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Odd phenomena were observed in these mountains. In addition to the wood for shipbuilding, the region contained a large number of snakes remarkable for their size; they reached a length of sixteen cubits.1 There were also many varieties of monkey, differing in size, which had themselves taught the Indians the method of their capture. [2] They imitate every action that they see, but cannot well be taken by force because of their strength and cleverness. The hunters, however, in the sight of the beasts, smear their eyes with honey, or fasten sandals about their ankles, or hang mirrors about their necks.2 Then they go away, having attached fastenings to the shoes, having substituted birdlime for honey, and having fastened slip nooses to the mirrors. [3] So when the animals try to imitate what they had seen, they are rendered helpless, their eyes stuck together, their feet bound fast, and their bodies held immovable. That is the way in which they become easy to catch.3 [4]

Sasibisares,4 the king who had not moved in time to help Porus in the battle, was frightened, and Alexander forced him to accept his orders. Then Alexander resumed his march to the east, crossed the river, and continued on through a region of remarkable fertility. [5] It possessed strange kinds of trees which reached a height of seventy cubits, were so thick that they could scarcely be embraced by four men, and cast a shadow of three plethra.5

This country possessed a multitude of snakes, small and variously coloured.6 [6] Some of them looked like bronze rods, others had thick, shaggy crests, and their bites brought sudden death. The person bitten suffered fearful pains and was covered with a bloody sweat. [7] The Macedonians, who were much affected by the bites, slung their hammocks from trees7 and remained awake most of the night. Later, however, they learned from the natives the use of a medicinal root and were freed from these fears.8

1 Twenty-four feet, apparently no impossible length for a python. Their mention is credited to Nearchus (Jacoby, Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, no. 133, F 10a) and to Cleitarchus (op. cit. no. 137, F 18). The former reference comes from Arrian Indica 15.10, the latter from Aelian De Natura Animalium 17.2. Many of these and later anecdotes about India appear in Strabo 15.1.20-45, from the same sources.

2 The handles of ancient mirrors are often pierced for cords to carry them by. Such loops could be slipped over one's head.

3 This story is from Cleitarchus (Jacoby, op. cit. 137, F 19) and is repeated at greater length in Aelian De Natura Animalium 17.25.

4 He has previously been called Embisarus (chap. 87.2) For his surrender cp. Curtius 9.1.7-8 (his submission is only implied): Arrian. 5.20.5.

5 Perhaps three-quarters of an acre. The tree is presumably the banyan. Cp. Strabo 15.1.21, who quotes Onesicritus (Jacoby, op. cit. no. 134, F 22) to the effect that they could scarcely be embraced by five men, and could give shade to four hundred horsemen, but adds that Aristobulus (Jacoby, op. cit. no. 139, F 36) says that they could shade fifty horsemen.

6 Mentioned also by Nearchus (Jacoby, op. cit. no. 133, F 10; Arrian Indica 15.10) and Cleitarchus (Jacoby, op. cit. no. 137, F 18; Aelian De Natura Animalium 18.2).

7 According to Nearchus (loc. cit.), this is what the natives did.

8 Curtius 9.1.12.

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