From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Stoats and coats

Standing Stoat   (Public Domain)
For PETA-allergic folks, stoats and coats are practically synonymous.  What is commercially called “ermine” has been coveted by socialites for centuries.

Even Catholic popes and cardinals have gotten in on the ermine act. Wikipedia tells us that they have traditionally used this luxurious fur for “the mozetta cape, and devotional images such as the Infant Jesus of Prague.”

Mary Magdalene was also a fan.  She allegedly wore “a white stoat pelt as a sign of her reformed character.”

Other religions also incorporated stoat coats into their heritages. The Zoroastrians considered these animals to be sacred because of their pure white winter fur.  European legend had it that a stoat would rather be instantly killed by hunters than risk soiling its coat
during the chase.  The Komi people of the Ural Mountains considered stoats to be “symbolic of beautiful and coveted young women.”

However, not everyone was enamored by these short-tailed weasels.  The ancient Irish viewed them as “noxious animals prone to thieving.”  Stoats were also believed “to hold the souls of infants who died before baptism.”


Copyright July 7, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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