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Nor would it be right to omit what is said about the fish called anthias, and which I find is looked upon as true by most writers. I have already mentioned1 the Chelidoniæ, certain islands off the coast of Asia; they are situate off a promontory there, in the midst of a sea full of crags and reefs. These parts are much frequented by this fish, which is very speedily taken by the employment of a single method of catching it. A fisherman pushes out in a little boat, dressed in a colour resembling that of his boat; and every day, for several days together, at the same hour, he sails over the same space, while doing which he throws a quantity of bait into the sea. Whatever is thrown from the boat is an object of suspicion to the fish, who keep at a distance from what causes them so much alarm; but after this has been repeated a considerable number of times, one of the fish, reassured by becoming habituated to the scene, at last snaps at the bait. The movements of this one are watched with the greatest care and attention, for in it are centred all the hopes of the fishermen, as it is to be the means of securing them their prey; nor, indeed, is it difficult to recognize it, seeing that for some days it is the only one that ventures to come near the bait. At last, however, it finds some others to follow its example, and by degrees it is better and better attended, till at last it brings with it shoals innumerable. The older ones, at length becoming quite accustomed to the fisherman, easily recognize him, and will even take food from his hands. Upon this, the man throws out, a little way beyond the tips of his fingers, a hook concealed in a bait, and smuggles them out one by one, rather than catches them, standing in the shadow of the boat and whipping them out of the water with a slight jerk, that the others may not perceive it; while another fisherman is ready inside to receive them upon pieces of cloth, in order that no floundering about or other noise may scare the others away. It is of importance to know which has been the betrayer of the others, and not to take it, otherwise the shoal will take to flight, and appear no more for the future.2 There is a story that a fisherman, having quarrelled once with his mate, threw out a hook to one of these leading fishes, which he easily recognized, and so captured it with a malicious intent. The fish, however, was recognized in the market by the other fisherman, against whom he had conceived this malice; who accordingly brought an action against him for damages;3 and, as Mucianus adds, he was condemned to pay them on the hearing of the case. These anthiæ, it is said, when they see one of their number taken with a hook, cut the line with the serrated spines which they have on the back, the one that is held fast stretching it out as much as it can, to enable them to cut it. But among the sargi, the fish itself, that is held fast, rubs the line asunder against the rocks.

1 B. v. c, 35.

2 Oppian, Halieut. B. iii. c. 305, et seq., tells a similar story as to the mode of taking the anthias, with some slight variation, however.

3 "Damni formulam editam."

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