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History of Animals   


fright, and the mother-bird, to avenge this wrong, flies at the
beast and pecks at his sore places.
The wolf is at war with the ass, the bull, and the fox, for as
being a carnivore, he attacks these other animals; and so for the same
reason with the fox and the circus, for the circus, being
carnivorous and furnished with crooked talons, attacks and maims the
animal. And so the raven is at war with the bull and the ass, for it
flies at them, and strikes them, and pecks at their eyes; and so
with the eagle and the heron, for the former, having crooked talons,
attacks the latter, and the latter usually succumbs to the attack; and
so the merlin with the vulture; and the crex with the eleus-owl, the
blackbird, and the oriole (of this latter bird, by the way, the
story goes that he was originally born out of a funeral pyre): the
cause of warfare is that the crex injures both them and their young.
The nuthatch and the wren are at war with the eagle; the nuthatch
breaks the eagle's eggs, so the eagle is at war with it on special
grounds, though, as a bird of prey, it carries on a general war all
round. The horse and the anthus are enemies, and the horse will
drive the bird out of the field where he is grazing: the bird feeds on
grass, and sees too dimly to foresee an attack; it mimics the
whinnying of the horse, flies at him, and tries to frighten him
away; but the horse drives the bird away, and whenever he catches it
he kills it: this bird lives beside rivers or on marsh ground; it
has pretty plumage, and finds its without trouble. The ass is at
enmity with the lizard, for the lizard sleeps in his manger, gets into
his nostril, and prevents his eating.
Of herons there are three kinds: the ash coloured, the white,
and the starry heron (or bittern). Of these the first mentioned
submits with reluctance to the duties of incubation, or to union of
the sexes; in fact, it screams during the union, and it is said
drips blood from its eyes; it lays its eggs also in an awkward manner,
not unattended with pain. It is at war with certain creatures that
do it injury: with the eagle for robbing it, with the fox for worrying
it at night, and with the lark for stealing its eggs.
The snake is at war with the weasel and the pig; with the weasel
when they are both at home, for they live on the same food; with the
pig for preying on her kind. The merlin is at war with the fox; it
strikes and claws it, and, as it has crooked talons, it kills the
animal's young. The raven and the fox are good friends, for the
raven is at enmity with the merlin; and so when the merlin assails the
fox the raven comes and helps the animal. The vulture and the merlin
are mutual enemies, as being both furnished with crooked talons. The
vulture fights with the eagle, and so, by the way, does does swan; and
the swan is often victorious: moreover, of all birds swans are most
prone to the killing of one another.
In regard to wild creatures, some sets are at enmity with
other sets at all times and under all circumstances; others, as in the
case of man and man, at special times and under incidental
circumstances. The ass and the acanthis are enemies; for the bird
lives on thistles, and the ass browses on thistles when they are young
and tender. The anthus, the acanthis, and the aegithus are at enmity
with one another; it is said that the blood of the anthus will not
intercommingle with the blood of the aegithus. The crow and the
heron are friends, as also are the sedge-bird and lark, the laedus and
the celeus or green woodpecker; the woodpecker lives on the banks of
rivers and beside brakes, the laedus lives on rocks and bills, and
is greatly attached to its nesting-place. The piphinx, the harpe,
and the kite are friends; as are the fox and the snake, for both
burrow underground; so also are the blackbird and the turtle-dove. The
lion and the thos or civet are enemies, for both are carnivorous and
live on the same food. Elephants fight fiercely with one another,
and stab one another with their tusks; of two combatants the beaten
one gets completely cowed, and dreads the sound of his conqueror's
voice. These animals differ from one another an extraordinary extent

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