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 This writer says that he saw skins of the myrmeces (or ants), which dig up gold, as large as the skins of leopards. Megasthenes, however, speaking of the myrmeces, says, among the Derdæ a populous nation of the Indians, living towards the east, and among the mountains, there was a mountain plain of about 3000 stadia in circumference; that below this plain were mines containing gold, which the myrmeces, in size not less than foxes, dig up. They are excessively fleet, and subsist on what they catch. In winter they dig holes, and pile up the earth in heaps, like moles, at the mouths of the openings. The gold-dust which they obtain requires little preparation by fire. The neighbouring people go after it by stealth, with beasts of burden; for if it is done openly, the myrmeces fight furiously, pursuing those that run away, and if they seize them, kill them and the beasts. In order to prevent discovery, they place in various parts pieces of the flesh of wild beasts, and when the myrmeces are dispersed in various directions. they take away the gold-dust, and, not being acquainted with the mode of smelting it, dispose of it in its rude state at any price to merchants.
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