At the present day, there is in the city of Rome a crow which 강서오피 belongs to a Roman of equestrian rank, and was brought from Bætica. It is remarkable for its color, which is of the deepest black, and is able to pronounce several connected 221 words, while repeatedly learning fresh ones. Recently, too, there has been a story told about Craterus of Erizena in Asia, who was in the habit of hunting with the assistance of ravens, and used to carry them into the woods, perched on the tuft of his helmet and on his shoulders. The birds used to keep on the watch for game, and raise it; and by training he had brought this art to such a pitch of perfection, that even the wild ravens would attend him in a similar manner when he went out. Some authors have thought the following circumstance deserving of remembrance:—A crow that was thirsty was seen heaping stones into the urn on a monument, in which there was some rain-water which it could not reach: by thus accumulating the stones, it raised the level of the water till it came within its reach.

I must not pass by the birds of Diomedes in silence. Juba calls them “cataractæ,” and says that they have teeth and eyes of a fiery color, while the rest of the body is white: they always have two chiefs, the one to lead the main body, the other to take charge of the rear, they excavate holes with their bills, and then cover them with hurdles, which they cover again with the earth that has been thus thrown up; in these places they hatch their young; each of these holes has two outlets—one of them looking towards the east, by which they go forth to feed, returning by the one which looks towards the west. In one only spot throughout the whole earth are these birds to be seen—in the island which is famous for the tomb and shrine of Diomedes, lying over against the coast of Apulia: they bear a strong resemblance to the coot. When strangers who are barbarians arrive on that island, they pursue them with loud and clamorous cries, and only show courtesy to Greeks by birth; seeming thereby, with a wonderful discernment, to pay respect to them as the fellow-countrymen of Diomedes. Every day they fill their throats, and cover their feathers, with water, and so wash and purify the temple there. From this circumstance arises the fable 222 that the companions of Diomedes were metamorphosed into these birds.

We ought not to omit, while we are speaking of instincts, that among birds the swallow[186] is quite incapable of being taught, and among land animals the mouse; while on the other hand, the elephant does what it is ordered, the lion submits to the yoke, and the sea-calf and many kinds of fishes are capable of being tamed.

Birds drink by suction; those which have a long neck taking their drink in a succession of draughts, and throwing the head back, as though they were pouring the water down the throat. The porphyrio is the only bird that seems to bite at the water as it drinks. The same bird has also other peculiarities of its own; for it will every now and then dip its food in the water, and then lift it with its foot to its bill, using it as a hand. Those that are the most esteemed are found in Commagene. They have beaks and very long red legs.

KING PENGUIN.—Aptenodytes Pennantii.

All the heavy birds are frugivorous; while those with a 223 higher flight feed upon flesh only. Among the aquatic birds, the divers are in the habit of devouring what the other birds have disgorged.

The pelican is similar in appearance to the swan, and nobody would imagine there was any difference between them, were it not for the fact that under the throat there is a sort of second crop. In this the ever-insatiate animal stows everything away, till the capacity of this pouch is quite astonishing. Having finished its search for prey, it discharges bit by bit what it has thus stowed away, and reconveys it by a sort of ruminating process into its real stomach. The part of Gallia that lies nearest to the Northern Ocean produces this bird.

We hear of a singular kind of bird in the Hercynian Forest, in Germany, the feathers of which shine at night like fire; the other birds there have nothing remarkable beyond the celebrity which generally attaches to objects situated at a distance.

During the civil wars that took place at Bebriacum, beyond the river Padus, the “new birds” were introduced into Italy—for by that name they are still known. They resemble the thrush in appearance, are a little smaller than the pigeon in size, and of an agreeable flavor. The Balearic islands also send us a porphyrio or flamingo, as well as the buteo, a kind of hawk, held in high esteem for the table, and the vipio, the name given to a small kind of crane.

I look upon the birds as fabulous which are called “pegasi,” and are said to have a horse’s head; as also the griffons, with long ears and a hooked beak. The same is my opinion, also, as to the tragopan; many writers, however, assert that it is larger than the eagle, has curved horns on the temples, and a plumage of iron color, with the exception of the head, which is purple. Nor do the sirens obtain any greater credit with me, although Dinon, the father of Clearchus, a celebrated writer, asserts that they exist in India, and that they charm men by their song, and, having first lulled them to sleep, tear 224 them to pieces. The person, however, who may think fit to believe in these tales, may probably not refuse to believe also that dragons licked the ears of Melampodes, and bestowed upon him the power of understanding the language of birds; or what Democritus says, when he gives the names of certain birds, by the mixture of whose blood a serpent is produced, the person who eats of which will be able to understand the language of birds; as well as the statements which the same writer makes relative to one bird in particular, known as the “galerita,” or crested lark—indeed, the science of augury is already too much involved in embarrassing questions, without these fanciful reveries.

The people of Delos were the first to cram poultry, and to originate that abominable 강서오피 mania for devouring fattened birds, larded with the grease of their own bodies. I find in the ancient sumptuary regulations as to banquets, that this was forbidden for the first time by a law of the consul Caius Fannius, eleven years before the Third Punic War; by which it was ordered that no bird should be served at table beyond a single pullet, and that not fattened; an article which has since made its appearance in all the sumptuary laws. A method, however, has been devised of evading it, by feeding poultry upon food that has been soaked in milk: prepared in this fashion, they are considered still more delicate. Not all pullets are looked upon as equally good for the purposes of fattening, but only those are selected which have a fatty skin about the neck. Then come all the arts and affectations of the kitchen—that the thighs may have a nice plump appearance, that the bird may be properly divided down the back, 225 and that poultry may be brought to such a size that a single leg shall fill a whole platter. The Parthians have taught their fashions to our cooks; yet after all, in spite of their refinements in luxury, no article is found to please equally in every part, for in one it is the thigh, and in another the breast that is esteemed.

The first person who invented aviaries for the reception of all kinds of birds was Marcus Lænius Strabo, a member of the equestrian order, who resided at Brundisium. In his time we thus began to imprison animals to which Nature had assigned the heavens as their element.

But more remarkable than anything else in this respect, is the story of the dish of Clodius Æsopus, the tragic actor, which was valued at one hundred thousand sesterces, and in which were served up nothing but birds that had been remarkable for their song, or their imitation of the human voice, and he purchased each of them at the price of six thousand sesterces, being induced to this folly by no other pleasure than that in these he might eat the closest imitators of man; never for a moment reflecting that his own immense fortune had been acquired by the advantages of his voice; a parent right worthy of the son of whom we have already made mention as swallowing pearls. It would not be very easy to decide which of the two was guilty of the greatest baseness, unless, indeed, we admit that it was 강서오피 less unseemly to banquet upon the most costly of all the productions of Nature, than to devour tongues which had given utterance to the language of man.

The salamander, an animal like a lizard in shape, and with a body starred all over, never comes out except during heavy showers, and disappears the moment it becomes fine. This animal is so intensely cold as to extinguish fire by its contact, in the same way as ice does. It spits forth a milky matter from its mouth; and from whatever part of the human body is touched with this, all the hair falls off, and the part assumes the appearance of leprosy.