there in the sea. The same thing is done in salting fish.
Again if, as is fabled, there is a lake in Palestine, such that if
you bind a man or beast and throw it in it floats and does not sink,
this would bear out what we have said. They say that this lake is so
bitter and salt that no fish live in it and that if you soak clothes
in it and shake them it cleans them. The following facts all of them
support our theory that it is some earthy stuff in the water which
makes it salt. In Chaonia there is a spring of brackish water that
flows into a neighbouring river which is sweet but contains no fish.
The local story is that when Heracles came from Erytheia driving the
oxen and gave the inhabitants the choice, they chose salt in
preference to fish. They get the salt from the spring. They boil off
some of the water and let the rest stand; when it has cooled and the
heat and moisture have evaporated together it gives them salt, not
in lumps but loose and light like snow. It is weaker than ordinary
salt and added freely gives a sweet taste, and it is not as white as
salt generally is. Another instance of this is found in Umbria.
There is a place there where reeds and rushes grow. They burn some
of these, put the ashes into water and boil it off. When a little
water is left and has cooled it gives a quantity of salt.
Most salt rivers and springs must once have been hot. Then the
original fire in them was extinguished but the earth through which
they percolate preserves the character of lye or ashes. Springs and
rivers with all kinds of flavours are found in many places. These
flavours must in every case be due to the fire that is or was in them,
for if you expose earth to different degrees of heat it assumes
various kinds and shades of flavour. It becomes full of alum and lye
and other things of the kind, and the fresh water percolates through
these and changes its character. Sometimes it becomes acid as in
Sicania, a part of Sicily. There they get a salt and acid water
which they use as vinegar to season some of their dishes. In the
neighbourhood of Lyncus, too, there is a spring of acid water, and