Tuesday, 28 August 2012

St Augustine of Hippos

Archdruid: Today we remember St Augustine of Hippos.

All: That great guardian of hippos.

Archdruid: Both the little hippo.

All: And the great hippo.

Archdruid: The gray hippo.

All: And... er... the other gray hippos?

The definitely-not-a-sermon

Archdruid: We remember the story of how one day, Augustine was walking along the road when he saw a sick baby hippo. And a zookeeper, a safari guide and Bear Grylls had all passed by on the other side. But Augustine took that hippo, and bound it up, and cared for it. And since it had no parents, he taught it to fly...

All: Taught it to fly?

Archdruid: it had fallen out of its nest. Hippos were much smaller and capable of flight in those days. It's what Evolution is all about.

All: OK, we'll run with it.

Archdruid: In later years, when Augustine was Archbishop of Canterbury, he took that little hippo to England with him. And as he was being blessed by Pope Gregory, the Pope saw the hippo and said unto him, "Non Hippopotamus sed Hippopotami." And gave unto him a second hippo. And Augustine....

All: Eileen, you've jumped the shark here. That was a different Augustine.

Archdruid: Two Augustines?

All: Yes. One of Canterbury, one of hippos. We mean, Hippo.

Archdruid: Strewth. You'll be telling me there were two Dionysi the Areopagites next.

Burton: And I think you'll find the plural of "hippopotamus" is "hippopotamuses".

All: Can it, Burton.


  1. Digital Nun has covered Augustine on her blog. And he doesn't seem to have had anything to do with hippopotamuses in any way, unless it was philosophical.

    But your liturgy seems quite shallow for a Saint who is regarded as a Doctor of the Church and wrote so much stuff, including pointing out the absurdities of sexual matters.

    Give him a break and remember him for who he was.

  2. I discovered the other day that his mother - Monica, a famously dominant character, was an alcoholic and the patron saint of alcoholics. That means that St Augustine was an adult child of an alcoholic. Which explains a lot. Possibly he was also an alcoholic himself, (I am not sure about that) which could explain even more.

    I don't know if he pointed out absurdities of sexual matters but he was famously tormented about them and my personal opinion is that he was responsible for a lot of the church's absurdities over sexual matters then and now.

    Not an entirely happy legacy imo.

  3. My grandmother taught me this one...
    "what is the plural of hippopotamus?"
    Answer "hippopotamus"
    "what is the plural of whataclottamus"
    Answer ....

    1. Reminds me of the Siamese national anthem. Try singing the following lyrics to the tune of "God save the queen":

      O Wa Ta Na Siam!

      An alternative version is

      O Wa Ta Goo Siam!

  4. Bother
    Predictive text has ruined the joke.
    You'll have to work it out for yourselves.
    (gone into the garden to eat worms)

  5. No, no, Monica wasn't an alcoholic! Some people, who were criticized by Augustine for their lies, claimed that she drank a lot, particularly at those parties they used to hold at graves. But I'm sure Augstine was right, and she only imbibed reverently and in appropriate ammounts.

    In some ways, Augustine was a very modern person, who had the girlfriend and son before he married, as was the practice at the time in his social circle. And in our time. He struggled to change this part of his life, as shown in his most famous quote, but that's also fairly typical of humankind.

    I'm concerned about the hippos, though. The last thing I learned about hippos was that they kill more people than any other African animal. There was a horrendous description on TV recently of how it felt to be a hippo's dinner by someone who barely survived (his friend didn't). Somehow, this animal doesn't seem like a suitable focus for Beaker Folk rituals. Perhaps a lemon, or a solemn graveside party or even a place, like Thagaste or Carthage, would be more appropriate.

    And all religious people should be renamed or numbered or something to get rid of confusion due to re-use of the same names.

  6. Kirsten M's joke that is. Cross posted with Cheryl

  7. I like the idea of being numbered. The Psalms tell us that every hair on our heads is numbered, so why shouldn't we be.

    As long as I'm number One and at the front of the line for everything. :)


Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl