Polish Hunting Club of Canada

Saint Hubert is, first of all, the patron saint of hunters, but also butchers and traders. According to legend, he lived in the 7th century AD. Before he became a missionary and then a bishop, however, he led a frivolous lifestyle. He hunted, ate and drank a lot. The way he converted is not without significance. Well, one of the hunts was approached by a deer. When he reached him and was ready to javelin the beast, he suddenly saw a glowing crucifix between the stalks of the deer wreath. He took this event as a sign of heaven, showing him a new way of life. The cult around his character grew over time, creating an ever richer legend. He is often depicted in the paintings as a bishop. Another time, and probably more dear to us, he is shown as a young man wearing a hunting outfit.

Anyone who has read "The Teutonic Knights" by Henryk Sienkiewicz at least once will not forget the history of Maciek from Bogdaniec. When the old knight was treacherously shot with a crossbow, when he tried to pull out the bolt, the barb from him broke off and got stuck in his life. The unfortunate man was already getting ready to die, but Father Cybek, the royal court physician, told him to try bear fat, because if you get fat in a man, you can have a splinter that spins out. In view of the above, Zbyszko, as a good nephew, immediately after returning home, he ordered the poor bear to buy medicine for his uncle. After drinking a few quarts of the fat, the barb actually fell out, and Maćko regained his humor so much that for breakfast he ate a pot of beer (four liters), a half-loaf of bread and twenty eggs.

The use of bear fat described here is, of course, a literary fiction, a product of the fertile pen of our great Nobel Prize winner, who thus found the perfect excuse to include in the novel a captivating fight with a bear. Historical records show, however, that medieval medicine used various parts of animals as ingredients in the preparation of medicinal potions, decoctions and elixirs. The description of some ingredients can make even relatively resistant people nauseous, for the sake of historical truth it is worth recalling some basic animal medicines, without which our ancestors simply could not do.