consttype

The trash can of my mind
Whale captured in the Mediterranean Sea in 1619. (Engraving by Michael Frommer)

Whale captured in the Mediterranean Sea in 1619. (Engraving by Michael Frommer)

Whale, baby whale and orca, from Historiæ animalium, by Conrad Gesner, 1551-1553.

Whale, baby whale and orca, from Historiæ animalium, by Conrad Gesner, 1551-1553.

Whales, from Histoire Naturelle des Cétacées, par le Citoyen La Cépède, published in Paris, Year XII of the Republican Calendar (1803)

Whales, from Histoire Naturelle des Cétacées, par le Citoyen La Cépède, published in Paris, Year XII of the Republican Calendar (1803)

Whales, from the Description of the Northern Peoples, by Olaus Magnus. Page from a French translation published in 1561.

Du grand amour que portent les balenes à leurs petits. - Les balenes n’ont
point d’ouyes, comme autres poissons, mais prennent vent par des tuyaus ou
flutes qu’elles ont sus la tête. Elles portent leurs petits quand ils sont
foibles ou malades: & s’ils sont fort petits, les prennent en leur gueule.
Ce qu’elles font ordinairement quand elles sentent venir quelque orage ou
tempête: puis après les rejettent. Si par fortune ils sont demeurés sus terre,
la mere, étant en la mer, prent de l’eau en la gueule, qu’elle leur jette
en grand abondance, afin que par cela, ils ayent moyen de soi rejetter
en la mer. Or qu’ils soyent grandelets, la mere les acompagne. Ils croissent
aßés tôt, & sont en leur grandeur à dix ans.

The great love that whales have for their children. - Whales have no gills,
like other fishes, but take air from pipes or flutes that they have on the
top of their heads. They carry their children when they are weak or ill;
and if they are very young, they take them in their mouths. This is what
they ordinarily do when they see some storm or tempest coming: then
they free them back. If by accident they were left on the ground, the
mother, from the sea, takes water in her mouth, and spits it on them
in great abundance, so by this way they can be carried back into the sea.
When they are a bit larger, the mother accompanies them. They grow quite
early, and reach their size at ten years.
Whales, from the Description of the Northern Peoples, by Olaus Magnus. Page from a French translation published in 1561.

Du grand amour que portent les balenes à leurs petits. - Les balenes n’ont point d’ouyes, comme autres poissons, mais prennent vent par des tuyaus ou flutes qu’elles ont sus la tête. Elles portent leurs petits quand ils sont foibles ou malades: & s’ils sont fort petits, les prennent en leur gueule. Ce qu’elles font ordinairement quand elles sentent venir quelque orage ou tempête: puis après les rejettent. Si par fortune ils sont demeurés sus terre, la mere, étant en la mer, prent de l’eau en la gueule, qu’elle leur jette en grand abondance, afin que par cela, ils ayent moyen de soi rejetter en la mer. Or qu’ils soyent grandelets, la mere les acompagne. Ils croissent aßés tôt, & sont en leur grandeur à dix ans.

The great love that whales have for their children. - Whales have no gills, like other fishes, but take air from pipes or flutes that they have on the top of their heads. They carry their children when they are weak or ill; and if they are very young, they take them in their mouths. This is what they ordinarily do when they see some storm or tempest coming: then they free them back. If by accident they were left on the ground, the mother, from the sea, takes water in her mouth, and spits it on them in great abundance, so by this way they can be carried back into the sea. When they are a bit larger, the mother accompanies them. They grow quite early, and reach their size at ten years.

Whale and Cachalot, from Superstitions Orientales, by Nicolas Ransonnette, Paris, 1785. At that time, in French, the word Cachalot was used for the male whale; the word Baleine being applicable to all members of the genus, or more rarely specifically to females as opposed to Cachalots. The meanings have evolved over time and now “Cachalot” and “Baleine” are used for (mostly) distinct sets of species.

Whale and Cachalot, from Superstitions Orientales, by Nicolas Ransonnette, Paris, 1785. At that time, in French, the word Cachalot was used for the male whale; the word Baleine being applicable to all members of the genus, or more rarely specifically to females as opposed to Cachalots. The meanings have evolved over time and now “Cachalot” and “Baleine” are used for (mostly) distinct sets of species.