Lady X., after walking in a wood near her house in Ireland, found that she had lost an important key. She dreamed that it was lying at the root of a certain tree, where she found it next day, and her theory is the same as that of Mr. A., the o... Read more of The Lost Key at Scary Stories.caInformational Site Network Informational
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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...



Serpents








Of Serpents Topsell has written a "Historie," which, if not altogether
veracious, is very amusing; and I shall quote largely from it, as it
shows us "the latest thing out" in Serpents as believed in, and taught,
in the time of James I. He begins, of course, with their creation, and
the Biblical mention of them, and then passes to the power of man over
them in charming and taming them. Of the former he tells the following
tale:--

"Aloisius Cadamustus, in his description of the New World, telleth an
excellent hystorie of a Lygurian young Man, beeing among the Negroes
travailing in Affrick, whereby he endeavoureth to proove, how ordinary
and familiar it is to them, to take and charme Serpents.

"The young man beeing in Affricke among the Negroes, and lodged in
the house of a Nephew to the Prince of Budoniell, when he was taking
himselfe to his rest, suddenly awakened by hearing the unwonted noise of
the hissing of innumerable sorts of Serpents; wherat he wondred, and
beeing in some terror, he heard his Host (the Prince's Nephew) to make
himselfe readie to go out of the doores, (for he had called up his
servants to sadle up his Cammels:) the young man demaunded of him the
cause, why he would go out of doores now so late in the darke night? to
whom he answered, I am to goe a little way, but I will returne againe
verie speedily; and so he went, and with a charme quieted the Serpents,
and drove them all away, returning againe with greater speed than the
Lygurian young man, his ghest, expected. And when he had returned, he
asked his ghest if hee did not heare the inmoderate hyssing of the
Serpents? and he answered, that he had heard them to his great terrour.
Then the Prince's Nephew (who was called Bisboror) replyed, saying, they
were Serpents which had beset the house, and would have destroyed all
their Cattell and Heards, except hee had gone foorth to drive them away
by a Charme, which was very common and ordinary in those parts, wherin
were abundance of very hurtfull Serpents.

"The Lygurian young man, hearing him say so, marvailed above measure,
and said, that this thing was so rare and miraculous, that scarcely
Christians could beleeve it. The Negro thought it as strange that the
young man should bee ignorant heereof, and therefore told him, that
their Prince could worke more strange things by a Charme which he had,
and that this, and such like, were small, vulgar, and not be counted
miraculous. For, when he is to use any strong poyson upon present
necessitie, to put any man to death, he putteth some venom uppon a
sword, or other peece of Armour, and then making a large round Circle,
by his Charme compelleth many Serpents to come within that circle, hee
himselfe standing amongst them, and observing the most venomous of them
all so assembled, which he thinketh to contain the strongest poyson,
killeth him, and causeth the residue to depart away presentlie; then,
out of the dead Serpent hee taketh the poyson, and mixeth it with the
seede of a certaine vulgar Tree, and therewithall annoynteth his dart,
arrow, or sword's point, whereby is caused present death, if it give the
bodie of a man but a very small wound, even to the breaking of the
skinne, or drawing of the blood. And the saide Negro did earnestly
perswade the young man to see an experiment hereof, promising him to
shew all as he had related, but the Lygurian beeing more willing to
heare such things told, than bolde to attempt the triall, told him that
he was not willing to see any such experiment.

"And by this it appeareth, that all the Negroes are addicted to
Incantations, which never have anie approbation from God, except against
Serpents, which I cannot very easilie be brought to beleeve."

Of the affection of some serpents for the human-kind he gives some
examples:--"We reade also in Plutarch of certain Serpents, lovers of
young virgins, and by name there was one that was in love with one
AEtolia, a Virgin, who did accustome to come unto her in the night
time, slyding gentlie all over her bodie, never harming her, but as one
glad of such acquaintance, tarried with her in that dalliance till the
morning, and them would depart away of his owne accorde: the which thing
beeing made manifest unto the Guardians and Tutours of the Virgin, they
removed her unto another Towne. The Serpent missing his Love, sought her
uppe and downe three or four dayes, and at last mette her by chance, and
then hee saluted her not as he was wont, with fawning, and gentle
slyding, but fiercely assaulted her with grimme and austere countenance,
flying to her hands, and binding them with the spire of his bodie, fast
to her sides, did softly with his tayle beat her upon her backer parts.
Whereby was collected, some token of his chastisement unto her, who had
wronged such a Lover, with her wilfull absence and disappointment.

"It is also reported by AElianus that Egemon in his verses, writeth
of one Alena, a Thessalian who, feeding his Oxen in Thessaly,
neere the Fountaine Haemonius, there fell in love with him a Serpent of
exceeding bignesse and quantitie, and the same would come unto him, and
softly licke his face and golden haire, without dooing him any manner of
hurt at all."

He tells a few more "Snake stories," and quotes from "a little Latine
booke printed at Vienna, in the yeare of the Lorde 1551," the
following:--"There was (sayth mine Author) found in a mowe or rycke of
corne, almost as many Snakes, Adders, and other Serpentes, as there were
sheafes, so as no one sheafe could be removed, but there presently
appeared a heape of ougly and fierce Serpents. The countrey men
determined to set fire upon the Barne, and so attempted to doe, but in
vaine, for the straw would take no fire, although they laboured with all
their wit and pollicye, to burne them up; At last, there appeared unto
them at the top of the heap a huge great Serpent, which, lifting up his
head, spake with man's voyce to the countrey men, saying: Cease to
prosecute your devise, for you shall not be able to accomplish our
burning, for wee were not bredde by Nature, neither came we hither of
our own accord, but were sent by God to take vengeance on the sinnes of
men."

And some serpents were "very fine and large," for he says:--"Gellius
writeth, that when the Romanes were in the Carthaginian Warre, and
Attilius Regulus the Consull had pitched his Tents neere unto the
river Bragrada, there was a Serpent of monstrous quantitie, which had
beene lodged within the compasse of the Tents, and therefore did cause
to the whole Armie exceeding great calamitie, untill by casting of
stones with slings, and many other devises, they oppressed and slew that
Serpent, and afterward fleyed off the skinne and sent it to Rome;
which was in length one hundred and twentie feete.

"And, although this seemeth to be a beast of unmatchable stature, yet
Postdenius a Christian writer, relateth a storie of another which was
much greater, for hee writeth that he saw a Serpent dead, of the length
of an acre of Land, and all the residue both of head and bodie, were
answerable in proportion, for the bulke of his bodie was so great, and
lay so high, that two Horsemen could not see one the other, beeing at
his two sides, and the widenes of his mouth was so great, that he could
receive at one time, within the compasse thereof, a horse and a man on
his backe both together: The scales of his coate or skinne, being every
one like a large buckler or target. So that now, there is no such cause
to wonder at the Serpent which is said to be killed by St. George,
which was, as is reported, so great, that eight Oxen were but strength
enough to drawe him out of the Cittie Silena....

"Among the Scyritae, the Serpents come by great swarmes uppon their
flocks of sheepe and cattell, and some they eate up all, others they
kill, and sucke out the blood, and some part they carry away. But if
ever there were anything beyond credite, it is the relation of
Volateran in his twelfth booke of the New-found Lands, wherein he
writeth, that there are Serpents of a mile long, which at one certaine
time of the yeere come abroad out of the holes and dennes of habitation,
and destroy both the Heards and Heard-men if they find them. Much more
favourable are the Serpents of a Spanish Island, who doe no harme to
any living thing, although they have huge bodies, and great strength to
accomplish their desires."

After this it will be refreshing to have one of Topsell's own particular
true stories: and this is "Of a true history done in England, in
the house of a worshipfull Gentleman, upon a servant of his, whom I
could name if it were needfull. He had a servant that grew very lame and
feeble in his legges, and thinking that he could never be warme in his
bed, did multiply his clothes, and covered himselfe more and more, but
all in vaine, till at length he was not able to goe about, neither could
any skill of Phisitian or Surgeon find out the cause.

"It hapned on a day as his Maister leaned at his Parlour window, he saw
a great Snake to slide along the house side, and to creepe into the
chamber of this lame man, then lying in his bedde, (as I remember,) for
hee lay in a lowe chamber, directly against the Parlour window
aforesaid. The Gentleman desirous to see the issue, and what the Snake
would doe in the chamber, followed, and looked into the chamber by the
window; where hee espied the snake to slide uppe into the bed-straw, by
some way open in the bottome of the bedde, which was of old bordes.
Straightway, his hart rising thereat, he called two or three of his
servaunts, and told them what he had seene, bidding them goe take their
Rapiers, and kill the said snake. The serving-men came first, and
removed the lame man (as I remember) and then the one of them turned up
the bed, and the other two the straw, their Maister standing without, at
the hole, whereinto the said snake had entered into the chamber. The
bedde was no sooner turned up, and the Rapier thrust into the straw, but
there issued forth five or six great snakes that were lodged therein:
Then the serving-men bestirring themselves, soone dispatched them, and
cast them out of doores dead. Afterward, the lame man's legges
recovered, and became as strong as ever they were; whereby did
evidentlie appeare, the coldnes of these snakes or Serpents, which came
close to his legges everie night, did so benumme them, as he could not
goe."

Yet one more:--

"I cannot conceale a most memorable historie as ever was any in the
world, of a fight betwixt the Serpents of the Land and the Water. This
history is taken out of a Booke of Schilt-bergerus, a Bavarian, who
knew the same, (as he writeth) while hee was a captive in Turky; his
words are these. In the kingdome called Genyke, there is a Citty
called Sampson, about which, while I was prisoner with Baiazeta King
of Turkes, there pitched or arrived, an innumerable company of Land
and Water Serpents, compassing the said Cittie, a mile about. The Land
Serpents came out of the woods of Trienick, which are great and many,
and the Water Serpents came out of the bordering Sea. These were nine
dayes together assembling in that place, and for feare of them there was
not any man that durst goe out of the Citty, although it was not
observed that they hurt any man, or living creature there-abouts.

"Wherefore the Prince also commanded, that no man should trouble them,
or doe them any harme, wisely judging, that such an accident came not
but by Divine Miracle, and that also to signifie some notable event.
Uppon the tenth day, these two valiant troupes joyned battell, early in
the morning, before the sunne-rising, so continuing in fight untill the
sunne-set, at which time the Prince, with some horsemen, went out of the
Cittie to see the battell, and it appeared to him and his associates,
that the Water Serpents gave place to the Land Serpents. So the Prince,
and his company, returned into the Citty againe, and the next day went
forth againe, but found not a Serpent alive, for there were slaine above
eyght thousand: all which, he caused presently to be covered with earth
in ditches, and afterwards declared the whole matter to Baiazeta by
letters, after he had gotten that Cittie, whereat the great Turke
rejoyced, for hee thereby interpreted happinesse to himselfe."

Luckily, man has found out things inimical to Serpents, and they, and
their use, seem to be very simple:--

"There is such vertue in the Ashe tree, that no Serpent will endure to
come neere either the morning or evening shadow of it; yea, though very
farre distant from them, they do so deadlie hate it. We set downe
nothing but that wee have found true by experience: If a great fire be
made, and the same fire encircled round with Ashen-boughes, and a
serpent put betwixt the fire and the Ashen-boughes, the Serpent will
sooner runne into the fire, than come neere the Ashen-boughes: thus
saith Pliny. Olaus Magnus saith, that those Northern Countries which
have great store of Ash-trees, doe want venemous beasts, of which
opinion is also Pliny. Callimachus saith, there is a Tree growing in
the Land of Trachinia, called Smilo, to which, if any Serpents doe
either come neere, or touch, they foorthwith die. Democritus is of
opinion, that any Serpent will die if you cast Oken-leaves upon him.
Pliny is of opinion that Alcibiadum, which is a kind of wild
Buglosse, is of the same use and qualitie; and further, being chewed, if
it be spet upon any serpent, that it cannot possibly live. In time of
those solemne Feastes which the Athenians dedicated to the Goddesse
Ceres, their women did use to lay and strew their beddes, with the
leaves of the Plant called Agnos, because serpents could not endure
it, and because they imagined it kept them chast, Where-upon they
thought the name was given it. The herbe called Rosemarie, is terrible
to serpents.

"The Egyptians doe give it out, that Polydamna the wife of Thorris
their King, taking pittie upon Helen, caused her to be set on shore in
the Island of Pharus, and bestowed upon her an herbe (whereof there
was plenty) that was a great enemy to serpents: whereof the serpents
having a feeling sence (as they say) and so readily knowne of them, they
straightwaies got them to their lurking holes in the earth; and Helen
planted this herbe, who, coming to the knowledge thereof, she perceived
that in his due time it bore a seede that was a great enemy to serpents,
and thereupon was called Helenium, as they that are skilfull in Plants
affirme; and it groweth plentifully in Pharus, which is a little Ile
against the mouth of Nylus, joyned to Alexandria by a bridge.

"Rue, (called of some, Herbe of Grace) especially that which groweth in
Lybia, is but a backe friend to Serpents, for it is most dry, and
therefore causing Serpents soon to faint, and loose their courage,
because (as Simocatus affirmeth) it induceth a kind of heavinesse or
drunkennesse in their head, with a vertiginie, or giddines through the
excesse of his drinesse, or immoderate sticcitie. Serpents cannot endure
the savour of Rue, and, therefore, a Wesill, when she is to fight with
any serpent, eateth Rue, as a defensative against her enemie, as
Aristotle, and Pliny his Interpreter, are of opinion.

"The Country people leaving their vessels of Milke abroade in the open
fieldes, doe besmeare them round about with garlick, lest some venomous
serpents should creepe into them, but the smell of garlick, as
Erasmus saith, driveth them away. No serpents were ever yet seene to
touch the herbe Trifolie, or Three-leaved-grasse, as AEdonnus wold
make us believe. And Cardan the Phisitian hath observed as much, that
serpents, nor anything that is venemous will neither lodge, dwell, or
lurk privily neere unto Trifolie, because that is their bane, as they
are to other living creatures: and therefore it is sowne to very good
purpose, and planted in very hot countries, where there is most store of
such venomous creatures.

"Arnoldus Villanonanus saith that the herb called Dracontea killeth
serpents. And Florentinus affirmeth that, if you plant Woormwood,
Mugwort, or Sothernwood about your dwelling, that no venomous serpents
will ever come neer, or dare enterprise to invade the same. No serpent
is found in Vines, when they flourish, bearing flowers or blossoms, for
they abhor the smell, as Aristotle saith. Avicen, an Arabian
Phisitian, saith, that Capers doe kill worms in the guts, and likewise
serpents. If you make a round circle with herbe Betonie, and therein
include any serpents, they will kill themselves in the place, rather
than strive to get away. Galbanum killeth serpents only by touching, if
oyle and the herbe called Fenell-giant be mixt withall. There is a
shrubbe called Therionarca, having a flower like a Rose, which maketh
serpents heavy, dull and drousie, and so killeth them, as Pliny
affirmeth."

There are more plants inimical to serpents, but enough have been given
to enable the reader, if he have faith in them, to defend himself; and
it is comforting to think, that although the serpent is especially
noxious, when alive, he is marvellously useful, medicinally, when dead.
Even now, in some country places, viper broth is used as a medicine;
and, in the first half of the eighteenth century, its flesh, prepared in
various ways, was thoroughly recognised in the Pharmacopoeia. But
Topsell, who gathered together all the wisdom of the ancients, gives so
very many remedies (for all kinds of illnesses) that may be derived from
different parts, and treatment, of serpents, that I can only pick out a
few:--

"Pliny saith, that if you take out the right eye of a serpent, and so
bind it about any part of you, that it is of great force against the
watering or dropping of the eyes, by meanes of a rhume issuing out
thereat, if the serpent be againe let goe alive. And so hee saith, that
a serpent's or snake's hart, if either it be bitten or tyed to any part
of you, that it is a present remedie for the toothach: and hee addeth
further, that if any man doe tast of the snake's hart, that he shall
never after be hurt of any serpent.... The blood of a serpent is more
precious than Balsamum, and if you annoynt your lips with a little of
it, they will looke passing redde: and, if the face be annoynted
therewith, it will receive no spot or fleck, but causeth it to have an
orient and beautiful hue. It represseth all scabbiness of the body,
stinking in the teeth, and gummes, if they be therewith annointed. The
fat of a serpent speedily helpeth all rednes, spots, and other
infirmities of the eyes, and beeing annoynted upon the eyeliddes, it
cleereth the eyes exceedingly.

"Item, put them (serpents) into a glassed pot, and fill the same with
Butter in the Month of May, then lute it well with paste (that is, Meal
well kneaded) so that nothing may evaporate, then sette the potte on the
fire, and let it boyle wel-nigh halfe a day: after this is done,
straine the Butter through a cloth, and the remainder beate in a morter,
and straine it againe, and mixe them together, then put them into water
to coole, and so reserve it in silver or golden boxes, that which is not
evaporated, for the older, the better it is, and so much the better it
will be, if you can keepe it fortie years. Let the sicke patient, who is
troubled eyther with the Goute, or the Palsie, but annoynt himselfe
often against the fire with this unguent, and, without doubt, he shall
be freed, especially if it be the Goute."

Of serpents in general, I shall have little to say, except those few of
which the descriptions are the most outre. And first let us have out
the "Boas," which cannot mean that enormous serpent the Boa-Constrictor,
which enfolds oxen, deer, &c., crushing their bones in its all-powerful
fold, and which sometimes reaches the length of thirty or
five-and-thirty feet--long enough, in all conscience, for a respectable
serpent. But Topsell begins his account of "The Boas" far more
magnificently:--

"It was well knowne among all the Romans, that when Regulus was
Governour, or Generall, in the Punick warres, there was a Serpent
(neere the river Bagrade) killed with slings and stones, even as a
Towne or little Cittie is over-come, which Serpent was an hundred and
twenty foote in length; whose skinne and cheeke bones, were reserved in
a Temple at Rome, untill the Numantine warre.

"And this History is more easie to be beleeved, because of the Boas
Serpent bred in Italy at this day: for we read in Solinus, that when
Claudius was Emperour, there was one of them slaine in the Vatican
at Rome, in whose belly was found an Infant swallowed whole, and not a
bone thereof broken....



"The Latines call it Boa, and Bova, because by sucking Cowe's milke
it so encreaseth, that in the end it destroyeth all manner of herdes,
Cattell, and Regions.... The Italians doe usually call them, Serpeda de
Aqua, a Serpent of the water, and, therefore, all the Learned expound
the Greeke word Hydra, for a Boas. Cardan saith, that there are of
this kind in the Kingdom of Senega, both without feet and wings, but
most properly, as they are now found in Italy, according to these
verses:

Boa quidem serpens quem tellus Itala nutrit
Hunc bubulum plures lac enutrire docent.

Which may be englished thus:

The Boas Serpent which Italy doth breede,
Men say, uppon the milke of Cowes doth feede.

"Their fashion is in seeking for their prey among the heardes, to
destroy nothing that giveth suck, so long as it will live, but they
reserve it alive untill the milk be dryed up, then afterwards they kill
and eate it, and so they deale with whole flocks and heards."



Whilst on the subject of Hydra, I give Topsell's idea of the Lernean
Hydra, whose story is so familiar to us. (See p. 292.) But, after
presenting us with such a frightful ideal, he says:--"And some ignorant
men of late daies at Venice, did picture this Hydra with wonderfull
Art, and set it forth to the people to be seene, as though it had beene
a true carkase, with this inscription: In the yeare of Christe's
incarnation, 550, about the Month of January, 'this monstrous Serpent
was brought out of Turky to Venice, and afterwards given to the
French King: It was esteemed to be worth 600 duckats. These monsters
signifie the mutation or change of worldly affaires,' &c." And, after
giving a long-winded inscription, apropos of nothing, he says:--"I
have also heard that in Venice in the Duke's treasury, among the rare
Monuments of that Citty, there is preserved a Serpent with seaven heads,
which, if it be true, it is the more probable that there is a Hydra, and
that the Poets were not altogether deceived, that say Hercules killed
such an one."



Mr. Henry Lee, in his little book, "Sea Fables Explained," says that the
Lernean Hydra was neither more nor less than a huge Octopus, and gives
an illustration of a marble tablet in the Vatican (also given in
"Smith's Classical Dictionary"), which does not seem unlike one.

The Wingless Dragons belong to the serpent tribe, with the exception
that they are generally furnished with legs. These are "Wormes," of
several of which we, in England, were the happy possessors. Of course,
in the northern parts of Europe, they survived (in story at all events)
much later than with us, and Olaus Magnus gives accounts of several
fights with them, notably that of Frotho and Fridlevus, two Champions,
against a serpent.



"Frotho, a Danish Champion and a King, scarce being past his
childhood, in a single combat killed a huge fierce great Serpent,
thrusting his sword into his belly, for his hard skin would not be
wounded, and all darts thrown at him, flew back again, and it was but
labour lost. Fridlevus was no lesse valiant, who, both to try his
valour, and to find out some hidden treasure, set upon a most formidable
Serpent for his huge body and venomous teeth, and, for a long time, he
cast his darts against his scaly sides, and could not hurt him, for his
hard body made nothing of the weapons cast with violence against him.
But this Serpent twisting his tail in many twines, by turning his tail
round, he would pull up trees by the roots, and by his crawling on the
ground, he had made a great hollow place, that in some places, hills
seemed to be parted as if a valley were between them, wherefore
Fridlevus considering that the upper parts of this beast could not be
penetrated, he runs him in with his sword underneath; and, piercing into
his groine, he drew forth his virulent matter, as he lay panting: when
he had killed the Serpent, he dug up the money, and carried it away."

He gives another story of a combat with "Wormes," although in the Latin
they are called Vipers: yet I leave my readers to judge whether the
small snake, the viper, would require such an amount of killing as
Regner had to bestow upon them:--

"Of Regnerus, called Hair-Coat. There was a King of the Sueons
called Herothus, whose troubled mind was not a little urged how to
preserve his Daughter's chastity; whether he should guard her with wild
beasts (as the manner of most Princes was then) or else should commit
the custody of her to man's fidelity. But he, preferring cruelty of
Beasts to man's fidelity, he soonest chose what would do most hurt. For,
hunting in the woods, he brought some Snakes that his Company had found,
for his Daughter to feed up. She, quickly obeying her Father's commands,
bred up a generation of vipers by her Virgin hands. And that they might
want no meat, her curious Father caused the whole body of an Ox to be
brought, being ignorant that, by this private food, he maintain'd a
publick destruction. These, being grown up, by their venomous breath
poysoned the neighbouring parts; but the King, repenting his folly,
proclaimed that he who could remove this plague, should have his
daughter.

"When Regnerus of Norway, descended of the King's race, who was the
chief Suiter this Virgin had, heard this Report, he obtained from the
Nurse a woollen Cassock, and hairy Breeches, whereby he might hinder the
biting of the Adders. And when he came to Sweden in a ship, he
purposely suffered his Clothes to grow stiff with cold, casting water
upon them: and thus clothed, having onely his Sword and Dart to defend
him, he went to the King. As he went forward, two huge Adders met him on
the way, that would kill the young man, with the twisting of their
tails, and by the venome they cast forth.

"But Regnerus confiding in the hardness of his frozen Garments, both
endured and repulsed their Venome, by his clothes, and their biting his
Harness, being indefatigable in pressing hard upon these Wild Beasts.
Last of all he strongly casts out of his hand his Javelin that was
fastened with a Hoop, and struck it into their bodies. Then, with his
two-edged Sword, rending both their hearts, he obtained a happy end of
an ingenious and dangerous fight. The King, looking curiously on his
clothes, when he saw them so hairy on the back-side, and unpolished like
ragged Frize, he spake merrily, and called him Lodbrock: that is Hair
Coat; and to recreate him after his pains, he sent for him to a Banquet
with his friends. He answered, That he must first go see those
Companions he had left: and he brought them to the King's Table, very
brave in clothes, as he was then: and lastly, when that was done, he
received the pledge of his Victory, by whom he begat many hopeful
Children: and he had her true love to him the more, and the rather
enjoyed his company, by how much she knew the great dangers he underwent
to win her by, and the ingenious practises he used."

We were favoured in England with several "Wormes." Nor only in England,
but in Scotland and Wales. Of course, Ireland can boast of none, as St.
Patrick banished all the serpents from that island.

Of the Dragon of Wantley I say nothing; he has been reslain in modern
times, and all the romance has gone out of him. Nobody wishes to know
that the Dragon was Sir Francis Wortley, who was at loggerheads with his
neighbours, notably one Lionel Rowlestone, whose advocate was More of
More Hall. We had rather have had our dear old Dragon, and have let the
champion More slay him in the orthodox manner.

But the "laidley Worme" of Lambton is still all our own, and its story
is thus told by Surtees in his "History, &c., of Durham," 1820:--

"The heir of Lambton, fishing, as was his profane custom, in the Wear,
on a Sunday, hooked a small worm or eft, which he carelessly threw into
a well, and thought no more of the adventure. The worm (at first
neglected) grew till it was too large for its first habitation, and,
issuing forth from the Worm Well, betook itself to the Wear, where it
usually lay a part of the day coiled round a crag in the middle of the
water; it also frequented a green mound near the well (the Worm Hill),
where it lapped itself nine times round, leaving vermicular traces, of
which, grave living witnesses depose that they have seen the vestiges.
It now became the terror of the country, and, amongst other enormities,
levied a daily contribution of nine cows' milk, which was always placed
for it at the green hill, and in default of which it devoured man and
beast. Young Lambton had, it seems, meanwhile, totally repented him of
his former life and conversation, had bathed himself in a bath of holy
water, taken the sign of the cross, and joined the Crusaders.

"On his return home, he was extremely shocked at witnessing the effects
of his youthful imprudences, and immediately undertook the adventure.
After several fierce combats, in which the Crusader was foiled by his
enemy's power of self-union, he found it expedient to add policy to
courage, and not, perhaps, possessing much of the former quality, he
went to consult a witch or wise woman. By her judicious advice he armed
himself in a coat-of-mail studded with razor blades; and, thus prepared,
placed himself on the crag in the river, and awaited the monster's
arrival.

"At the usual time the worm came to the rock, and wound himself with
great fury round the armed knight, who had the satisfaction to see his
enemy cut in pieces by his own efforts, whilst the stream washing away
the severed parts, prevented the possibility of reunion.

"There is still a sequel to the story: the witch had promised Lambton
success only on one condition, that he should slay the first living
thing which met his sight after the victory. To avoid the possibility of
human slaughter, Lambton had directed his father, that as soon as he
heard him sound three blasts on his bugle, in token of the achievement
performed, he should release his favourite greyhound, which would
immediately fly to the sound of the horn, and was destined to be the
sacrifice. On hearing his son's bugle, however, the old chief was so
overjoyed, that he forgot his instructions, and ran himself with open
arms to meet his son. Instead of committing a parricide, the conqueror
again repaired to his adviser, who pronounced, as the alternative of
disobeying the original instructions, that no chief of the Lambtons
should die in his bed for seven, (or as some accounts say) for nine
generations--a commutation which, to a martial spirit, had nothing
probably very terrible, and which was willingly complied with....

"In the garden-house at Lambton are two figures of no great antiquity. A
Knight in good style, armed cap-a-pie, the back studded with razor
blades, who holds the worm by one ear with his left hand, and with his
right crams his sword to the hilt down his throat; and a Lady who wears
a coronet, with bare breasts, &c., in the style of Charles 2nd's
Beauties, a wound on whose bosom and an accidental mutilation of the
hand are said to have been the work of the worm."

There were several other English "Wormes," but this must suffice as a
type. Also, as a typical Scotch "Worme," the Linton Worme will serve. A
writer (W. E.) tells its story so well in Notes and Queries, February
24, 1866, that I transfer it here, in preference to telling it myself.
It was slain by Sir John Somerville, about the year 1174, who received
the lands and barony of Linton, in Roxburghshire, as the reward of his
exploit. W. E. quotes from a family history entitled a "Memorie of the
Somervills," written by James, the eleventh lord, A.D. 1679:--

"'In the parochene of Lintoune, within the sheriffdome of Roxburghe,
ther happened to breede ane hydeous monster, in the forme of a worme,
soe called and esteemed by the country people (but in effecte has beene
a serpente or some suche other creature), in length three Scots yards,
and somewhat bigger than ane ordinarie man's leg, &c.... This creature,
being a terrour to the country people, had its den in a hollow piece of
ground, on the syde of a hill, south east from Lintoun Church, some more
than a myle, which unto this day is knowne by the name of the Worme's
glen, where it used to rest and shelter itself; but, when it sought
after prey, then would it wander a myle or two from its residence, and
make prey of all sort of bestiall that came in its way, which it easily
did because of its lownesse, creeping amongst the peat, heather, or
grasse, wherein that place abounded much, by reasone of the meadow
grounde, and a large flow moss, fit for the pasturage of many
cattell.... Soe that the whole country men thereabout wer forced to
remove ther bestiall and transport them 3 or 4 myles from the place,
leaving the country desolate, neither durst any person goe to the
Church, or mercat, upon that rod, for fear of this beast.'

"Somerville happening to come to Jedburgh, on the King's business, found
the inhabitants full of stories about the wonderful beast.

"'The people who had fled ther for shelter, told soe many lies, as
first, that it increased every day, and was beginning to get wings:
others pretended to have seen it in the night, and asserted it was full
of fyre, and in tyme, would throw it out, &c., with a thousand other
ridiculous stories.'

"Somerville determined to see the monster, and, accordingly, rode to the
glen about sunrise, when he was told it generally came forth. He had not
to wait long, till he perceived it crawl out of its den. When it
observed him, it raised itself up, and stared at him, for some time,
without venturing to approach; whereupon he drew nearer to observe it
more closely, on which it turned round, and slunk into its lair.

"Satisfied that the beast was not so dangerous as reported, he resolved
to destroy it, but as every one declared that neither sword nor dagger
had any effect on it, and that its venom would destroy any one that came
within its reach: he prepared a spear double the ordinary length, plated
with iron, four feet from the point, on which he placed a slender iron
wheel, turning on its centre. On this he fastened a lighted peat, and
exercised his horse with it for several days, until it shewed no fear or
dislike to the fire and smoke. He then repaired to the den, and, on the
worme appearing, his servant set fire to the peat, and, putting spurs to
his horse, he rode full at the beast. The speed at which he advanced,
caused the wheel to spin round, and fanned the peat into a blaze. He
drove the lance down the monster's throat full a third part of its
length, when it broke, and he left the animal writhing in the agonies of
death."

I am afraid the Welsh "Worme" is not so well authenticated as the
others; but the story is, that Denbigh is so named from a Dragon slain
by John Salusbury of Lleweni, who died 1289. It devastated the country
far and wide, after the manner of its kind, and all the inhabitants
prayed for the destruction of this bych. This the Champion effected,
and in his glee, joyfully sang, Dyn bych, Dyn bych (No bych); and
the country round was so named.

There arises the question, whether, having regard to the fact that the
Lambton worm, at all events, was amphibious, it might not have been a
Plesiosaurus, which had survived some of its race, such as the
illustration now given, of the one reconstructed by Thos. Hawkins, in
his "Book of the Great Sea Dragons." We know that at some time or other
these animals existed, and, it may be, some few lingered on. At all
events most civilised nations have had a belief in it, and it was held
to be the type of all that was wicked; so much so, that one of Satan's
synonyms is "the Great Dragon." In the Romances of Chivalry, its
destruction was always reserved for the worthiest knight; in classical
times it was a terror. Both Hindoos and Chinese hold it in firm faith,
and, take it all in all, belief in its entity was general.



The Winged Dragons were undoubtedly more furious and wicked than the
Wormes, and there is scarcely any reason to go farther than its
portrait by Aldrovandus, to enable us to recognise it at any time. (See
next page.) Topsell gives another, but with scarcely so much detail.

But, although we in our times have not seen flying dragons in the flesh,
we have their fossilised bones in evidence of their existence. The
Pterodactyl, as Mr. Hawkins observes, "agrees with the Dragon in nearly
all its more important features. Thus, it was of great size, possessed a
large head, with long jaws and powerful teeth. It had wings of great
span, and at the same time three powerful clawed fingers to each hand,
wings devoid of feathers, and capable of being folded along the sides of
the body, while the large size of the orbits may not, improbably, have
suggested the name dragon; for dragon, which is derived from the Greek
[Greek: drakon], means, literally, keen-sighted."

We now have flying lizards, both in India and the Malay Archipelago, in
which latter is found a small lemur which can fly from tree to tree, and
we are all familiar with bats, some of which attain a large size.

Topsell has exercised great research among old authorities respecting
dragons, and he draws their portraits thus:--"Gyllius, Pierius, and
Grevinus, following the authority of Nicander, do affirme that a
Dragon is of a blacke colour, the bellie somewhat green, and very
beautifull to behold, having a treble rowe of teeth in their mouthes
upon every jawe, and with most bright and cleare seeing eyes, which
caused the Poets to faine in their writings, that these dragons are the
watchfull keepers of Treasures. They have also two dewlappes growing
under their chinne, and hanging downe like a beard, which are of a redde
colour; their bodies are set all over with very sharpe scales, and over
their eyes stand certaine flexible eyeliddes. When they
gape wide with their mouth, and thrust forth their tongue, theyr teeth
seeme very much to resemble the teeth of Wilde Swine: And theyr neckes
have many times grosse thicke hayre growing upon them, much like unto
the bristles of a Wylde Boare."



Apart from looks, he does not give dragons, as a rule, a very bad
character, and says they do not attack men unless their general food
fails them:--"They greatlie preserve their health (as Aristotle
affirmeth) by eating of Wild lettice, for that they make them to vomit,
and cast foorth of theyr stomacke what soever meate offendeth them, and
they are most speciallie offended by eating Apples, for theyr bodies are
much subject to be filled with winde, and therefore they never eate
Apples, but first they eate Wilde lettice. Theyr sight also (as
Plutarch sayth) doth many times grow weake and feeble, and therefore
they renew and recover the same againe by rubbing their eyes against
Fennel, or else by eating it. Their age could never yet be certainely
knowne, but it is conjectured that they live long, and in great health,
like all other serpents, and therefore they grow so great.

* * * * *

"Neither have wee in Europe onely heard of Dragons, and never seene
them, but also even in our own Country, there have (by the testimonie of
sundry writers) divers been discovered and killed. And first of all,
there was a Dragon, or winged Serpent, brought unto Francis the French
King, when hee lay at Sancton, by a certaine Country man, who had
slaine the same Serpent himselfe with a Spade, when it sette upon him in
the fields to kill him. And this thinge was witnessed by many Learned
and Credible men which saw the same; and they thought it was not bredde
in that Country, but rather driven by the winde thither from some
forraine Nation. For Fraunce was never knowne to breede any such
Monsters. Among the Pyrenes, too, there is a cruell kinde of Serpent,
not past foure foot long, and as thicke as a man's arme, out of whose
sides growe winges, much like unto gristles.

"Gesner also saith, that in the yeere of our Lord 1543 there came many
Serpents both with wings and legs into the parts of Germany neere
Stiria, who did bite and wound many men incurably. Cardan also
describeth certaine serpents with wings, which he saw at Paris, whose
dead bodies were in the hands of Gulielmus Musicus; hee saith that
they had two legges, and small winges, so that they could scarce flie,
the head was little, and like to the head of a serpent, their colour
bright, and without haire or feathers, the quantitie of that which was
greatest, did not exceede the bignes of a Cony, and it is saide they
were brought out of India....

"There have beene also Dragons many times seene in Germaine, flying in
the ayre at mid-day, and signifying great and fearefull fiers to follow,
as it happened neere to the Cittie called Niderburge, neere to the
shore of the Rhyne, in a marvailous cleere sun-shine day, there came a
dragon three times successively together in one day, and did hang in the
ayre over a Towne called Sanctogoarin, and shaking his tayle over that
Towne every time: it appeared visibly in the sight of many of the
inhabitants, and, afterwards it came to passe, that the said towne was
three times burned with fire, to the great harme and undooing of the
people dwelling in the same; for they were not able to make any
resistance to quench the fire, with all the might, Art, and power they
could raise. And it was further observed, that about the time there were
many dragons seene washing themselves in a certaine Fountaine or Well
neere the towne, and if any of the people did by chance drinke of the
water of that Well, theyr bellyes did instantly begin to swell, and they
dyed as if they had been poysoned. Whereupon it was publicly decreed,
that the said well should be filled up with stones, to the intent that
never any man should afterwards be poisoned with that water; and so a
memory thereof was continued, and these thinges are written by Justinus
Goblerus, in an Epistle to Gesner, affirming that he did not write
fayned things, but such things as were true, and as he had learned from
men of great honesty and credite, whose eyes did see and behold both the
dragons, and the mishaps that followed by fire."

Hitherto we have only seen that side of a Dragon's temperament that is
inimical to man, but there are stories, equally veracious, of their
affection and love for men, women, and children: how they, by kindness,
may be tamed, and brought into kindly relations with the human species.

Pliny, quoting Democritus, says that "a Man, called Thoas, was
preserved in Arcadia by a Dragon. When a boy he had become much
attached to it, and had reared it very tenderly; but his father, being
alarmed at the nature and monstrous size of the reptile, had taken and
left it in the desert. Thoas being here attacked by some robbers, who
lay in ambush, he was delivered from them by the Dragon, which
recognised his voice, and came to his assistance."

Topsell tells us that "there be some which by certaine inchaunting
verses doe tame Dragons, and rydeth upon their neckes, as a man would
ride upon a horse, guiding and governing them with a bridle."

And so widely spread was the belief that these fearful animals could be
brought into subjection, that Magnus gives us an account "Of the Fight
of King Harald against a tame Dragon," but this one seems hardly as
docile as those previously instanced:--"Haraldus the most illustrious
King of Norway, residing, in his youth, with the King of
Constantinople, and being condemned for man-slaughter, he was
commanded to be cast to a tame Dragon that should rend him in pieces. As
he went into the prison, one very faithfull servant he had, offered
himself freely to die with his Master.



"The keeper of the Castle, curiously observing them both, let them down
at the mouth of the Den, being unarmed, and well searched; wherefore,
when the servant was naked, he admitted Harald to be covered with his
shirt, for modesty's sake, who gave him a braslet privily, and he
scattered little fish on the pavement, that the Dragon might first stay
his hunger on them, and that the guilty persons that are shut up in the
dark prison, might have a little light by the shining of the Fins and
Scales. Then Haraldus picking up the bones of a Carkeis, stopt them
into the linen he had, and bound them fast together like a Club. And
when the Dragon was let forth, and rushed greedily on his prey cast to
him, he lept quickly on his back, and he thrust a Barber's razor in at
his navill, that would only be pierced by iron, which, as luck was, he
brought with him, and kept it concealed by him: this cold Serpent that
had most hard scales all over, disdained to be entred in any other part
of his body. But Haraldus sitting so high above him, could neither be
bitten by his mouth, or hurt by his sharp teeth; or broken with the
turnings of his tayle. And his servant using the weapons, or bones put
together, beat the Dragon's head till he bled, and died thereof by his
many weighty strokes. When the King knew this, he freely changed his
revenge, into his service, and pardoned these valiant persons, and
furnishing them with a Ship and Monies, he gave them leave to depart."

The natural instinct of Dragons was undoubtedly vicious, and they must
have been most undesirable neighbours, teste the following story
quoted by Topsell from Stumpsius:--"When the Region of Helvetia
beganne first to be purged from noysome beasts, there was a horrible
dragon found neere a Country towne called Wilser, who did destroy all
men and beastes, that came within his danger in the time of his hunger,
inasmuch that that towne and the fields therto adjoyning, was called
Dedwiler, that is, a Village of the Wildernes, for all the people and
inhabitants had forsaken the same, and fledde to other places.

"There was a man of that Towne whose name was Winckleriedt, who was
banished for manslaughter: this man promised, if he might have his
pardon, and be restored againe to his former inheritance, that he would
combat with that Dragon, and by God's helpe destroy him; which thing was
granted unto him with great joyfulnes. Wherefore he was recalled home,
and in the presence of many people went foorth to fight with that
Dragon, whom he slew and overcame, whereat for joy hee lifted uppe his
sword imbrued in the dragon's blood, in token of victory, but the blood
distilled downe from the sword uppon his body, and caused him instantly
to fall downe dead.

"There be certaine beasts called Dracontopides, very great and potent
Serpents, whose faces are like to the faces of Virgins, and the residue
of their body like to dragons. It is thought that such a one was the
Serpent that deceived Eve, for Beda saith it had a Virgin's
countenance, and therefore the woman, seeing the likenes of her owne
face, was the more easily drawne to believe it: into which the devill
had entred; they say he taught it to cover the body with leaves, and to
shew nothing but the head and face. But this fable is not worthy to be
refuted, because the Scripture itself, dooth directly gaine-say everie
part of it. For, first of all it is called a Serpent, and if it had been
a Dragon, Moses would have said so; and, therefore, for ordinary
punishment, GOD doth appoint it to creepe upon the belly, wherefore it
is not likely that it had either wings or feete. Secondly, it was
impossible and unlikely, that any part of the body was covered or
conceiled from the sight of the woman, seeing she knew it directly to be
a Serpent, as shee afterward confessed before GOD and her husband.

"There be also certaine little dragons called in Arabia, Vesga, and
in Catalonia, Dragons of houses; these, when they bite, leave their
teeth behind them, so as the wound never ceaseth swelling, as long as
the teeth remain therein, and therefore, for the better cure thereof,
the teeth are drawne forth, and so the wound will soone be healed.

"And thus much for the hatred betwixt men and dragons, now we will
proceede to other creatures.

"The greatest discord is between the Eagle and the Dragon, for the
Vultures, Eagles, Swannes and Dragons, are enemies to one another. The
Eagles, when they shake their winges, make the dragons afraide with
their ratling noyse; then the dragon hideth himselfe within his den, so
that he never fighteth but in the ayre, eyther when the Eagle hath taken
away his young ones, and he, to recover them, flieth aloft after her, or
else when the Eagle meeteth him in her nest, destroying her egges and
young ones: for the Eagle devoureth the dragons, and little Serpents
upon earth, and the dragons againe, and Serpents do the like against the
Eagles in the ayre. Yea, many times the dragon attempteth to take away
the prey out of the Eagle's talants, both on the ground, and in the
ayre, so that there ariseth betwixt them a very hard and dangerous
fight.

"In the next place we are to consider the enmitie that is betwixt
Dragons and Elephants, for, so great is their hatred one to another,
that in Ethyopia the greatest dragons have no other name but Elephant
killers. Among the Indians, also, the same hatred remaineth, against
whom the dragons have many subtile inventions: for, besides the greate
length of their bodies, wherewithall they claspe and begirt the body of
the Elephant, continually byting of him, untill he fall downe dead, and
in the which fall they are also bruzed to peeces; for the safeguard of
themselves, they have this device. They get and hide themselves in
trees, covering their head, and letting the other part hang downe like a
rope: in those trees they watch untill the Elephant come to eate and
croppe of the branches; then, suddenly, before he be aware, they leape
into his face, and digge out his eyes, then doe they claspe themselves
about his necke, and with their tayles, or hinder parts, beate and vexe
the Elephant, untill they have made him breathlesse, for they strangle
him with theyr fore parts, as they beate them with the hinder, so that
in this combat they both perrish: and this is the disposition of the
Dragon, that he never setteth upon the Elephant, but with the advantage
of the place, and namely from some high tree or Rocke.

"Sometimes againe, a multitude of dragons doe together observe the
pathes of the Elephants, and crosse those pathes they tie together their
tailes as it were in knots, so that when the Elephant commeth along in
them, they insnare his legges, and suddainly leape uppe to his eyes, for
that is the part they ayme at above all other, which they speedily pull
out, and so not being able to doe him any more harme, the poore beast
delivereth himselfe from present death by his owne strength, and yet
through his blindnesse received in that combat, hee perrisheth by
hunger, because he cannot choose his meate by smelling, but by his
eyesight."





Next: The Crocodile

Previous: The Sea-serpent



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