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High Castle and Courtyard

Malbork Castle -High Castle and Courtyard

The Medieval Pelican

The pelican of the Middle Ages was thought to pierce herself in her breast in order to feed her blood to her young. Alternate stories tell of how the pelican would kill her young in a fit of pique, and then pierce her breast in later remorse. The blood thus brought forth, falling on the dead chicks, brought them back to life. Generally, depictions of the pelican are meant to indicate Christ the Saviour who shed his blood in a like manner.

In medieval heraldry, a pelican is an eagle-beaked bird always shown plucking at her breast. If shown alone she is blazoned (described in heraldic terms) as "vulning herself". If the young are shown with the parent, she is blazoned as "a pelican in her piety".

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