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And even swans in great plenty were not wanting [p. 620] to our banquets. And Aristotle speaks in the following manner of this bird—“The swan is a prolific bird, and a quarrelsome one. And, indeed, they are so fond of fighting that they often kill one another. And the swan will fight even the eagle; though he does not begin the battle himself. And they are tuneful birds, especially towards the time of their death. And they also cross the seas singing. And they are web-footed, and feed on herbage.” But Alexander the Myndian says, that though he followed a great many swans when they were dying, he never heard one sing. And Hegesianax of Alexandria, who arranged the book of Cephalion, called the History of Troy, says that the Cycnus who fought with Achilles in single combat, was fed in Leucophrys by the bird of the same name, that is, by the swan. But Boius, or Boio, which Philochorus says was his proper name, in his book on the Origin of Birds, says that Cycnus was turned into a bird by Mars, and that when he came to the river Sybaris he was cooped with a crane. And he says, also, that the swan lines his nest with that particular grass which is called lygæa. And concerning the crane (γέρανος), Boius says that there was among the Pygmies a very well known woman whose name was Gerana. And she, being honoured as a god by her fellow-countrymen, thought lightly of those who were really gods, and especially of Juno and Diana. And accordingly Juno, being indignant, metamorphosed her into an unsightly bird, and made her hostile to and hated by the Pygmies who had been used to honour her. And he says, also, that of her and Nicodamas was born the land tortoise. And as a general rule, the man who composed all these fables asserts that all the birds were formerly men.
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