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The dragon1 is a serpent destitute of venom. Its head, placed beneath the threshold of a door, the gods being duly propitiated by prayers, will ensure good fortune to the house, it is said. Its eyes, dried and beaten up with honey, form a liniment which is an effectual preservative against the terrors of spectres by night, in the case of the most timorous even. The fat adhering to the heart, attached to the arm with a deer's sinews in the skin of a gazelle, will ensure success in law-suits, it is said; and the first joint of the vertebræ will secure an easy access to persons high in office. The teeth, attached to the body with a deer's sinews in the skin of a roebuck, have the effect of rendering masters indulgent and potentates gracious, it is said.

But the most remarkable thing of all is a composition, by the aid of which the lying magicians profess to render persons invincible. They take the tail and head of a dragon, the hairs of a lion's forehead with the marrow of that animal, the foam of a horse that has won a race, and the claws of a dog's feet: these they tie up together in a deer's skin, and fasten them alternately with the sinews of a deer and a gazelle. It is, however, no better worth our while to refute such pretensions as these, than it would be to describe the alleged remedies for injuries inflicted by serpents, seeing that all these contrivances are so many evil devices to poison2 men's morals.

Dragon's fat will repel venomous creatures; an effect which is equally produced by burning the fat of the ichneumon.3 They will take to flight, also, at the approach of a person who has been rubbed with nettles bruised in vinegar.

1 Some serpent of the boa species, probably. See B. viii. cc. 13, 14, 22, 41, and B. x. cc. 5, 92, 95, 96.

2 By leading them to confound truth with fiction.

3 See B. viii. c. 35.

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