Monday, June 14, 2010

Barnacle Geese

Our ancestors were nothing if not imaginative. One example of their overactive minds were the tree growing Barnacle Geese. Being a Barnacle Goose was a tricky and dangerous existence. The birds, hatching from barnacles attached to shore growing vegetation, would drop to the water when mature and float away if not caught and eaten by hungry humans. If unlucky enough to land on the ground, they promptly died. The eaten Barnacle Geese were great favorites for Friday meals, since they weren't considered forbidden meat, but allowable fish. What a wonderful excuse for eating poultry on Friday and getting away with it! 

The Barnacle Tree

The Barnacle Goose myth was popular from the 13th to 18th centuries and was accepted by such knowledgeable experts as the sixteenth century English herbalist William Turner, and John Gerard, the author of Generall Historie of Plantes. If they believed in Barnacle Geese, then they had to be real!  


There really is a Barnacle Goose. As you can see, it's a striking black and white bird that would attract attention even without its interesting folklore. 

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