Crayfish And Crabs

Pliny tells us that in the Indian Ocean are Crayfish four cubits in

length (six feet), and he claims for crabs a sovereign specific against

bites of scorpions and snakes:--"River-Crabs taken fresh and beaten up

and drunk in water, or the ashes of them, kept for the purpose, are

useful in all cases of poisoning, as a counter poison; taken with asses'

milk they are particularly serviceable as a neutralizer of the venom of

the scorpion; goat's milk or any other kind of milk being substituted,

where asses' milk cannot be procured. Wine, too, should also be used in

all such cases. River-Crabs beaten up with Ocimum, and applied to

Scorpions, are fatal to them. They are possessed of similar virtues,

also, for the bites of all other kinds of venomous animals, the Scytale

in particular, adders, the sea hare, and the bramble frog. The ashes of

them, preserved, are good for persons who give symptoms of hydrophobia

after being bitten by a mad dog, some adding gentian as well, and

administering the mixture in wine. In cases, too, where hydrophobia has

already appeared, it is recommended, that these ashes should be kneaded

up into boluses with wine and swallowed. If ten of these crabs be tied

together with a handful of Ocimum, all the scorpions in the

neighbourhood, the magicians say, will be attracted to the spot. They

recommend, also, that to wounds inflicted by the scorpion, these crabs,

or the ashes of them, should be applied with Ocimum. For all these

purposes, however, sea crabs, it should be remembered, are not so

useful. Thrasyllus informs us that there is nothing so antagonistic to

serpents as crabs: that swine, when stung by a serpent, cure themselves

by eating them; and that, when the sun is in the sign of Cancer,

serpents suffer the greatest tortures....

"It is said that while the sun is passing through the sign of Cancer,

the dead bodies of the crabs, which are lying on the shore, are

transformed into serpents."