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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 Scorpion








Of the Scorpion, Pliny says:--"This animal is a dangerous scourge, and
has a venom like that of the serpent; with the exception that its
effects are far more painful, as the person who is stung will linger for
three days before death ensues. The sting is invariably fatal to
virgins, and nearly always so to matrons. It is so to men also, in the
morning, when the animal has issued from its hole in a fasting state,
and has not yet happened to discharge its poison by an accidental
stroke. The tail is always ready to strike, and ceases not for an
instant to menace, so that no opportunity may possibly be lost....

"In Scythia, the Scorpion is able to kill even the swine, with its
sting, an animal which, in general, is proof against poisons of this
kind in a remarkable degree. When stung, those swine which are black,
die more speedily than others, and more particularly if they happen to
throw themselves into the water. When a person has been stung, it is
generally supposed that he may be cured by drinking the ashes of the
Scorpion mixed with wine. It is the belief also that nothing is more
baneful to the Scorpion than to dip it in oil.... Some writers, too, are
of opinion that the Scorpion devours its offspring, and that the one
among the young which is most adroit avails itself of its sole mode of
escape, by placing itself on the back of the mother, and thus finding a
place where it is in safety from the tail and sting. The one that thus
escapes, they say, becomes the avenger of the rest, and, at last, taking
advantage of its elevated position, puts its parents to death."

Topsell has some marvels to relate concerning the generation of
Scorpions:--"And it is reported by Elianus, that about Estamenus in
India, there are abundance of Scorpions generated, onely by corrupt
raine water standing in that place. Also, out of the Baziliske beaten
into peeces, and so putrified, are Scorpions engendred. And when as one
had planted the herbe Basilica on a wall, in the roome or place
thereof hee found two Scorpions. And some say that if a man chaw in his
mouth, fasting, this herbe Basill before he wash, and, afterwards, lay
the same abroade uncovered where no sun commeth at it for the space of
seaven nights, taking it in all the daytime, he shall at length find it
transmuted into a Scorpion, with a tayle of seaven knots.

"Hollerius, to take away all scruple of this thing, writeth that in
Italy, in his dayes, there was a man that had a Scorpion bredde in his
braine, by continuall smelling to this herbe Basil; and Gesner by
relation of an Apothecary in Fraunce, writeth also a storie of a young
mayde, who by smelling to Basill, fell into an exceeding head-ach,
whereof she died without cure, and, after her death, beeing opened,
there were found little Scorpions in her braine.

"Aristotle remembreth an herbe which he calleth Sisimbriae, out of
which putrified Scorpions are engendered. And wee have showed already,
in the history of the Crocodile, that out of the Crocodile's egges doe
many times come Scorpions, which at their first egression doe kill theyr
dam that hatched them."

There is a curious legend, that if a Scorpion is surrounded by fire, so
that it cannot escape, it will commit suicide by stinging itself to
death.





Next: The Ant

Previous: The Leech



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