Thursday, April 12, 2012

pelican and tiger

This bird has a great love for its young; and when it finds them in its nest dead from a serpent’s bite, it pierces itself to the heart, and with its blood it bathes them till they return to life.

This beast is a native of Hyrcania, and it is something like the panther from the various spots on its skin. It is an animal of terrible swiftness; the hunter when he finds its young ones carries them off hastily, placing mirrors in the place whence he takes them, and at once escapes on a swift horse. The panther returning finds the mirrors fixed on the ground and looking into them believes it sees its young.; then scratching with its paws it discovers the cheat. Forthwith, by means of the scent of its young, it follows the hunter and when this hunter sees the tigress drops one of the young ones and she takes it, and having carried it to the den she immediately returns to the hunter and does the same until he gets into his boat.
(Leonardo da Vinci, misc. in The Literary Works of Leonoardo da Vinci, Vol. II, (ed.) Jean Paul Richter, Phaidon, 1970 (first published 1883): (pp.266 & 273)


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