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Hieroglyphics of Horapollo, tr. Alexander Turner Cory, [1840], at


When they depict a PELICAN, they signify both a fool, and an idiot, because although like other winged creatures it is able to deposit its eggs on the higher places, it does not, but it merely scrapes up the earth and there lays its eggs. And the people observing this, surround the place with dried cows’ dung, to which they apply fire. And when the pelican sees the smoke, by endeavouring to extinguish the fire with its wings, she on the contrary kindles it by their motion: and thus, her wings being burnt by the fire, she easily becomes a prey for the

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fowlers. And because it enters into the contest simply for the sake of its young, the priests consider it unlawful to eat it. But the rest of the Egyptians eat it, alleging that the pelican does not enter into the contest with discretion, as do the geese, but with folly.

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