Aelian, Historical Miscellany

LCL 486: 28-29

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Aelian

ἐνέπεσεν,4 ὅ τί ποτέ ἐστι τὸ ἐμπεσόν,5 ἡ δὲ ἔχει δαῖτα. τοσοῦτον δ᾿ ἐμπίπτει, ὅσον καὶ τὸ ὕφασμα κατέχειν δυνατόν ἐστι καὶ ἐκείνῃ δειπνεῖν ἀπόχρη.

3. Σοφόν τι ἄρα χρῆμα ἦν γένος βατράχων Αἰγυπτίων, καὶ οὖν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὑπερφέρουσι κατὰ πολύ. ἐὰν γὰρ ὕδρῳ περιπέσῃ Νείλου θρέμματι βάτραχος, καλάμου τρύφος ἐνδακὼν πλάγιον φέρει καὶ ἀπρὶξ ἔχεται καὶ οὐκ ἀνίησι κατὰ τὸ καρτερόν. ὁ δὲ ἀμηχανεῖ καταπιεῖν αὐτὸν αὐτῷ καλάμῳ· οὐ γάρ οἱ χωρεῖ περιλαβεῖν τοσοῦτον τὸ στόμα, ὅσον ὁ κάλαμος διείργει. καὶ ἐκ τούτου περιγίνονται τῆς ῥώμης τῶν ὕδρων οἱ βάτραχοι τῇ σοφίᾳ.

4. Καὶ ἐκεῖνο δὲ κυνὸς Αἰγυπτίου τι6 σοφόν· οὐκ ἀθρόως οὐδὲ ἀνέδην οὐδὲ ἐλευθέρως ἐκ τοῦ ποταμοῦ πίνουσιν ἐπικύπτοντες ἅμα καὶ ὅσον διψῶσι λάπτοντες· ὑφορῶνται γὰρ τὰ ἐν αὐτῷ θηρία. παραθέουσι δὲ τὴν ὄχθην καὶ παρακλέπτοντες πίνουσιν ὅσον ἁρπάσαι, <πάλιν>7 καὶ πάλιν. εἶτα οὕτως ἐκ διαλειμμάτων ἐκορέσθησαν, οὐ μὴν ἀπώλοντο, καὶ οὖν καὶ ἠκέσαντο τὸ δίψος.

5. Ἡ ἀλώπηξ, οὐ μόνον τὸ χερσαῖον θηρίον δολερόν ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡ θαλαττία πανοῦργός ἐστι. τὸ μὲν γὰρ δέλεαρ οὐχ ὑφορᾶται οὐδὲ μὴν φυλάττεται διὰ τὴν ἀκρασίαν τοῦτο,8 τοῦ δὲ ἀγκίστρου καταφρονεῖ καὶ πάνυ ἡ ἀλώπηξ. πρὶν ἢ γὰρ τὸν ἀσπαλιέα σπάσαι τὸν κάλαμον ἡ δὲ ἀνέθορε καὶ ἀπέκειρε τὴν

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Book 1

is, and the spider has its feast. Just so many objects fall in as the net can hold and are sufficient for the spider’s meals.

3. The species of frog found in Egypt is clever, it appears, and therefore much superior to the others. If a frog encounters the water snake that lives in the Nile, it bites off a piece of reed, which it carries at an angle and holds tightly, doing its best not to lose its grip. The water snake cannot swallow the frog, reed and all, because its mouth cannot open as wide as the length of the reed. As a result the frogs by their skill overcome the strength of the water snakes.

4. Egyptian dogs also have a clever habit. They do not drink their fill from the river carelessly and freely, bending down to lap up as much water as will satisfy their thirst. As they are suspicious of the animals that live in it, they run along the bank and surreptitiously steal a sip, again and again. In this way they are eventually satisfied by drinking at intervals; they do not lose their lives and they deal with their thirst.3

5. The fox is cunning, not only the land animal, but also the fox shark is astute. It does not treat bait as suspect, and in its greed does not take precautions. The shark is quite contemptuous of the hook, because it leaps up and cuts the line before the fisherman can pull in his rod, and then

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aelian-historical_miscellany.1997