So, can you, a modern observer, guess what is going on in this wonderfully crafted illustration from a mediaeval manuscript?
What’s your first impression?
When I saw it for the first time, I loved the guy behind the wall who seems to be saying, “Oh, all right, I’ll come later then”.
- It is very likely you know the story!
- These are stones in the apron of the lady.
And check out the Rabit Rabbits and Merry Nuns, if you missed it.
UPDATE AND ANSWERS:
My wonderful reader Neda was spot on with her suggestion that this is a mediaeval view on the Greek myth of Cronos. It is a well-known story, but mediaeval clothes of the characters are muddling the brain.
Cronos came to power by castrating his father Uranus. If this method strikes you as rather extraordinary, think of presidential races, military coups, and Scotland’s vote for independence, metaphorically.
The woman with stones in her apron is Rhea, originally Cronos’ sister, and then his wife. She bore him six kids, and he swallowed five of them after they were born, because of a prophecy that one of his children would overthrow him. It was Zeus who survived after Rhea fed Cronos a stone instead of the newborn boy. Years later, Zeus defeated his father and put him in the underworld Tartarus, a prototype retirement home. Not an unusual son-father relationship, one may say.
Before sending his father off to the underworld, Zeus made him to disgorge his brothers and sisters, one of whom he’d marry later.