Of honey-laden bees I first was born, But in the forest grew my outer coat; My shoes from tough hides came. An iron point In artful windings cuts a fair design, And leaves long, twisted furrows, like a plow.... (Riddle 32: Pitman 18-19)
This riddle poem was written in Latin in the 7th century AD by Bishop Adhelm. Any ideas?
When I read it, I already knew to what it was referring and found it absolutely delightful! And for it to be 7the century to boot... very cool... I love old writings...
Have you guessed it by now?
The answer is a wax tablet! Now reread it and you'll see it become crystal clear before your eyes.
Born of honey bees would be the wax writing surface... the outer coat being the wooden tablet itself.
They were often carried in leather bags - that being the shoes from hide. An iron point would be the tip of the stylus, which brings me to the most visually stimulating part of the riddle "in artful windings cuts a fair design, and leaves long, twisted furrows, like a plow"... dang! I love that... I've read that when writing in the wax with the stylus, it can pull of curls of wax as it goes... like the furrows left from plowing the earth. Cool, huh?
With that in mind, I'm pleased to announce that we're making real bona fide (as close to bona fide as we can) ancient wax tablets! I'm so excited....truly. I am.. I love history. I love old things....and I love being able to put something in the kids' hands that they've read about people in Ancient Rome using. I am seriously happy about doing this.
So, Darren cut out the tablets.... they are about 5" x 8 1/4"
I went to Hobby Lobby and found two blocks of natural colored beeswax and some concentrated candle dye.
If you want to read more on the history of wax tablets, I enjoyed what I found here... (this is also the source of the riddle I shared ...)