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14. The larch, known only to the people of the towns on the banks of the river Po and the shores of the Adriatic, is not only preserved from decay and the worm by the great bitterness of its sap, but also it cannot be kindled with fire nor ignite of itself, unless like stone in a limekiln it is burned with other wood. And even then it does not take fire nor produce burning coals, but after a long time it slowly consumes away. This is because there is a very small proportion of the elements of fire and air in its composition, which is a dense and solid mass of moisture and the earthy, so that it has no open pores through which fire can find its way; but it repels the force of fire and does not let itself be harmed by it quickly. Further, its weight will not let it float in water, so that when transported it is loaded on shipboard or on rafts made of fir.

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