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Mythical Creatures -

Amazons
The race of Amazons or fighting women, is not yet extinct, ...

Pygmies
The antitheses of men--Dwarfs, and Giants--must not be over...

Giants
This last sentence seems almost a compendium of The History...

Early Men
On the antiquity of man it is impossible to speculate, beca...

Wild Men
Sometimes a specimen of humanity has got astray in infancy,...

Hairy Men
If, as we may conjecture from the above, the ancient Briton...

The Ouran Outan
Transition from hirsute humanity to the apes, is easy, and ...

Satyrs
He also mentions and delineates a curious Ape which closely...

The Sphynx
"The SPHYNGA or Sphinx, is of the kind of Apes, but his bre...

Apes
Sluper, who could soar to the height of delineating a Cyclo...

Animal Lore
We are indebted to Pliny for much strange animal lore--whic...

The Manticora
Of curious animals, other than Apes, depicted as having som...

The Lamia
The Lamiae are mythological--and were monsters of Africa, w...

The Centaur
This extraordinary combination of man and animal is very an...

The Gorgon
In the title-page of one edition of "The Historie of Foure-...

The Unicorn
What a curious belief was that of the Unicorn! Yet what myt...

The Rhinoceros
The true Unicorn is, of course, the Rhinoceros, and this pi...

The Gulo
Olaus Magnus thus describes the Gulo or Gulon:--"Amongst...

The Bear
As Pliny not only uses all Aristotle's matter anent Bears, ...

The Fox
By Englishmen, the Fox has been raised to the height of at ...

The Wolf
The Wolf, as a beast of prey, is invested with a terror pec...

Were-wolves
But of all extraordinary stories connected with the Wolf, i...

The Antelope
When not taken from living specimens, or skins, the arti...

The Horse
Aldrovandus gives us a curious specimen of a horse, which t...

The Mimick Dog
"The Mimicke or Getulian Dogge," is, I take it, meant fo...

The Cat
Aldrovandus gives us a picture of a curly-legged Cat, but, ...

The Lion
Of the great Cat, the Lion, the ancients give many wonderfu...

The Leontophonus The Pegasus The Crocotta
The Lion has a dreadful enemy, according to Pliny, who says...

The Leucrocotta The Eale Cattle Feeding Backwards
"There are oxen, too, like that of India, some with one hor...

Animal Medicine
We have already seen some of the wonderfully curative prope...

The Su
Topsell mentions a fearful beast called the Su. "There is a...

The Lamb-tree
As a change from this awful animal, let us examine the Plan...

The Chimaera
Aldrovandus gives us the accompanying illustration of a ...

The Harpy And Siren
The conjunction of the human form with birds is very eas...

The Barnacle Goose
Of all extraordinary beliefs, that in the Barnacle Goose, w...

Remarkable Egg
No wonder that a credulous age, which could see nothing ...

Moon Woman
One would have imagined that this Egg would be sufficien...

The Griffin
There always has been a tradition of birds being existent, ...

The Phoenix
Pliny says of the Phoenix:--"AEthiopia and India, more espe...

The Swallow
"And is the swallow gone? Who beheld it? Wh...

The Martlet And Footless Birds
Of the Martin, or, as in Heraldry it is written, Martlet, G...

Snow Birds
But we must leave warm climes, and birds of Paradise, and s...

The Swan
The ancient fable so dear, even to modern poets, that Swans...

The Alle Alle
"There is also in this Lake (the White Lake) a kind of b...

The Hoopoe And Lapwing
Whether the following bird is meant for the Hoopoe, or the ...

The Ostrich
Modern observation, and especially Ostrich farming, has ...

The Halcyon
Of this bird, the Kingfisher, Aristotle thus discourses:--"...

The Pelican
The fable of the Pelican "in her piety, vulning herself,...

The Trochilus
This bird, as described by Aristotle, and others, is of a p...

Woolly Hens
Sir John Maundeville saw in "the kingdome named Mancy, whic...

Two-headed Wild Geese
Near the land of the Cynocephali or dog-headed men, there w...

Four-footed Duck
Gesner describes a four-footed duck, which he says is li...

Fish
Terrestrial and Aerial animals were far more familiar to th...

The Sea-mouse
"The Sea-Mouse makes a hole in the Earth, and lays her Eggs...

The Sea-hare
"The Sea-Hare is found to be of divers kinds in the Ocean, ...

The Sea-pig
Again we are indebted to Gesner for the drawing of thi...

The Walrus
Of the Walrus, Rosmarus, or Morse, Gesner draws, and Ola...

The Ziphius
This Voracious Animal, whose size may be imagined by compar...

The Saw Fish
"The Saw fish is also a beast of the Sea; the body is huge ...

The Orca
is probably the Thresher whale. Pliny thus describes it:--"...

The Dolphin
Pliny says:--"The Dolphin is an animal not only friendly to...

The Narwhal
generally called the Monoceros or Sea Unicorn, is thus show...

The Swamfisck
The accompanying illustration, though heading the chapte...

The Sahab
"There is also another Sea-Monster, called Sahab, which hat...

The Circhos
"There is also another Monster like to that, called Circhos...

The Remora
Of this fish Pliny writes:--"There is a very small fish tha...

The Dog-fish And Ray
Olaus Magnus writes of "The cruelty of some Fish, and th...

The Sea Dragon
Of the Ray tribe of fishes, the Sea Dragon is the most ...

The Sting Ray
Pliny mentions the Sting Ray, and ascribes to it marvellous...

Senses Of Fishes
He also tells us about the senses of fishes, and first of t...

Zoophytes
Writing on the lower phases of Marine Animal life, he says:...

Sponges
"We find three kinds of sponges mentioned; the first are th...

The Kraken
This enormous monster, peculiar to the Northern Seas, is sc...

Crayfish And Crabs
Pliny tells us that in the Indian Ocean are Crayfish four c...

The Sea-serpent
Of the antiquity of the belief in the Sea-Serpent there can...

Serpents
Of Serpents Topsell has written a "Historie," which, if not...

The Crocodile
The largest of the Saurians which we have left us, is the C...

The Basilisk And Cockatrice
Aldrovandus portrays the Basilisk with eight legs. Topse...

The Salamander
Many writers have essayed this fabled creature, but almost ...

The Toad
Toads were always considered venomous and spiteful, and the...

The Leech
The Leech has, from a very early age, been used as a means ...

The Scorpion
Of the Scorpion, Pliny says:--"This animal is a dangerous s...

The Ant
No one would credit the industrious Ant, whose ways we are ...

The Bee
The Busy Bee, too, according to Olaus Magnus, developed, in...

The Hornet
So also, up North, they seem to have had a special breed...



Hairy Men








If, as we may conjecture from the above, the ancient Briton was "a
rugged man, o'ergrown with hair," his full-dress toilette must have
occupied some time. But extreme hairiness in human beings is by no means
singular, and very many cases are recorded in medical books. Many of us
may remember the Spanish dancer, Julia Pastrana, whose whole body was
hairy, and who had a fine beard. She had a child on whom the hair began
to grow, like its mother; and, but a few years back, there was a hairy
family exhibited in London--their faces being covered with hair, as is
the case of the Puella pilosa, or Hairy Girl--given by Aldrovandus in
his Monstrorum Historia.



She was aged twelve years, and came from the Canary Isles, together with
her father (aged 40), her brother (20), and her sister (8), all as
hairy one as the other. They were brought over by Marius Casalius, and
first shown at Bologna, so that this is no doubt a faithful likeness, as
Aldrovandus lived and died in that city. He gives other examples, but
not so well authenticated as this.

There were two wonderful hairy people at Ava, in Burmah, who are
described by two most trustworthy eye-witnesses, John Crawford, in his
"Journal of an Embassy from the Governor-General of India to the Court
of Ava"--and in 1855, by Captain Henry Youle, in his "Narrative of the
Mission sent by the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava." They
were father and daughter, respectively named Shu-Maon, and Maphoon. The
father may strictly be said to have had neither eyelashes, eyebrows, nor
beard, because the whole of his face, including the interior and
exterior of his ears, were covered with long silky silvery grey hair.
His whole body, except his hands and feet, was covered with hair of the
same texture and colour as that now described, but generally less
abundant; it was most plentiful over the spine and shoulders, where it
was five inches long; over the breast, about four inches, and was most
scanty on the arms, legs, thighs, and abdomen.

Of the daughter, Captain Youle writes: "The whole of Maphoon's face was
more or less covered with hair. On a part of the cheek, and between the
nose and mouth, this was confined to a short down, but over all the rest
of the face was a thick silky hair of a brown colour, paleing about the
nose and chin, four or five inches long. At the alae of the nose, under
the eye, and on the cheek bone this was very fully developed; but it was
in, and on, the ear, that it was most extraordinary. Except the upper
tip, no part of the ear was visible. All the rest was filled and veiled
with a large mass of silky hair, growing apparently out of every part of
the external organ, and hanging a pendant lock to a length of eight or
ten inches. The hair over her forehead was brushed so as to blend with
the hair of the head, the latter being dressed (as usual with her
countrywomen) a la Chinoise; it was not so thick as to conceal her
forehead.

"The nose, densely covered with hair, as no animal's is, that I know of,
and with long locks curving out, and pendant like the wisps of a fine
Skye-terrier's coat, had a most strange appearance. The beard was pale
in colour, and about four inches in length, seemingly very soft and
silky."

Maphoon, when Captain Youle saw her, had two children, one, the eldest,
perfectly normal, the other, who was very young, was evidently taking
after its mother.

The Ainos, an aboriginal tribe in the north of Japan, who are looked
down upon by the Japanese as dogs, have always been reputed as being
covered with hair. Mr. W. Martin Wood read a paper before the
Ethnological Society of London[26] respecting them, and he said, "Esau
himself could not have been a more hairy man than are these Ainos. The
hair forms an enormous bush, and it is thick and matted. Their beards
are very thick and long, and the greater part of their face is covered
with hair which is generally dark in colour; they have prominent
foreheads, and mild, dark eyes, which somewhat relieve the savage aspect
of their visage. Their hands and arms, and, indeed, the greater part of
their bodies, are covered with an abnormal profusion of hair."

This, however, has been questioned, notably by Mr. Barnard Davis, whose
paper may be read in the 3rd vol. of the "Memoirs of the Anthropological
Society of London"--and he quotes from several travellers, to prove that
the hairyness of the Ainos had been exaggerated. However, Miss Bird in
her "Unbeaten Tracks in Japan" may fairly be said to have put the
subject at rest, for she visited, and travelled in the Aino country.
She, certainly, disproves the theory that, as a race, they were hairy,
although she confesses that some were--as, for instance (p. 232), "They
wore no clothing, but only one was hairy," and, writing from Biratori,
Yezo (p. 255), she says, "The men are about the middle height,
broad-chested, broad-shouldered, thick set, very strongly built, the
arms and legs short, thick, and muscular, the hands and feet large. The
bodies, and especially the limbs of many, are covered with short,
bristly hair. I have seen two boys whose backs are covered with fur as
fine, and soft, as that of a cat." Again (p. 283), "The profusion of
black hair, and a curious intensity about their eyes, coupled with the
hairy limbs and singularly vigorous physique, give them a formidably
savage appearance; but the smile, full of 'sweetness and light,' in
which both eyes and mouth bear part, and the low, musical voice, softer
and sweeter than anything I have previously heard, make me, at times,
forget that they are savages at all."





Next: The Ouran Outan

Previous: Wild Men



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