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To these animals we shall annex some others that are equally foreign, and very similar in their properties. To begin then with the chameleon, which Democritus has considered worthy to be made the subject of an especial work, and each part of which has been consecrated to some particular purpose—This book, in fact, has afforded me no small amusement, revealing as it does, and exposing the lies and frivolities of the Greeks.— In size, the chameleon resembles the crocodile last mentioned, and only differs from it in having the back-bone arched at a more acute angle, and a larger tail. There is no animal, it is thought, more1 timid than this, a fact to which it owes its repeated changes of colour.2 It has a peculiar ascendancy over the hawk tribe; for, according to report, it has the power of attracting those birds, when flying above it, and then leaving them a voluntary prey for other animals. Democritus3 asserts that if the head and neck of a chamæleon are burnt in a fire made with logs of oak, it will be productive of a storm attended with rain and thunder; a result equally produced by burning the liver upon the tiles of a house. As to the rest of the magical virtues which he ascribes to this animal, we shall forbear to mention them, although we look upon them as unfounded;4 except, indeed, in some few instances where their very ridiculousness sufficiently refutes his assertions.

The right eye, he says, taken from the living animal and applied with goats' milk, removes diseases of the crystalline humours of the eyes; and the tongue, attached to the body as an amulet, is an effectual preservative against the perils of child-birth. He asserts also that the animal itself will facilitate parturition, if in the house at the moment; but if, on the other hand, it is brought from elsewhere, the consequences, he says, will be most dangerous. The tongue, he tells us, if taken from the animal alive, will ensure a favourable result to suits at law; and the heart, attached to the body with black wool of the first shearing, is a good preservative against the attacks of quartan fever.

He states also that the right fore-paw, attached to the left arm in the skin of the hyena, is a most effectual preservative against robberies and alarms at night; that the pap on the right side is a preventive of fright and panics; that the left foot is sometimes burnt in a furnace with the plant which also has the name of "chamæleon,"5 and is then made up, with some unguent, into lozenges; and that these lozenges, kept in a wooden vessel, have the effect, if we choose to believe him, of making their owner invisible to others; that the possession, also, of the right shoulder of this animal will ensure victory over all adversaries or enemies, provided always the party throws the sinews of the shoulder upon the ground and treads them under foot. As to the left shoulder of the chamæleon, I should be quite ashamed to say to what monstrous purposes Democritus devotes it; how that dreams may be produced by the agency thereof, and transferred to any person we may think proper; how that these dreams may be dispelled by the employment of the right foot; and how that lethargy, which has been produced by the right foot of this animal, may be removed by the agency of the left side.

So, too, head-ache, he tells us, may be cured by sprinkling wine upon the head, in which either flank of a chameleon has been macerated. If the feet are rubbed with the ashes of the left thigh or foot, mixed with sow's milk, gout, he says, will be the result. It is pretty generally believed, however, that cataract and diseases of the crystalline humours of the eyes may be cured by anointing those organs with the gall for three consecutive days; that serpents may be put to flight by dropping some of it into the fire; that weasels may be attracted by water into which it has been thrown; and that, applied to the body, it acts as a depilatory. The liver, they say, applied with the lungs of a bramble-frog, is productive of a similar effect: in addition to which, we are told that the liver counteracts the effects of philtres; that persons are cured of melancholy by drinking from the warm skin of a chamæleon the juice of the plant known by that name; and that if the intestines of the animal and their contents—we should bear in mind that in reality the animal lives without food6—are mixed with apes' urine, and the doors of an enemy are besmeared with the mixture, he will, through its agency, become the object of universal hatred.

We are told, too, that by the agency of the tail, the course of rivers and torrents may be stopped, and serpents struck with torpor; that the tail, prepared with cedar and myrrh, and tied to a double branch of the date-palm, will divide waters that are smitten therewith, and so disclose every- thing that lies at the bottom—and I only wish7 that Democri- tus himself had been touched up with this branch of palm, seeing that, as he tells us, it has the property of putting an end to immoderate garrulity. It is quite evident that this philosopher, a man who has shown himself so sagacious in other respects, and so useful to his fellow-men, has been led away, in this instance, by too earnest a desire to promote the welfare of mankind.

1 It is a timid animal, but Pliny's authorities have exaggerated its timidity.

2 This change of colour is in reality owing to change of locality.

3 A. Gellius tells the same story, B x. c. 12.

4 And therefore harmloss

5 See B xxii. c. 21.

6 See B. viii. c. 51. Flies and gnats are, in reality, its food.

7 One of the few pieces of wit in which Pliny is found to indulge.

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