The Devil’s Hoof- Marks

Another chapter from this fascinating forgotten work Oddities: A Book of Unexplained Facts (Allan, London 1928) by R.T. Gould. The illustration is from an Edwardian novel (possibly Quiller Couch or Baring Gould.) Info on the polymath Rupert Thomas Gould (1890 – 1948) can be found at the foot of this post..


  A Scottish minister once preached a sermon upon the text "The voice of the turtle is heard in our land".* He was literally-minded, and unaware of the fact that the "turtle" referred to is the turtle-dove, and not that member of the Chelonia which inhabits the ocean and furnishes the raw material of such "tortoise-shell" articles as are not made of celluloid. In consequence, the deductions which he drew from his text were long remembered by such of his hearers as were better-informed.

* Canticles ii. 12. 

  "We have here", he is reported to have said–"we have here, my brethren, two very remarkable signs and portents distinctly vouchsafed to us. The first shall be, that a creature which (like Leviathan himself) was created to dwell and abide in the sea shall make its way to the land, and be seen in the markets and dwelling-places of men; and the second shall be, that a creature hitherto denied the gift of speech shall lift up its voice in the praise of its Maker."

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