59 Crocodile.


The natives of Madagascar worship the crocodile as the Egyptians did before them: but I know not whether the Egyptians had so good a reason to allege for 102their worship as these savages. The crocodile supplies them with a trial by ordeal. The party accused, invokes this Jacaret, as they call it, and adjures it to spare him if he is innocent, but to devour him, if what he swears be false: then he plunges into the water. I do not remember any other ordeal which has been so totally referred to chance.

Those Egyptians who were wise enough not to worship crocodiles, had an excellent method of destroying them. They laid a bait for them, and made a pig cry upon the shore to attract them. As soon as one was hooked and drawn out of the water, they threw dust in its eyes; and having thus blinded it, were easily able to destroy it.

This animal is tameable. The Egyptians of Thebes and those who dwelt near Lake Mœris, each had one which would suffer itself to be handled, and wore earrings and bracelets. The Javanese take a fancy, that a particular crocodile is their 103brother or sister, and accustom it to come at a call and be fed. Less cost of money than was expended upon Cleopatra’s barge, would have sufficed to have trained crocodiles to draw it.

The testicles of the crocodile are greatly valued in some parts of India for their strong musky odour.


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