the fable of the egg

105A3E8C-CE5F-4EE8-8255-C74D4F504A0AOnce upon a time, one Sunday morning in October, some medievaltwitterers congregated to converse about the Chicken and Egg problem.


Medieval conversation about chickens, eggs, problems (the creative kind), and other non-chicken creatures


I joined the conversation late, due to being in a time-zone far away and due to it being a Sunday morning; a time for rest, leisure, and recuperation; that is to say, I was not up yet. The story that follows may or may not be real; it is possible that I was still asleep and dreaming when I wrote it; it is possible that makes this story all the more real, transmitted in oracular fashion from another world. I do not know. All I know is that, like all fables, it is true.

Which came first, then, the Holy Hen or the Egg?

It was the Holy Hen. All praise and glory be to Her.


Once upon a very long time ago, our World was as an egg. Those were happy days, in a Garden of Earthly Delights.


‘Twas a Golden Age: men were men, women were women, and there was no walking on eggshells.


(Image: via @DamienKempf)

(There are many stories behind that image, from before and after it, co-existing side by side in parallel worlds. Students in some courses I’ve taught over the last year and a half have found other stories, or have been the way by which these other stories have found their way to us. Thus are knowledge pursued, culture preserved, and hi/story continued.)

But one day, a greedy selfish man decided that a peaceful harmonious Golden Age & his useful productive part in it wasn’t enought for him.


(Image: Arthurian Romances, Northern France ca. 1275-1300 @BeineckeLibrary MS 229 f 31r via @discarding_imgs )

And thus came the Golden Age to an end, & its End of peace; but so also were #Halloween & #questing born…


… without which we wouldn’t have hi/stories, adventure (inc Arthurian & other medieval romance), violence, & much comedy (some of it eggy)



So endeth the true story of the Fall from Eden, sadly perverted by mistranslation of that “fruit” of the “tree” of knowledge of Good & Evil.



alas, and hence why we’ve gone from this…



… via this, in the Fall to Hesiod’s Silver Age …



… and this, in passing from Ages of Silver to Bronze …



… to this, here and now, somewhere between Hesiod’s and Ovid’s Iron Age and End Times …






we REALLY don’t want Proper Complete Neat Tidy Perfect Totally Finished Endings



René Magritte, “La Clairvoyance” (1936)

#medievaltwitter collaborative writing creative credits:


other credits:

Bosch in Museo del Prado (Madrid)

Magritte in Art Institute of Chicago, seen via Musée des Beaux-arts (Brussels) exhibition in 1980s/90s

NEXT: the tale of the squirrel on Thursday (let readers decide if it is a fable, an allegory, or simple straight-forward reported history)