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But I marvel at Aristotle, whom these wise men, my excellent Democritus, are so incessantly speaking of and praising, (and whose writings you also esteem highly, as you do those of the other philosophers and orators,) on account of his great accuracy: and I should like to know when he learnt, or from what Proteus or Nereus who came up from the depths he found out, what fish do, or how they go to sleep, or how they live: for all these things he has told us in his writings, so as to be, in the words of the comic poets, “a wonder to fools;” for he says that the ceryx, and indeed that the whole race of shell-fish, are propagated without copulation; and that the purple-fish and the ceryx are longlived. For how could he know that the purple-fish lives six years? and how could he know that the viper takes a long time to propagate his species? or that of all its tribe the longest at that work is the pigeon, the next the œnas, and the quickest is the turtle-dove? And whence did he learn that the horse lives five-and-thirty years, but the mare more than forty? saying, too, that some have lived even seventy-five years. And he also states that from the copulation of lice there are [p. 556] born nits; and that from a worm, after its change, there is produced a caterpillar, from which comes the humble-bee, and from that the larva of the silk-worm. And he also says that bees live to six years of age, and that some live even seven years; and he says that neither bee nor wasp have ever been seen in the act of copulation, on which account no one can ever tell whether they are male or female. And from what did he learn that men are inferior to bees? for these latter always preserve an equal condition of life, being subject to no changes, but employing themselves without ceasing in the collection of honey, and doing that without having been taught by any one to do so: but men are inferior to bees, and as full of fancy as bees are of honey: how, then has Aristotle observed all these things? And in his treatise on Long Life, he says that a fly has been seen which had lived six or seven years. But what proof is there of this?
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