Lent Thought of the Day

Pangur Bán

From the resident Quartz weaving specialist – Alison Fair Bixler

Continuing my ongoing pondering of the BBC radio 4 Daily Service, (about the gifts of talents) I reread the 9th century  poem a monk wrote about his cat Pangur Bán in the margins of the page in the book he was working on. In it the monk compares his work as the calligrapher of a sacred books with the work of his white cat (Pangur Bán) hunting a mouse.

We all have different talents. Rather than worrying if we have a 5 bar of gold talent, or just a 1 bar of gold one – we should use what we have!

The Scholar and his Cat

1. I and White Pangur, each of us in his special craft. His mind is set on hunting; my mind is on my special subject.

2. I love resting (better than any fame) at my book, with diligent understanding; White Pangur is not envious of me; he loves his childish craft.

3. When we are (tale without tiredness), in our house, being alone, we have an endless sport, a thing to which we may apply our skill.

4. It is usual, at times, by feats of valor, that a mouse sticks in his net. As for me, there falls into my net, a difficult rule with hard meaning.

5. He points fiercely against an enclosing wall his eye, bright, perfect. I myself direct against the keenness of knowledge my sharp eye, though it be quite weak.

6. He is happy with swiftness of movement upon a mouse sticking in his sharp paws. Which I understand a difficult pleasant problem, as for me, I am happy, too.

7. Though we may be indeed (like this) at any time, neither disturbs his partner; good to each of us is his art, each rejoices in them.

8. He himself is master of it, the work which he does every day. To bring clarity to difficulty, I am at my own work.

Anon translation – found by Alison can be read at

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