Bar-nash-ditur (man of the mountain), which can live only through the umbilical cord, and dies if it is broken. Maimonides says the Adone-hasadeh are animals resembling men. Travelers wrote of the animal that it talked much and intelligently, even with a human articulation. In Arabic it is called alnanas, which Buxdorf translated νάνος, nanos, dwarf (in Talmudic nanos means shut). Clearness is lent to the supposition that these accounts referred to apes by the fact that E. Tison, in 1698, methodically dissected a female chimpanzee from Angola in Africa, and called it a pygmy, comparing it with the accounts of the ancients respecting alleged dwarf races in Ethiopia, which races, however, modern ethnologists recognize in several real living tribes of diminutive size. Simson asserts in a note to Kilajim, 8, 5, that he had heard that the Abne-hasadeh was the animal Jodua, through a bone of which, according to Talmud Synhedrin 65, a, b, the wizards mentioned in Leviticus xix, 31, and xx, 6, and in Deuteronomy xviii, 11, placing them' in their mouths, were able to prophesy; "and how a great cord rises out of a root in the ground on which the Jodua grows like a squash or melon; his face, body, and limbs are like those of a man, but the navel is joined to the cord that rises out of the earth-root. No being dare venture within reach of the cord, for fear of being destroyed,* and the animal devastates everything within the circle which the cord describes. No man can approach it with safety; and, if any one wishes to overcome it, he must endeavor to lay hold of the cord and break it, or shoot through it from a distance with an arrow, when the animal dies." We apparently have to deal here with a conglomeration of fables of different times and places. There are, first, exaggerations in the sketches of the great anthropoid apes, from Hanno in his periplus to the fanciful Du Chaillu, not to speak of the fabulous impossible accounts that appear in Pliny, Ælian, and other ancient writers. The Adne-hasadeh, or Jodua, except as to the navel cord, corresponds well with the authentic accounts of the gorilla as we find them in the works of Brehm, Dr. Franquet, R. Burton, Lenz, Gürsfeld, and Koppenfels. By means of the navel-cord we may recognize in the Adne-hasadeh a plant-animal, a kind of Boranetz, of the fable of which Lewysohn, in his "Biology," introduces the following account: "In this steppe or desert (Lesser and Great Tartary) is found the Boranetz, or Bornitch, as some call it, a fruit as large as a melon, having the form of a sheep (whence it gets the name of Boran, Russian for sheep), with a head, feet, and snout, and, what is remarkable, this fruit has on the outside a skin covered with white, bright, and very finely tinted hair, firm as silk. These skins are valued very highly by the Tartars and Russians. This Boranetz grows on a bush three feet high, which implants itself in the navel of the sheep. The fruit turns, like a summer flower, as if it would incline itself toward the plants near it. They tell of it, that if the grass and plants around it dry up, the fruit perishes for want of food and support; and the same
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/674
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.