Monday, October 26, 2009

snipe hunt

"The gnat chasers, which likewise serve other purposes, are called cucurios, and are winged worms, inoffensive, a little smaller than butterflies, and resembling rather a scarabaeus, since their wings are protected through a tough outer covering, into which they are drawn when the insect stops flying. These insects, like the fireflies we see shining at night or certain luminous worms found in hedgerows, have been supplied by provident nature with four luminous points, two of which occupy the place of the eyes, and the other two are hidden inside the body under the shell, and are only visible when they put out their little wings like the scarabs, and begin to fly. Each cucurio thus carries four lanterns, and it is pleasing to learn how people protect themselves against the pestiferous gnats, which sting every one and in some places are a trifle smaller than bees.

"As soon as one knows that these dangerous gnats have invaded his house, or wishes to prevent them doing so, cucurios are immediately procured by the following artifice; necessity, the mother of invention, has taught this method. To catch cucurios, one must go out at nightfall, carrying a burning coal, mount upon a neighboring hut in sight of the cucurios, and call in a loud voice, "cucurios, cucurios!"

-Pietro Martire d’Anghiera
De Orbo Novo

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