Take One Weasel…
Dear Mr. Key –
now this one is a bit complicated:
The other day, I listened to your current weaselcast on the bus on my way to work. When it came to the part dealing with your old, found-again notes on various naturalists, the name Buckland would – in the ordinary way – have gone unnoticed: Never heard of the man.
But at the time of my listening, this particular ordinary way was not ordinary anymore, and had not been, for the past twelve hours or so:
(Now here’s the muddled part.)
Some time ago, you gave – for obvious reasons – Alan Bradleys second Flavia-de-Luce-novel a favourable mention, thereby causing the following sequence of events, at least in my personal corner of mainland Europe:
– bought the book,
– read it,
– enjoyed it thoroughly,
– bought the other one, the first one, in which Ms. de Luce is introduced,
– find the following quotation therein, right at the top of page eight (Bantam pocket edition): “[The skeleton had been] given to Tar (…) by the great naturalist Frank Buckland, whose father had eaten the mummified heart of King Louis XIV.”
– avoided throwing up,
– consulted the Wikipedia to find this: “Augustus Hare, a famous English raconteur and contemporary, recalled, “Talk of strange relics led to mention of the heart of a French King preserved at Nuneham in a silver casket. Dr. Buckland, whilst looking at it, exclaimed, ‘I have eaten many strange things, but have never eaten the heart of a king before,’ and, before anyone could hinder him, he had gobbled it up, and the precious relic was lost for ever.” The heart in question is said to have been that of Louis XIV. Buckland was followed in this bizarre hobby by his son Frank.”
– for a short period of time, knew a particularly weird and maybe even historic detail of which Mr. Key was as yet unaware.
Besides the incredible disgustingicity I cannot imagine how such a thing could have been possible: A human heart is no small organ, and even if shrinking during mummification, the process will not make it any more – what’s the word – palatable?! I do not really think that “gobbling” is an appropriate expression.
Mr Buettner : A remarkable chain of events. I have yet to read the first Flavia de Luce book, so this naturalist’s-papa-eating-a-king’s-heart business is new to me. I am extremely pleased to have learned it, and I’m sure other readers will be too. Many thanks.
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