A Penis-shortening Device Described by the 13th Century Poet Rumi
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KeywordsPublic Health 13th Century Sexual Behavior Clinical Case Sexual Interaction
There was a maidservant
who had cleverly trained a donkey
to perform the services of a man.
From a gourd,
she had carved a flanged device
to fit on the donkey’s penis,
to keep him from going too far into her.
She had fashioned it just to the point
for her pleasure, and she greatly enjoyed
the arrangement, as often as she could!
Her fire kindled more,
and the donkey politely pushed as she urged him to,
pushed through and into her intestines,
and without a word, she died.
The carved gourd described by Rumi obviously has the same purpose as the device invented by Hildanus: preventing damage by too deep penetration during coitus. Both authors had a different reason to publish though. Hildanus’ goal was purely medical, whereas Rumi teaches us two moral lessons: “Don’t sacrifice your life to your animal soul” and “Don’t open your shop before a Master taught you the craft.” Rumi was right and—three centuries later—might even have inspired Hildanus to craft his remarkable penis-shortening device.
- Barks, C. (1995). The essential Rumi. Edison, NJ: Castle Books.Google Scholar