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Perhaps, sir, said I, what you have alleged may be some reason; but pray consider whether first they do not hate the swallow upon the same account that they abhor hook-clawed animals. For the swallow feeds on flesh; and grasshoppers, which are sacred and musical, they chiefly devour and prey upon. And, as Aristotle observes, they fly near the surface of the earth to pick up the little animals. Besides, that alone of all house-animals makes no return for her entertainment. The stork, though she is neither covered, fed, nor defended by us, yet pays for the place where she builds, going about and killing the efts, [p. 421] snakes, and other venomous creatures. But the swallow, though she receives all those several kindnesses from us, yet, as soon as her young are fledged, flies away faithless and ungrateful; and (which is the worst of all) of all house-animals, the fly and the swallow only never grow tame, suffer a man to touch them, keep company with or learn of him. And the fly is so shy because often hunted and driven away; but the swallow naturally hates man, suspects, and dares not trust any that would tame her. And therefore,—if we must not look on the outside of these things, but opening them view the representations of some things in others,-Pythagoras, setting the swallow for an example of a wandering, unthankful man, adviseth us not to take those who come to us for their own need and upon occasion into our familiarity, and let them partake of the most sacred things, our house and fire.
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