Dennis Beerpint’s majestic poem Two Monks Took The Blood Of A Duck is the subject of Key’s Cupboard in The Dabbler this week. Elderly Hooting Yard readers will know that the title is taken from Alfred Wesley Wishart’s A Short History Of Monks And Monasteries (1900), wherein we also learn – in the same brief quotation – that St Ursula had three heads. She is one of the very few Catholic saints to have more than one head, a fact which becomes blindingly clear if you tot up the number of saints and then count the number of saints’ heads. The two numbers almost match, but however many times you do the calculation you will always find slightly more saints’ heads than saints.
In their girlhood, both of my sisters attended an Ursuline Convent School, and I asked them if the three-headed nature of their dedicatory saint had any decisive influence on the school’s ethos.
“No,” they said, “Don’t be such a nitwit.”
My sisters have one head each.