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All the other birds of the same kind drive their young ones from their nest, and compel them to fly; the raven, for instance, which not only feeds on flesh, but even drives its young, when able to fly, to a still greater distance. Hence it is that in small hamlets there are never more than two1 pairs to be found; and in the neighbourhood of Crannon, in Thessaly, never more than one, the parents always quitting the spot to give place to their offspring. There have been some differences observed between this and the bird last mentioned. Ravens breed before the summer solstice, and continue in bad health for sixty days—Being afflicted with a continual thirst more particularly—Before the ripening of the fig in autumn; while, on the other hand, the crow is attacked by disease after that period. The raven lays, at most, but five eggs. It is a vulgar belief, that they couple, or else lay, by means of the beak; and that, consequently, if a pregnant woman happens to eat a raven's egg, she will be delivered by the mouth. It is also believed, that if the eggs are even so much as brought beneath the roof, a difficult labour will be the consequence. Aristotle denies it, and assures us in all good faith that there is no more truth in this than in the same story about the ibis in Egypt; he says that it is nothing else but that same sort of billing that is so often seen in pigeons.2 Ravens are the only birds that seem to have any comprehension of the meaning of their auspices; for when the guests of Medus3 were assassinated, they all took their departure from Peloponnesus and the region of Attica. They are of the very worst omen when they swallow their voice, as if they were being choked.

1 Only the case with the large raven, or Corvus corax of Linnæus, the others living in flocks.

2 Doé says, that this is incorrect; the beak of the raven not being of a similar form to that of the pigeon.

3 Or else, "The Median guests. "It is not known to what he alludes. Alexander ab Alexandro says, that both Alexander the Great and Cicero were warned of their deaths by the raven.

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