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Gentlemen, quoth Esop, I remember you derided my dialogue of the daws and crows; and now you can admire and believe as improbable a story of dolphins. You are mightily out, said I, for this is no new story which we believe, but it is recorded in the annals of Ino and Athamas above a thousand years ago. These passages are supernatural, quoth Solon, and much above our reason; what befell Hesiod is of a lower kind, and more proper for our discourse, and if you have not heard of it before, it is worth your hearing.

Hesiod was once entertained at the same house in Locris with a certain Milesian. In this his sojourning time it happened the gentleman's daughter was got with child by the Milesian; which being discovered, the whole [p. 37] family concluded Hesiod, if not guilty, must be privy to the fact. His innocence was but a weak fence against their jealousy and aspersions; and therefore, rashly censuring him guilty, the brothers of the woman waylaid him in his return home, and slew him and his companion Troilus near the temple of Nemean Jove in Locris. Their carcasses they threw into the sea; that of Troilus was carried into the river Daphnus, and rested upon a certain rock compassed with waters, just above the surface of the sea, which rock bears his name to this day. The body of Hesiod was no sooner fallen upon the surface of the water, but a company of dolphins received it, and conveyed it to Rhium and Molycria. It happened the Locrians were assembled at Rhium that day to feast and make merry, according to the custom which continues still among them. As soon as they perceived a carcass floating or rather swimming towards them, they hastened, not without admiration, to see what it was; and knowing the body to be Hesiod's, they instantly resolved to find out the murderers. It proved an easy discovery. After conviction they threw them headlong alive into the sea, and ordered their houses to be demolished to the very foundations. The body they buried in the grove of the temple of Jove, that no foreigner might find it out; the reason of this act was that the Orchomenians had searched far and near for it at the instigation of the oracle, who promised them the greatest felicity if they could get the bones of Hesiod and bury them in their city. Now if dolphins are so favorable to dead men, it is very probable they have a strong affection for the living, especially for such as delight in music, whether vocal or instrumental. And this we know undoubtedly, that these creatures delight infinitely in music; they love it, and if any man sings or plays as he sails along in fair weather, they will quietly swim by the side of the ship, and listen till the [p. 38] music is ended. When children bathe in the water and sport themselves, you shall have a parcel of them flock together and sport and swim by them; and they may do it the more securely, since it is a breach of the law of Nature to hurt them. You never heard of any man that fishes for them purposely or hurts them wilfully, unless falling into the nets they spoil the sport, and so, like naughty children, are corrected for their misdemeanors. I very well remember the Lesbians told me how a maid of their town was preserved from drowning by them.

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