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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...



The Mimick Dog








"The Mimicke or Getulian Dogge," is, I take it, meant for a poodle. It
was "apt to imitate al things it seeth, for which cause some have
thought that it was conceived by an Ape, for in wit and disposition it
resembleth an Ape, but in face, sharpe and blacke like an Hedgehog,
having a short recurved body, very long legs, shaggy haire, and a short
taile: this is called of some Canis Lucernarius. These being brought
up with apes in their youth, learne very admirable and strange feats,
whereof there were great plenty in Egypt in the time of king
Ptolemy, which were taught to leap, play, and dance, at the hearing of
musicke, and in many poore men's houses they served insteed of servaunts
for divers uses.

"These are also used by Plaiers and Puppet-Mimicks to worke straunge
trickes, for the sight whereof they get much money; such an one was the
Mimick's dog, of which Plutarch writeth that he saw in a publicke
spectacle at Rome before the Emperor Vespasian. The dog was taught to
act a play, wherein were contained many persons' parts, I mean the
affections of many other dogs; at last, there was given him a piece of
bread, wherein, as was saide, was poison, having vertue to procure a
dead sleepe, which he received and swallowed; and presently, after the
eating thereof, he began to reele and stagger too and fro like a drunken
man, and fell downe to the ground, as if he had bin dead, and so laie a
good space, not stirring foot nor lim, being drawne uppe and downe by
divers persons, according as the gesture of the play he acted did
require, but when he perceived by the time, and other signes that it was
requisite to arise, he first opened his eies, and lift up his head a
little, then stretched forth himself, like as one doth when he riseth
from sleepe; at last he geteth up, and runneth to him to whom that part
belonged, not without the joy, and good content of Caesar and all other
beholders.

"To this may be added another story of a certaine Italian about the
yeare 1403, called Andrew, who had a red Dog with him, of strange
feats, and yet he was blind. For standing in the Market place compassed
about with a circle of many people, there were brought by the standers
by, many Rings, Jewels, bracelets, and peeces of gold and silver, and
these, within the circle were covered with earth, then the dog was bid
to seeke them out, who with his nose and feet did presently find and
discover them, then was hee also commaunded to give to every one his
owne Ring, Jewell, Bracelet, or money, which the blind dog did performe
directly without stay or doubt. Afterward, the standers by, gave unto
him divers pieces of coine, stamped with the images of sundry princes,
and then one of them called for a piece of English money, and the Dog
delivered him a piece; another for the Emperor's coine, and the dog
delivered him a piece thereof; and so consequently, every princes coine
by name, till all was restored; and this story is recorded by Abbas
Urspergensis, where upon the common people said, the dog was a divell,
or else possessed with some pythonicall spirit."

It is curious to note some of the remedies against hydrophobia--and I
only give a portion of the long list.

"For the outward compound remedies, a plaister made of Opponax and
Pitch, is much commended, which Menippus used, taking a pound of Pitch
of Brutias, and foure ounces of Opponax, adding withall, that the
Opponax must be dissolved in vinegar, and afterwards the Pitch and the
vinegar must be boiled together, and when the vinegar is consumed, then
put in the Opponax, and of both together make like taynters or
splints, and thrust them into the wound, so let them remaine many dayes
together, and in the meane time drinke an antidot of sea crabs and
vineger, (for vineger is alway pretious in this confection). Other use
Basilica, Onyons, Rue, Salt, Rust of Iron, white bread, seedes of hore
hound, and triacle: but the other plaister is most forcible to be
applyed outwardly, above al medicines in the world.

"For the simple or uncompounded medicines to be taken against this sore,
are many: As Goose-grease, the roote of Wilde roses drunke; bitter
Almonds, leaves of Chickweed, or Pimpernell, the old skinne of a snake
pounded with a male sea Crab, Betony, Cabbage-leaves, or stalkes, with
Persneps and vineger, lime and sewet, poulder of Sea-Crabs with Hony;
poulder of the shels of Sea-Crabs, the haires of a Dog layed on the
wound, the head of the Dog which did bite, mixed with a little
Euphorbium; the haire of a man with vineger, dung of Goates with wine,
Walnuts with Hony and salte, poulder of fig tree in a sear cloth,
Fitches in wine, Euphorbium, warme horse-dung, raw beanes chewed in
the mouth, fig tree leaves, greene figs with vineger, fennel stalkes,
Gentians, dung of pullen, the Lyver of a Buck-goate, young swallowes,
burned to poulder, also their dung; the urine of a man, an Hyaena's skin,
flower de luce with honey, a Sea hearb called Kakille, Silphum with
salt, the flesh and shels of snayles, leeke seeds with salt, mints, the
taile of a field mouse cut off from her alive, and she suffered to live,
rootes of Burres, with salt of the Sea plantaine, the tongue of a Ramme
with salt, the flesh of al Sea-fishes, the fat of a sea-Calfe and
Vervine, besides many other superstitious amulets which are used to be
bound to the Armes, neckes, and brests, as the Canine tooth bound up in
a leafe, and tyed to the Arme. A worme bred in the dung of Dogges,
hanged about the necke, the roots of Gentian in an Hyaena's skin, or
young Wolfe's Skin, and such like; whereof I know no reason beside the
opinion of men."

Let us now see what medicinal properties exist in dogs themselves; and,
here again, I must very much curtail the recital of their benefits to
mankind.

"The vertues of a Dog's head made into poulder, are both many and
unspeakable, by it is the biting of mad dogs cured, it cureth spots, and
bunches in the head, and a plaister thereof made with Oyle of Roses,
healeth the running in the head. The poulder of the teeth of Dogges,
maketh Children's teeth to come forth with speed and easie, and, if
their gums be rub'd with a dog's tooth, it maketh them to have the
sharper teeth; and the poulder of these Dogs teeth rubbed upon the
Gummes of young or olde, easeth toothache, and abateth swelling in the
gummes. The tongue of a Dogge, is most wholesome both for the curing of
his owne wounds by licking, as also of any other creature. The rennet of
a Puppy drunke with Wine, dissolveth the Collicke in the same houre
wherein it was drunke," &c., &c., &c.





Next: The Cat

Previous: The Horse



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