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There is also a snake1 which lives in the water, the fat and gall of which, carried about them by persons when in pursuit of the crocodile, are said to be marvellously efficacious, the beast not venturing, in such case, to make an attack upon them. As such preservative, they are still more effectual if mixed with the herbaceous plant known as potamogiton.2 River-crabs,3 taken fresh and beaten up and drunk in water, or the ashes of them, kept for the purpose, are useful in all cases of poisoning, as a counter-poison: taken with asses' milk they are particularly serviceable as a neutralizer of the venom of the scorpion; goats' milk or any other kind of milk being substituted where asses' milk cannot be procured. Wine, too, should also be used in all such cases. River-crabs, beaten up with ocimum,4 and applied to scorpions, are fatal to them. They are possessed of similar virtues, also, for the bites of all other kinds of venomous animals, the scytale5 in particular, adders, the sea-hare, and the bramble-frog. The ashes of them, preserved, are good for persons who give symptoms of hydrophobia after being bitten by a mad dog, some adding gentian as well, and administering the mixture in wine. In cases, too, where hydrophobia has already appeared, it is recommended that these ashes should be kneaded up into boluses with wine, and swallowed. If ten of these crabs are tied together with a handful of ocimum,6 all the scorpions in the neighbourhood, the magicians say, will be attracted to the spot. They recommend, also, that to wounds inflicted by the scorpion, these crabs, or the ashes of them, should be applied, with ocimum. For all these purposes, however, sea-crabs, it should be remembered, are not so useful. Thrasyllus informs us that there is nothing so antagonistic to serpents as crabs; that swine, when stung by a serpent, cure themselves by eating them; and that, while the sun is in the sign of Cancer,7 serpents suffer the greatest tortures.

The flesh, too, of river-snails, eaten either raw or boiled, is an excellent antidote to the venom of the scorpion, some persons keeping them salted for the purpose. These snails are applied, also, topically to the wound.

The coracinus8 is a fish peculiar to the river Nilus, it is true, but the particulars we are here relating are for the benefit of all parts of the world: the flesh of it is most excellent as an application for the cure of wounds inflicted by scorpions. In the number of the poisonous fishes we ought to reckon the sea-pig,9 a fish which causes great suffering to those who have been pierced with the pointed fin upon its back: the proper remedy in such case is the slime taken from the other parts of the body of the fish.

1 The Enhydris, probably. See B. xxx. c. 8.

2 See B. xxvi. c. 33.

3 "Cancri fluviatiles." Our crawfish, the Potamobios of Leach.

4 See B. xix. cc. 31, 36, 44, and B. xx. c. 48.

5 It is difficult to say whether he means the shrew-mouse here, the bite of which was supposed to be poisonous, or the serpent called Scytale, mentioned by Lucan, B. ix. 1. 717.

6 See Note 44 above.

7 The Crab. This is giving the serpent credit for too much wisdom; an acquaintance, in fact, with the fantastic names which mankind have bestowed upon the signs of the Zodiac.

8 See B. ix. c. 32.

9 The same as the Orbis or Orthagoriscus of Chapters 5 and 9 of this Book, the Mola or sun-fish of the Mediterranean. See B. ix. c. 17.

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