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The officers1 of Alexander who navigated the Indian seas, have left an account of a marine tree, the foliage of which is green while in the water; but the moment it is taken out, it dries and turns to salt. They have spoken also of bulrushes2 of stone bearing a strong resemblance to real ones, which grew along the sea-shore, as also certain shrubs3 in the main sea, the colour of an ox's horn, branching out in various directions, and red at the tips. These, they say, were brittle, and broke like glass when touched, while, on the other hand, in the fire they would become red-hot like iron, and when cool resume their original colour.

In the same part of the earth also, the tide covers the forests that grow on the islands, although the trees there are more lofty4 than the very tallest of our planes and poplars! The leaves of these trees resemble that of the laurel, while the blossom is similar to the violet, both in smell and colour: the berries resemble those of the olive, and they, too, have an agreeable smell: they appear in the autumn, and the leaves of the trees never fall off. The smaller ones are entirely covered by the waves, while the summits of those of larger size protrude from the water, and ships are made fast to them; when the tide falls the vessels are similarly moored to the roots. We find the same persons making mention of certain other trees which they saw out at sea, which always retained their leaves, and bore a fruit very similar to the lupine.

1 The companions of Onesicritus and Nearchus.

2 Fée hazards a conjecture that this may be the Gorgonia scirpea of Pallas, found in the Indian Seas.

3 One of the Gorgoniæ, Fée thinks; but its characteristics are not sufficiently stated to enable us to identify it.

4 A fable worthy of Sinbad the Sailor!

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