previous next

And Plutarch says that Xenophon is quite correct [p. 615] about the bustard; for that great numbers of these birds are brought to Alexandria from the adjacent parts o Libya; being hunted and caught in this manner. The animal is a very imitative one, the bustard; being especially fond of imitating whatever it sees a man do; and accordingly it does whatever it sees the hunters do. And they, standing opposite to it, anoint themselves under the eyes with some unguent, having prepared other different unguents calculated to close up the eyes and eyelids; and these other unguents they place in shallow dishes near the bustards. And so the bustards, seeing the men anoint themselves under the eyes, do the same thing also themselves, taking the unguents out of these dishes; and by this means they are quickly caught. And Aristotle writes the following account of them:—“It is a migratory bird, with cloven feet, and three toes; of about the size of a large cock, of the colour of a quail, with a long head, a sharp beak, a thin neck, large eyes, a bony tongue, and it has no crop.” But Alexander the Myndian says that it is also called λαγωδίας. And he says, also, that it ruminates, and that it is very fond of the horse; and that if any one puts on a horse's skin he can catch as many as he pleases; for they come up to him then of their own accord. And presently, in another passage, Aristotle tells us, “The bustard is something like the owl, but it is not a bird which flies by night; and it has large feathers about its ears, on which account it is called ὦτος, from ὦτα; and it is about the size of a pigeon, and a great imitator of mankind; and accordingly it is caught by dancing opposite to them.'” And it is in shape something like a man, and it is an imitator of whatever man does. On which account the comic poets call those people who are easily taken in by any one whom they chance to meet, a bustard. Accordingly, in hunting them, the man who is cleverest at it, stands opposite to them and dances; and the birds, looking at the man dancing, move like puppets pulled by strings; and then some one comes behind them, and, without being perceived, seizes on them while they are wholly occupied with the delight they derive from the imitation.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Charles Burton Gulick, 1927)
load focus Greek (Kaibel)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: