The Ranglawoth

We were at an Ursulan feast, and I noticed that the banners with pictures of the Ursulan heraldic mascot looked less like a bear than a sort of mishmash of penguin, sloth and rat. Being a herald, I knew instinctively that this was a new kind of heraldic beast (or monster, as they’re properly called) and I resolved to research it. These are the results of my long, arduous investigations.

[January 2000]

Eleven thousand virgins, maids and martyrs
Live within this college, so I’ve heard,
And each is just as sweet and pure of heart as
Saint Ursula could wish – they give their word!

And there upon the wall you see the reason:
The mighty beast to whom they pledge their troth.
With head of rat and tail of fairy penguin,
And slothly feet, the mythic Ranglawoth!

The Ranglawoth in all ways aids the college,
Its many features act as guide and goal.
To know these folk, you must attain their knowledge
Of that creation’s heart and mind and soul.

The rat, whose head the beast is plainly wearing,
Is clever, and adapts to any fix.
It lives, nor ever worrying nor caring,
In palace grand or hovel made of sticks.

The sloth, whose legs adorn the mighty creature,
Is careful, wasting not his work or time,
For laziness, no fault it is but feature!
Excessive effort, that’s the greater crime!

The penguin, who has lent the beast its tail,
Appears to lack for flight, although a bird,
But in its proper realm it does not fail,
As in their own these folk are undeterred.

And so they live with clever, rat-like cunning,
And rest, as nature teaches, like the sloth,
And strive like penguins, ever in the running;
Emulating thus the Ranglawoth.