Thirteen For Dinner

Most believe the superstition about thirteen guests at a dinner table drawing the attention of bad luck, misfortune and even death stem from two sources. The earliest from Norse mythology, when trickster Loki, the thirteenth guest, showed up with a bit of mistletoe which ended up killing Balder. Then, of course, there's the biblical spin with the whole Last Supper thing - thirteen guests feast together and before the year is out, someone, most likely the first one to leave the table, is surely going to die. 

Loki, being a jerk. 

In 1898 Savoy Hotel guest, Woolf Joel booked a table at the hotel restaurant for a party of fourteen - one guest was a no show, making it a party of thirteen. Another version cites it was originally a party of thirteen. Host Joel, laughed off some of his more superstitious guests, but lady luck would have the final laugh, as he was shot and killed soon after, by a blackmailer in his Johannesburg office.

Since then, in an effort to avoid such misfortune, the Savoy has provided parties of thirteen with a fourteenth dinner guest in the guise of a black cat named Kaspar. Kaspar stands approximately three feet tall, is carved of wood in an art deco style. He is treated like any other guest and is adorned with a napkin tied about his neck, is given a full setting and is served multiple courses. 

During WWII, poor Kaspar was catnapped by Royal Air Force personnel. Winston Churchill himself, demanded the cat be returned immediately. 

Kaspar has even inspired a children's book, penned by Savoy Writer In Residence, Michael Morpurgo - Kaspar Prince Of Cats. 

Triskaidekaphobics everywhere can rejoice and relax while dining at The Savoy. 

1 comment:

  1. The Jolly Thirteen Club still exits. It's full of fantastic people and no bad luck.