Swallows & tents

“When it came that we wanted to move the host, a swallow had nested near the apex of the tent.”

I hadn’t actually yet found the swallow reference in the Llibre dels Feits when I posted the original article. Here at last is Jaume, Chapter 215:

And we went to Borriana [in Castellón, Valencia], and, when it came that we wanted to move the host, a swallow had nested near the apex of the tent, and we ordered that they should not move the tent until she and her young were gone, because she had come trusting us[?].

Jaume was born in Montpellier, where some folks still speak Languedocian, and the text isn’t in “normal” C13th Barcelona-babble; I find bits of it difficult and would welcome correction of this particular example and any that follow. Here’s a summary in Catalan of the differences between the two languages, here’s a good Occitanian source guide, and this is the original text:

E fom a Borriana, e, quan venc que en volguem llevar la hosta, una oreneta havia feit niu prop de l’escudella en lo tendal, e manam que no en llevassen la tenda tro que ella s’en fos anada ab sos fills, pus en nostra fe era venguda.

Given the amount of money wasted by the Generalitat and other dens of nepotism on internet projects, I’m surprised that there doesn’t seem to be an online version of this little number. I reckon a keen philology student working from an out-of-copyright edition could do it in slightly more than a week, hashish breaks included.

Tentspotters may wish to speculate on the exact nature of the tent with the aid of Stephen Francis Wyley’s excellent Tents of History site. Medieval Pavilion Resources is also very good.

Source: Jaume I, Crònica o Llibre dels Feits ed Ferran Soldevila (Barcelona: Editions 62, 1994).


This is a complete coincidence, but a bunch of swallows (I reckon they’re Delichon urbica, Oreneta cuablanca in Catalan) have just nested outside Raïms‘ flat. And he’s got pictures. He also explains how to check other students’ details on the Generalitat’s communal university site – one of the many fine successes referred to above.

Similar posts


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *