Curious Creatures in Zoology

John Ashton

New York: Cassel Publishing, 1890

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"Our ancestors were content with what was given them, and being, as a rule, a stay-athome race, they could not confute the stories they read in books. That age of faith must have had its comforts, for no man could deny the truth of what he was told. But now that modern travel has subdued the globe, and inquisitive strangers have poked their noses into every portion of the world, the old order changeth, giving place to new, and, gradually, the old stories are forgotten. It is to rescue some of them from the oblivion into which they were fast falling, that I have written, or compiled, this book. It is not given to every one to be able to consult the old Naturalists; and, besides, most of them are written in Latin, and to read them through is partly unprofitable work, as they copy so largely one from another. But, for the general reader, selections can be made, and, if assisted by accurate reproductions of the very quaint wood engravings, a book may be produced which, I venture to think, will not prove tiring, even to a superficial reader. ... All the old Naturalists copied from one another, and thus compiled their writings. Pliny took from Aristotle, others quote Pliny, and so on; but it was reserved for the age of printing to render their writings available to the many, as well as to represent the creatures they describe by pictures (the books of the unlearned), which add so much piquancy to the text. Mine is not a learned disquisition. It is simply a collection of zoological curiosities, put together to suit the popular taste of to-day, and as such only should it be critically judged." - introduction

Contents include: Amazons; Pygmies; Giants; Wild Men; The Sphynx; Animal Lore; The Manticora; The Centaur; The Gorgon; The Unicorn; Were-Wolves; The Leontophonus; Cattle Feeding Backwards; Animal Medicine; The Hoopoe; The Halcyon; Woolly Hens; Four-Footed Duck Fish; Senses of Fishes; Wormes and Dragons; etc.

Language: English


Last update January 3, 2022