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There is a very small fish1 that is in the habit of living among the rocks, and is known as the echeneis.2 It is believed that when this has attached itself to the keel of a ship its pro- gress is impeded, and that it is from this circumstance that it takes its name.3 For this reason, also, it has a disgraceful repute, as being employed in love philtres,4 and for the purpose of retarding judgments and legal proceedings—evil properties, which are only compensated by a single merit that it possesses—it is good for staying fluxes of the womb in pregnant women, and preserves the fœtus up to birth: it is never used, however, for food.5 Aristotle6 is of opinion that this fish has feet, so strong is the resemblance, by reason of the form and position of the fins.

Mucianus speaks of a murex7 of larger size than the purple, with a head that is neither rough nor round; and the shell of which is single, and falls in folds on either side.8 He tells us, also, that some of these creatures once attached themselves to a ship freighted with children9 of noble birth, who were being sent by Periander for the purpose of being castrated, and that they stopped its course in full sail; and he further says, that the shell-fish which did this service are duly honoured in the temple of Venus,10 at Cnidos. Trebius Niger says that this fish is a foot in length, and that it can retard the course of vessels, five fingers in thickness; besides which, it has another peculiar property-when preserved in salt, and applied, it is able to draw up gold which has fallen into a well, however deep it may happen to be.11

1 This is also from Aristotle, Hist. Anim. 1. ii. c. 17. Oppian also mentions it, Halieut. B. i. 1. 223, et seq., but he gives it all the character- istics of the modern lamprey.

2 This is the Echeueis remora of Linnæus, Cuvier says. It has upon the head an organ, by means of which it can attach itself to any body. It is thus enabled to fasten to ships and larger fishes; but as for staving a ship, it has not, as Cuvier remarks, the slightest power over the very smallest boat. All the eloquence, therefore, which Pliny expends upon it, in B. xxxii. c. 1, is entirely thrown away.

3 ᾿απὸ τοῦ ἒχειν νῆας. "From holding back ships."

4 Used for the purpose of bringing back lost love, or preventing incon- stancy.

5 Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B, ii. c. 17.

6 Hardouin says that it is very possible that Aristotle may have written to this effect in some one of the fifty books of his that have perished, but that such is not the case in his account given of this fish in his Hist. Anim. B. ii. c. 17, for there he expressly says, "There are some people that say this fish has feet, whereas it has none at all; but they are deceived by the fins, which bear a resemblance to feet." Cuvier says he cannot see in what way the fins of the remora, or sucking-fish, resemble feet, any more than those belonging to any other fish.

7 Cuvier says, that the shell-fish to which Pliny here ascribes a power similar to that of the remora, is, if we may judge from his description of it, of the genus called Cypræa, and has very little doubt that its peculiar form caused its consecration to Venus, fully as much as its supposed miraculous powers. He also remarks that Hardouin, in his Note upon this passage, supposes an impossibility, in suggesting that the lips of this shellfish can bite the sides of a ship; these lips or edges being hard and immoveable. For some curious particulars as to the peculiar form of some kinds of Cypræa, or cowry, and why they more especially attracted attention, and were held sacred to Venus, see the discussion on them, in the Defence made by Apuleius against the charge of sorcery, which was brought against him.

8 Rondelet, B. xiii. c. 12, says that this kind of shell was formerly used for the purpose of smoothing paper.

9 Herodotus tells us, B. iii. c. 48, that these were 300 boys of noble families of the Corcyræans, and that they were being sent from Periander of Corinth, to Alyattes, king of Sardes.

10 Venus was fabled to have emerged from the sea in a shell.

11 Rabelais refers to these wonderful stories about the echeneis or remora, B. iv. c. 62: "And indeed, why should he have thought this difficult, seeing that——an echeneis or remora, a silly, weakly fish, in spite of all the winds that blow from the thirty-two points of the compass, will in the midst of a hurricane make you, the biggest first-rate, remain stock still, as if she were becalmed, or the blustering tribe had blown their last; nay, and with the flesh of that fish, preserved with salt, you may fish gold out of the deepest well that ever was sounded with a plummet; for it will certainly draw up the precious metal."

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