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There are also two other animals, whose urine possesses very wonderful properties. We have heard speak of a small animal, to which the name of leontophonus2 has been given, and which is said to exist only in those countries where the lion is produced; if its flesh is only tasted by the lion, so intensely venomous is its nature, that this lord of the other quadrupeds instantly expires. Hence it is, that the hunters of the lion burn its body to ashes, and sprinkle a piece of flesh with the powder, and so kill the lion by means of the ashes even-so fatal to it is this poison! The lion, therefore, not without good reason hates the leontophonus, and after destroying its sight, kills it without inflicting a bite: the animal, on the other hand, sprinkles the lion with its urine, being well aware that this too is fatal to it.

The urine of the lynx, in the countries3 where that animal is produced, either becomes crystallized, or else hardens into a precious stone, resembling the carbuncle, and which shines like tire.4 This is called lyncurium;5 and hence it is, that many persons believe that this is the way in which amber is produced. The lynx, being well aware of this property, envies us the possession of its urine, and therefore buries it in the earth;6 by this, however, it becomes solid all the sooner.

1 These statements are from the treatise De Mirab. Ausc., but, as Cuvier remarks, are fabulous, Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 470; Ajasson, vol. vi. p. 458.—B.

2 λεοντοφονὸς,the "lion-killer."

3 See c. 30 of this Book.

4 This fable is referred to by Ovid, Metam. B. xv. 1. 414, and by Theophrastus in his Treatise on Stones.

5 See B. xxxvii. c. 11.

6 It is not unusual for animals to cover their excrements with earth, probably from the fact of their being annoyed by the unpleasant odour. —B.

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