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King John III Sobieski's otter

Animals (8) >> Picture 92

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This picture was taken from the periodical Le Magasin Pittoresque, Paris, 1837.

This otter used to be the pet of a Polish aristocrat, under the reign of King John III Sobieski (1629 – 1696). It slept in his bed and woke him up any time someone came close to the bedroom, like a dog would do. He also used to rely on his companion to provide him with fish, whenever he had guests, and to take it around with him on his travels. The otter gained the reputation of being such an extraordinary pet, that it soon came to the attention of the King, who decided he needed to have this amazing animal for himself. Our gentleman resisted as much as he could, but one cannot stand in the way of one's king's desires very long, and he painfully resigned himself to part with his friend.
It took a little while for the animal to get used to its new owner, but the two of them finally got along so well that the otter became the king's favorite pet, the one he favored over his tamed lynx and his cassowary. Unfortunately, one day it was wandering around in the gardens of Wilanów Palace, an unsuspecting soldier saw it, and killed it with a stick. He sold the hide for the equivalent of a few shillings. When he learned about this tragedy, the King gave orders for the man to be shot, but later changed his mind.

Keywords: Poland, mammal, aquatic, Magasin Pittoresque, animals,

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