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CHAP. 13. (13.)—DRAGONS.

Æthiopia produces dragons, not so large as those of India, but still, twenty cubits in length.1 The only thing that surprises me is, how Juba came to believe that they have crests.2 The Æthiopians are known as the Asachæi, among whom they most abound; and we are told, that on those coasts four or five of them are found twisted and interlaced together like so many osiers in a hurdle, and thus setting sail, with their heads erect, they are borne along upon the waves, to find better sources of nourishment in Arabia.

1 Cuvier states, that in India and America there are serpents of the genus boa, or python, thirty feet or more in length. He observes, that there are various species of aquatic reptiles in the seas of India, but that they never swim twisted together, or with their heads elevated. Ælian gives an account of the great size of the dragons in Æthiopia.—B.

2 Cuvier remarks, that there are no serpents with crests on the head, and that Juba must have been thinking probably of some animal of the genus lacertus, when he made this statement. We may here remark, that the "basiliscus," or "king of serpents," was said by the poets to have a crown on its head, as denoting its kingly rank. See c. 33 of this Book.

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