(via Porter & Jenkinson)
A Vegetable Lamb, or Cotton Plant, John Mandeville
“There grew there [in India] a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches. These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungrie.” — John Mandeville, 1350
"Jehan de Mandeville", translated as "Sir John Mandeville", is the name claimed by the compiler of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, a book account of his supposed travels, which probably first appeared in Anglo-Norman French, and first circulated between 1357 and 1371.
By aid of translations into many other languages it acquired extraordinary popularity. Despite the extremely unreliable and often fantastical nature of the travels it describes, it was used as a work of reference —Christopher Columbus, for example, was heavily influenced by both this work and Marco Polo’s earlier Il Milione (Adams 53).