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The next thing to be mentioned is the woodcock. Aristophanes, in his Storks, says—
The woodcock, most delicious meat to boil,
Fit dish for conqueror's triumphal feast.
And Alexander the Myndian says that it is a bird a little larger than a partridge, and spotted all over the back, about the colour of earthenware, but a little more ruddy. And it is caught by the hunters, because it is a heavy flyer in consequence of the shortness of its wings; and it is a bird fond of dusting itself, and very prolific, and it feeds on seeds.1 But Socrates, in his treatise on Boundaries, and Places, and Fire, and Stones, says,—“The woodcock having been transported into Egypt from Lydia, and having been let loose in the woods there, for some time uttered a sound like a quail: but after the river got low, and a great scarcity arose, in which a great many of the natives of the country died, they never ceased uttering, as they do to this day, in a voice more distinct than that of the very clearest speaking children, ' Threefold evils to the wicked doers.' But when they are caught it is not only impossible to tame them, but they even cease to utter any sound at all; but if they are let go again, they recover their voice.” And Hipponax mentions them thus—
Not eating woodcocks or the timid hare.
And Aristophanes, in his Birds, mentions them also. And in his Acharnians he speaks of them as being very common in the district about Megara. And the Attic writers circumflex the noun in a manner quite contrary to analogy. For words of more than two syllables ending in ας, when the final α is long, are barytones; as for instance, ἀκάμας, σακάδας, ἀδάμας. And we ought also to read the plural ἀττάγαι, and not ἀτταγῆνες.

[p. 611]

1 I have translated ἀτταγᾶς the woodcock, because that is always considered to be the bird meant, but it is plain that the description here given does not apply in the least to the woodcock. In some particulars it is more like the landrail.

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