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History of Animals   


elephant is found by the banks of rivers, but he is not a river
animal; he can make his way through water, as long as the tip of his
trunk can be above the surface, for he blows with his trunk and
breathes through it. The animal is a poor swimmer owing to the heavy
weight of his body.
47

The male camel declines intercourse with its mother; if his keeper
tries compulsion, he evinces disinclination. On one occasion, when
intercourse was being declined by the young male, the keeper covered
over the mother and put the young male to her; but, when after the
intercourse the wrapping had been removed, though the operation was
completed and could not be revoked, still by and by he bit his
keeper to death. A story goes that the king of Scythia had a
highly-bred mare, and that all her foals were splendid; that wishing
to mate the best of the young males with the mother, he had him
brought to the stall for the purpose; that the young horse declined;
that, after the mother's head had been concealed in a wrapper he, in
ignorance, had intercourse; and that, when immediately afterwards
the wrapper was removed and the head of the mare was rendered visible,
the young horse ran way and hurled himself down a precipice.
48

Among the sea-fishes many stories are told about the dolphin,
indicative of his gentle and kindly nature, and of manifestations of
passionate attachment to boys, in and about Tarentum, Caria, and other
places. The story goes that, after a dolphin had been caught and
wounded off the coast of Caria, a shoal of dolphins came into the
harbour and stopped there until the fisherman let his captive go free;
whereupon the shoal departed. A shoal of young dolphins is always,
by way of protection, followed by a large one. On one occasion a shoal
of dolphins, large and small, was seen, and two dolphins at a little
distance appeared swimming in underneath a little dead dolphin when it
was sinking, and supporting it on their backs, trying out of
compassion to prevent its being devoured by some predaceous fish.
Incredible stories are told regarding the rapidity of movement of this
creature. It appears to be the fleetest of all animals, marine and
terrestrial, and it can leap over the masts of large vessels. This
speed is chiefly manifested when they are pursuing a fish for food;
then, if the fish endeavours to escape, they pursue him in their
ravenous hunger down to deep waters; but, when the necessary return
swim is getting too long, they hold in their breath, as though
calculating the length of it, and then draw themselves together for an
effort and shoot up like arrows, trying to make the long ascent
rapidly in order to breathe, and in the effort they spring right
over the a ship's masts if a ship be in the vicinity. This same
phenomenon is observed in divers, when they have plunged into deep
water; that is, they pull themselves together and rise with a speed
proportional to their strength. Dolphins live together in pairs,
male and female. It is not known for what reason they run themselves
aground on dry land; at all events, it is said that they do so at
times, and for no obvious reason.
49

Just as with all animals a change of action follows a change
of circumstance, so also a change of character follows a change of
action, and often some portions of the physical frame undergo a
change, occurs in the case of birds. Hens, for instance, when they
have beaten the cock in a fight, will crow like the cock and endeavour
to tread him; the crest rises up on their head and the tail-feathers
on the rump, so that it becomes difficult to recognize that they are
hens; in some cases there is a growth of small spurs. On the death
of a hen a cock has been seen to undertake the maternal duties,
leading the chickens about and providing them with food, and so intent

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