Species Mentioned: The baleen of a whale, possibly a right whale (E. glacialis) from the now extinct east Atlantic population.
Source: ‘The Dream of Rhonabwy’, which you might remember from its reference to the supposedly extinct pine tree.
Date of Source: Most probably c.1220-1309.
Highlights: One of the knights of the story has a belt made of a whale’s eyelash. The problems are (i) whales don’t have eyelashes and (ii) you couldn’t make a belt out of them if they did!
The phrase is now being translated for the first time as baleen, which is called the whale’s eyelash in Irish and German sources.
The main part of the blog post has been hosted and peer reviewed by the Medieval Animal Data Network scholarly blog. Go read the rest here!