Folio 48r Translation and Transcription
||Folio 48r Translation
remarkably, the swallow creates a regularly-proportioned home for itself without any assistance, like a skilled craftsman. For it gathers bits of straw in its mouth and smears them with mud so that they stick together; but because it cannot carry the mud in its claws, it dips the tips of its wings in water, so that dust sticks to them easily and turns into slime, with which to gather to itself bits of straw or tiny twigs, a few at a time, and makes them stick. It makes the whole fabric of the nest in this fashion, in order that its young can live safely as if on a solid floor in houses on the ground, lest any of them insert a foot between the small gaps in the woven fabric or the cold should get to the very young.
This conscientiousness is fairly common among most birds, yet what is distinctive about the swallow is its special loving care, shrewd intelligence and the extraordinary quality of its understanding. Then there is its skill in the arts of healing: if its young are infected by blindness or pricked in the eye, it has some kind of healing power with which it can restore their vision.
The swallow, as this example proves, can be taken to represent, in some cases, pride of mind; in others, the repentance of the afflicted heart.
That the swallow signifies pride is illustrated by Tobit: When he lay down beside a wall, says Tobit, and fell asleep, it happened that warm excrement fell on his eyes from a swallows' nest as he slept and he became blind (see Tobit, 2:10). Bede Commentarys on this: 'The swallow, on account of its lightness in flight, represents pride and levity of heart; their impurity causes immediate blindness, and prevents one from seeing what he is.
That we should interpret the swallow as the contrite heart is demonstrated by the prophet, who says: 'Like a crane or a swallow, so will I chatter' (see Isaiah, 38:14). We understand by the swallow, therefore, a discerning teacher; by the swallow's young, the teacher's disciple, crying out; by the cry, a contrite heart. The fledgling cries out as the disciple asks his teacher to preach to him. The fledgling cries out as, by confession, the disciple shows his teacher the contrition in his heart. If you know the cry