One of the more legendary pranks involved some Harvard students stealing the Sacred Cod from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. This five-foot pine carving of a codfish hangs suspended above the entrance to the chamber of the House. It was there as a symbol of the importance of the cod on early Massachuetts history.
It's a quirky decoration; the kind that's tempting to mess with by irreverend college students.
THE PILFERED COD
By James J. Montague
From Winthrop Beach to Bunker Hill,
From Cambridge to Revere,
The voice of happiness was still,
One heard no note of cheer.
A pallor whitened every face.
All eyes were red and swollen;
A dreadful crime had taken place —
The Codfish had been stolen.
The Fish that symbolized a trade
Which, in the days of old,
The shores of old New England made
A strand of shining gold,
The Fish that millions came to view
With ardent admiration,
The Fish whose fame has echoed to
The Corners of the nation.
When first I set my roving feet
Upon Bostonian sod,
I hastened blithely up the street
To view the Sacred Cod,
And in its dull and glassy eyes,
The instant of our meeting,
I fancied that I saw arise
A glance of cordial greeting.
Today there is an end of grief;
No more the skies loom black;
A chastened and repentant thief
Has brought the Codfish back.
No Stygian gloom now broods around,
No heart with woe is freighted;
Bostonian pulses leap and bound —
The Cod is reinstated.