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The bird also, which is called the ibis,2 a native of the same country of Egypt, has shewn us some things of a similar nature. By means of its hooked beak, it laves the body through that part, by which it is especially necessary for health that the residuous food should be discharged. Nor, indeed, are these the only inventions which have been borrowed from animals, to prove of use to man. The power of the herb dittany, in extracting arrows, was first disclosed to us by stags that had been struck by that weapon; the weapon being discharged on their feeding upon this plant.3 The same animals, too, when they happen to have been wounded by the phalangium, a species of spider, or by any insect of a similar nature, cure themselves by eating crabs. One of the very best remedies for the bite of the serpent, is the plant4 with which lizards treat their wounds when injured in fighting with each other. The swallow has shown us that the chelidonia5 is very serviceable to the sight, by the fact of its employing it for the cure of its young, when their eyes are affected. The tortoise recruits its powers of effectually resisting serpents, by eating the plant which is known as cunile bubula;6 and the weasel feeds on rue, when it fights with the serpent in the pursuit of mice.7 The stork cures itself of its diseases with wild marjoram, and the wild boar with ivy, as also by eating crabs, and more particularly those that have been thrown up by the sea.8 The snake, when the membrane which covers its body has been contracted by the cold of winter, throws it off in the spring by the aid of the juices of fennel,9 and thus becomes sleek and youthful in appearance. First of all, it disengages the head, and it then takes no less than a day and a night in working itself out, and divesting itself of the membrane in which it has been enclosed. The same animal, too, on finding its sight weakened during its winter retreat, anoints and refreshes its eyes by rubbing itself on the plant called fennel or marathrum; but if any of the scales are slow in coming off,10 it rubs itself against the thorns of the juniper. The dragon relieves the nausea which affects it in spring, with the juices of the lettuce.11 The barbarous nations go to hunt the panther, provided with meat that has been rubbed with aconite, which is a poison.12 Immediately on eating it, compression of the throat overtakes them, from which circumstance it is, that the plant has received the name of pardalianches.13 The animal, however, has found an antidote against this poison in human excrements; besides which, it is so eager to get at them, that the shepherds purposely suspend them in a vessel, placed so high, that the animal cannot reach them even by leaping, when it endeavours to get at them; accordingly, it continues to leap until it has quite exhausted itself, and at last expires: otherwise, it is so tenacious of life, that it will con- tinue to fight long after its intestines have been dragged out of its body.

When an elephant has happened to devour a chameleon, which is of the same colour with the herbage, it counteracts this poison by means of the wild olive. Bears, when they have eaten of the fruit of the mandrake, lick up numbers of ants.14 The stag counteracts the effect of poisonous plants by eating the artichoke. Wood-pigeons, jackdaws, blackbirds, and partridges, purge themselves once a year by eating bay leaves; pigeons, turtle-doves, and poultry, with wall-pellitory, or helxine; ducks, geese, and other aquatic birds, with the plant sideritis or vervain; cranes, and birds of a similar nature, with the bulrush. The raven, when it has killed a chameleon, a contest in which even the conqueror suffers, counteracts the poison by means of laurel.

1 Cuvier remarks upon this and the following Chapter, that they are entirely fabulous. The diseases, remedies, and instructions given by the animals are equally imaginary, although Pliny has taken the whole from authors of credit, and it has been repeated by Plutarch, De Iside, and by Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. ii. c. 35, and many others. Ajasson, vol. vi. p. 446; Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 426.—B.

2 Cuvier has given an interesting account of the ibis, the opinions entertained of it by various travellers and naturalists, and a detail of the examination which he made of two of its mummies, which were brought by Grobert to Paris, from the wells of Sakhara. These mummies were found to be similar to those previously examined by Buffon, Shaw, and others, and proved the ibis of the ancient Egyptians to have been a species of curlew. This opinion he further supports by a reference to various sculptures and mosaics, where this bird is represented, and he remarks upon the errors into which most travellers and historians have fallen as to it; the only correct account he conceives to be that of the African traveller, Bruce, who describes and figures it under the name of Abou hannès. See the extract in Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 633, et seq., from his Recherches sur les Ossements Fossiles, vol. i. p. 141, et seq. Herodotus gives an account of the ibis, B. i. c. 75, 76, but it is not correct.—B.

3 The fabulous account of the powers of this herb is referred to in B. xxv. c. 53, and supported by the highest authorities; among others, by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. ix. c. 6.; Cicero, De Nat. Deor. B. ii. c. 50; Virgil, Æn. B. xii. c. 412.—B.

4 See B. xxii. c. 45, for a similar cure. It is not known what plant is here alluded to, but it has been thought to be the cinara, or artichoke.

5 The Chelidonium majus of Linnæus. It probably derived its name from the swallow, χελίδων, because its flowers appear at the time that bird makes its first appearance in the spring. This supposed property is mentioned by Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. iii. c. 25. Pliny speaks of its efficacy in diseases of the eyes, B. xxv. c. 50, and c. 91.—B.

6 Pliny speaks of the medical virtues of cunile bubula, in B. xx. c. 61 Columella, B. vi. c. 13, says that it is a cure for scabies. It is not certain what is the plant here referred to; it is considered identical with origanum, by Hardouin, and has been supposed by some to be marjoram, or pennyroyal. The effect of the cunile on the tortoise is mentioned by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. ix. c. 6; by Plutarch, Nat. Quæst.; Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. vi. c. 12; and by Albertus Magnus, B. viii. Tr. ii. c. 2; but there is some difference in their statements. Some speak of it as an antidote, enabling the tortoise to counteract the poison of the serpent, while others regard it as giving the tortoise increased vigour to resist the attacks.

7 Aristotle, ubisupra, and Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. iv. c. 14, refer to this supposed fact, which is without foundation, so far, at least, as the contest of the weasels with the serpents and the rue are concerned. The hostility of the weasel to the mouse is probably correct. Pliny again refers to it, B. xx. c. 51, and it forms the subject of one of Phædrus's Fables, B. iv. c. 2.—B.

8 We have the same account in Plutarch.—B. Plutarch speaks, however, of the river crab.

9 Pliny refers to this effect, B. xx. c. 95; he speaks also of its application to the eyes of the animal; it is probable, that feniculum and marathrum both refer to the same plant; the latter being the ordinary Greek, and the former the Latin, name. This effect of the feniculum is also mentioned by Ælian, B. ix. c. 16.—B.

10 "Si vero squamæ obtorpuere;" Hardouin supposes that this applies particularly to the eyes.—B. There can be little doubt that he is correct in that supposition.

11 Aristotle, ubi supra, and Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. vi. c. 4, state that the dragon takes the juice of the picris into the stomach, when overloaded with food. The exact plant referred to, under that name, cannot be ascertained for certain; but it appears probable, that it is a wild lettuce or endive, or some plant belonging to that family.—B.

12 This effect of aconite, and the antidote for it, are mentioned in B. xxvii. c. 2; they are also mentioned by Aristotle, ubi supra; and by Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. iv. c. 49, and alluded to by Cicero, De. Nat. Deor. B. ii. c. 50. It appears from a statement of Tavernier, as referred to by Hardouin, that the same antidote against poisoned weapons is still employed in the island of Java.—B.

13 From the Greek παρδαλιαγχὴς, "pard-strangle."

14 This is again referred to, B. xxix. c. 39.—B.

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