridiculous thing, certain something so improbable must be a figment of deranged imagination and too much beer. perhaps the drunkard is possessed by demons and Alfric should do the decent thing and summon the priest to excorcise him? but he asks “And where did you see this thing?” He dearly want’s to add, “and how much ale had you drunk when you “saw” it”. But his ale cup has been refilled again, with a steaming meat pie cosied up beside it, and he reflects that it would be rude to doubt the sanity of such a goodly patron of the arts

“Africa” Beams the man, “darkesht africa – you know, where the monkeys come from”

Alfric takes a big bite of the delicious meat pie, and feels it filling him with warmth, so he draws a monkey on the ridiculous creature’s back. At least he knows how to draw monkeys, they are little hairy men with conspicously visible arseholes. Not that different to the denizens of this tavern, reallly.


Speaking of Oliphants, when I was about ten or so I was helping my mum on a stall at a craft fair. A gentleman who looked a bit like an off-duty Santa claus picked out one of the most expensive necklaces, and because my mum was busy, I went to serve him. he asked if a cheque was ok, and I nodded happily because I knew how to take cheques.

then I saw his cheque, and elbowed my mum with only the complete lack of subtlety and social nicelty a ten year old can summon, “Mum, is that a real bank?” whilst eyeing santa with suspicion.

Mum assured me that Coutts and co was indeed a real bank, so I took the cheque guarantee card from a now smirking Santa and went to check the name.

I elbowed mum again “mum, that’s not a real name, is it?

Mum sighed “Oliphant is a very old english name”

“like elephant? are you sure?”

Mum by this point was ignoring me and apologising to the poor long suffering customer, who had obviously heard it all before, and took it with good humour

~ by opusanglicanum on November 13, 2019.

9 Responses to “Oliphant”

  1. He’s fab, and so obviously ‘real’ as he has a back story!

  2. well, this guy in south tyrol, at brixen/bressanone, compared the oliphant to a horse and the ears to a folding fan: https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Bressanone_Cathedral_cloister.JPG

  3. I love the story, and it fits him beautifully!

  4. Lovely.
    And I received the Bad Wabbits today. Its going to be fun to do. Thank you.

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