Latin name: Aspidochelone
Other names: Aspido Covie, Aspidochelone, Aspidohelunes, Aspidotestudo, Aspischelone, Aspito Chelone, Balain, Balayn, Balena, Balene, Belua, Cete, Cethe, Cethegrande, Ceto, Chete, Chetho, Coine, Covie, Fascilon, Fastitocalon, Hualr, Hval, Lacovie testudo, Physeter, Pister, Pistris, Pyster, Walfisch
Category: Fish

Sailors mistake the whale for an island

General Attributes

The whale remains floating at the surface for long periods, so its back becomes covered with sand. Approaching sailors, thinking the whale to be an island, land there and build a fire to cook their food. After a time the heat penetrates the whale's thick skin, and it dives to cool itself. The ship is dragged down with it and the sailors drown.

When the whale is hungry it opens its mouth and emits a sweet odor, which attracts small fish. The fish swim into the whale's mouth, which closes on them.

The pyster is the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus); it is found in some medieval encyclopedias. It is described as being like a large pillar that is taller than a ship's sails, and to produce a deluge of water.


The whale who deceives sailors and drags them down to their deaths signifies the devil, who deceives those he drags down to hell. Those of weak faith who give in to the sweet odor of worldly desires will be swallowed up by the devil.