The Sacred Cod of Massachusetts-1-.jpg

The Sacred Cod is a four-foot, eleven-inch carved-wood effigy of an Atlantic codfish, "painted to the life", hanging in the House of Represen­ta­tives chamber of Boston's Massachusetts State House—​"a memorial of the importance of the Cod-Fishery to the welfare of this Commonwealth" (i.e. Massachusetts, of which cod is officially the "historic and contin­u­ing symbol"). The Sacred Cod has gone through as many as three incarnations over three centuries: the first (if it really existed—​the authoritative source calling it a "prehistoric creature of tradition") was lost in a 1747 fire, the second disappeared during the American Revolution, and the third is the one seen in the House today.

Sacred Cod in "Bedfellows"[]

When W and O arrived at the Massachusetts State House in Boston to be married, one photographer from a large group asked if the two would mind posing in front of the Sacred Cod for a photo. W genially agreed but O frowned and refused on the grounds that it was a graven image, and would not be well received by his fans in Riyadh and Kandahar.[1]

Sacred Cod in Southern Victory[]

George Enos Jr. had learned in school about the Sacred Cod, which was made of wood and gilded. George, his mother, and sister, saw President Theodore Roosevelt speak at the New State House, but were unable to enter and see the fish for themselves.[2]


  1. See eg, Atlantis and Other Places, pg. 70, HC.
  2. Blood and Iron, p. 266, HC.