|A Hedgehog Life|
Photo from: Ran
hedgehog. Avenzoar thought the meat balanced and pleasant tasting. It had a varied nature in that the skin was very hot and dry in one part and the meat was extremely hot but not at all dry; nevertheless, it was balanced or almost so and said to have a nice taste.
The suet from it, if extended on the penis was thought to produce sexual excitation and pleasure to the coitus when consumed. The same effect occurred when the hedgehog’s penis was chopped and mixed with liquid. If a man suffered from urine retention, he should fumigate his genitals with the burned skin of a hedgehog. Also the smoke from the burning skin drives away all insects.
Laguna’s notation to Dioscorides says: The hedgehog is well known and looks like a baby lamb with a coat of armour consisting of sharp quills except on the snout, on the stomach and the feet, where they are not convenient. When it senses a hunter or a dog it rolls up like ball. To grab it one needs a gauntlet; if not it is a prickly experience and in desperation one swims in his own urine and the stench of the quills raising all the hairs on one’s back for the love of all the parts of the body penetrated by the quills.
If apples and pears are put out for the hedgehog, it pierces them with its quills and carries them home. This animal has a frigid complexion. There are terrestrial hedgehogs and marine hedgehogs. Dioscorides refers to the latter in Chapter I of Book II when he says their meat is good for the stomach. It softens it and arouses the urine. The shell is raw but worse toasted. It is mixed with ointments for mange. The ashes from burnt shell clean dirty sores and diminish growths.
By Casey Barrett
Laguna said that marine hedgehogs or sea urchins look like chestnut except that they are flattened like a wheels. Inside it is convex with threads of red meat that taste like salted tuna fish or anchovies, which is eaten almost raw and covered with wine. The rest is filled with salt water. The marine hedgehog is eaten like the snail after the sand and pebbles have been removed. The marine hedgehog uses the quills to move instead of feet and rests on them, which can make them blunt. It rolls instead of walks. It has a mouth in the center towards the ground, the safest place against extrinsic injuries. It is said that marine hedgehogs gives forewarning to sailors of the approach of a storm by covering themselves with pebbles. They in turn anchor their boats well. It was said that la Celestina having all necessary for her work and arts was a “hedgehog procuress.” See untos. [Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:220; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:58; and Villena/Clavero. 2002:22b]