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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 Ouran Outan








Transition from hirsute humanity to the apes, is easy, and natural--and
we need only deal with the Simiinae, which includes the Orang, the
Chimpanzee, and the Gorilla. These are the largest apes, and nearest
approach to man--but, although they may be tailless, yet there is that
short great toe which prevents any acceptation of their humanity. The
orang is exclusively an inhabitant of Borneo and Sumatra, and in those
two islands it may be found in the swampy forests near the coast. It
grows to a large size, for an ape, about four feet four inches high, but
is neither so large, nor so strong, as the Gorilla. Compared with man,
its arms seem to be as extravagantly long, as its legs are ridiculously
short. When wild, it feeds entirely on vegetable diet, and makes a kind
of house, or nest, in trees, interweaving the branches, so as to obtain
shelter. They do not stand confinement well, being languid and
miserable--but, in their native wildness, they can, if necessity arises,
fight well in their own defence. A. R. Wallace, in his "Malay
Archipelago; the Land of the Orang Utan and the Bird of Paradise," tells
the following story of its combativeness.

"A few miles down the river there is a Dyak house, and the inhabitants
saw a large orang feeding on the young shoots of a palm by the river
side. On being alarmed, he retreated towards the jungle, which was close
by, and a number of the men, armed with spears and choppers, ran out to
intercept him. The man who was in front, tried to run his spear through
the animal's body, but the orang seized it in his hands, and in an
instant got hold of the man's arm, which he seized in his mouth, making
his teeth meet in the flesh above the elbow, which he tore and lacerated
in a dreadful manner. Had not the others been close behind, the man
would have been seriously injured, if not killed, as he was quite
powerless; but they soon destroyed the creature with their spears and
choppers. The man remained ill for a long time, and never fully
recovered the use of his arm."

It is called the Simia Satyrus; probably on its presumed lustfulness,
certainly not on account of its resemblance to the satyr of antiquity.

Gesner gives us his idea of the orang, presenting us with the
accompanying figure of the Cercopithecus, and quotes Cardanus as saying
that the Cercopithecus or Wild-man, is singularly made, having the
height and form of a man, with legs like man's--and is covered all over
with hair. No animal can withstand it, with the exception of man, to
whom, when in its own regions, it is not inferior. It loves boys and
women.



Pliny speaks of the Satyr Ape thus: "Among the mountainous districts of
the eastern parts of India, in what is called the country of the
Catharcludi, we find the Satyr, an animal of extraordinary swiftness.
They go sometimes on four feet, and sometimes walk erect; they have,
also, the features of a human being. On account of their swiftness,
these creatures are never to be caught, except when they are aged, or
sickly," and, in another place, he says, "The Sphyngium and the Satyr
stow away food in the pouches of their cheeks, after which they will
take out piece by piece in their hands, and eat it."

Topsell has mixed up the Simia Satyrus with the classical satyr, having
legs and horns like goats; but he evidently alludes to the former in
this passage. "The Satyres are in the Islands Satiridae, which are
three in number, right over against India on the farther side of the
Ganges; of which Euphemus Car rehearseth this history: that when he
sailed unto Italy, by the rage of winde and evill weather, they were
driven to a coast unnavigable, where were many desart Islandes,
inhabited of wild men, and the marriners refused to land upon some
Islands, having heretofore had triall of the inhumaine and uncivill
behaviour of the inhabitants, so that they brought us to the Satyrian
Islands, where we saw the inhabitants red, and had tayles joyned to
their backs, not much lesse than horsses. These, being perceived by the
marriners to run to the shippes, and lay hold on the women that were in
them, the shipmen, for feare, took one of the Barbarian women, and set
her on the land among them, whom in most odious and filthy manner, they
abused, whereby they found them to be very bruit beasts."



He gives us his idea of the Simia Satyrus, which must have been an
accomplished animal, for not only could it, apparently, play upon the
pipe, but it had a handy pouch for the reception of the fruit (in lieu
of coppers) which it doubtless would receive as guerdon for its
performance.





Next: Satyrs

Previous: Hairy Men



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