Making and Knowing
A minimal edition of BnF Ms Fr 640 in English Translation

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Moulding turtles and tortoises

The turtle the one that lives in water is more beautiful to mold because it has prettier scales and straight legs. And the tortoises have crooked ones. They eat a lot. To get ready to kill them, open their mouth and pass a long penknife through all the intestines. And then make it swallow some vinegar mixed with spirits or urine, as one does for snakes. It is necessary to mould them in several pieces, and even the back sometimes because the sides of certain ones are narrower than others and in this instance do not release from the cast. To make them die, you must not boil them, because they come apart, even the shell, in the hot water. They the shells come out better when hollowed because their great thickness spoils the mold. Turtles are more lively. The tortoises are leaner, slower, and more sleepy. If you scratch turtles on their shells, no matter how sleepy they are, they move; tortoises do not.

at left top margin of folio 143r

They turtles/tortoises die rather quickly in vinegar mixed with a little spirits or urine, as with all other animals.

at left top margin of folio 143r

They turtles/tortoises keep their eyes closed in the winter, and appear as dead, having been numbed by the cold. They hide in the earth or under balls of grain or warm manure, and survive only on the dampness of the earth.

at left middle margin of folio 143r

You must not mold them too soon after they die because they are still stiff. But on the day after, you will be able to manipulate them and bend their legs as you wish.