02 February 2015

56–59: The curious breeding habits of wolves; some animal enmities

56(61) Concerning the parturition of wolves [lykos], [Aristotle] makes a precise relation of something fabulous (though he does so as one who is conscious of this): for he says that they all give birth in a single twelve-day period of the year. The reason for this, as the story goes, is that they brought Leto from the Hyperboreans to Delos in twelve days, during which time she was in the form of a wolf.

57(62) The owl [glaux] and the crow [korone] are enemies: while the crow <steals away the eggs> of the owl by day because the owl cannot see, the owl does the same to the crow by night because the crow cannot see. So while one rules by night, the other does by day.

58(63) The ass [onos] and the aigithos, too, are at war with one another: for [the ass] comes by and scratches itself on the thorns and because of this, and whenever it brays, it throws out the eggs of the aigithos and the nestlings fall out in fright. Because of this injury, the aigithos flies at it and pecks its sores.

59(64) And the merlin [aisalon] is enemy to the fox [alopex], but the raven [korax] and the fox are friends—the raven, too, makes war on the merlin, which is why it comes to the aid of the fox when the latter is struck.

Cross-references: available

© R. Hardiman 2014

Image Credits
Turi MacCombie 'Fox Standing with Ravens' (watercolour) | R. Michelson Galleries

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