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And the same Clearchus says that, in olden time, about Trœzen, it was considered impious to try to catch either the polypus, which was called sacred, or that one which was called the rower. And it was contrary to law to eat either that or the sea-tortoise. But the polypus is a fish very apt to decay, and also very stupid; for it goes towards the hand of the people who are pursuing it: and sometimes even [p. 499] when it is pursued, it does not attempt to get out of the way. Their females waste away after laying their eggs, and get powerless; by reason of which they are easily taken. And sometimes they have been seen leaving the sea, and going on dry land, especially towards any rough or rugged ground; for they shun smooth places: and of all plants they especially delight in the olive, and they are often found embracing the trunk of an olive with their feelers. They have also been discovered clinging to such fig-trees as grow near the seashore, and eating the figs, as Clearchus tells us, in his treatise on those Animals which live in the Water. And this also is a proof that they are fond of the olive,—that if any one drops a branch of this tree down into the sea, in a place where there are polypi, and holds it there a little time, he without any trouble draws up as many polypi as he pleases, clinging to the branch. And all their other parts are exceedingly strong, but their neck is weak.
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