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Melpomene   


come early. So too in countries where the cold is severe animals
either have no horns, or grow them with difficulty- the cold being the
cause in this instance.
Here I must express my wonder- additions being what my work always
from the very first affected- that in Elis, where the cold is not
remarkable, and there is nothing else to account for it, mules are
never produced. The Eleans say it is in consequence of a curse; and
their habit is, when the breeding-time comes, to take their mares into
one of the adjoining countries, and there keep them till they are in
foal, when they bring them back again into Elis.
With respect to the feathers which are said by the Scythians to
fill the air, and to prevent persons from penetrating into the remoter
parts of the continent, even having any view of those regions, my
opinion is that in the countries above Scythia it always snows-
less, of course, in the summer than in the wintertime. Now snow when
it falls looks like feathers, as every one is aware who has seen it
come down close to him. These northern regions, therefore, are
uninhabitable by reason of the severity of the winter; and the
Scythians, with their neighbours, call the snow-flakes feathers
because, I think, of the likeness which they bear to them. I have
now related what is said of the most distant parts of this continent
whereof any account is given.
Of the Hyperboreans nothing is said either by the Scythians or
by any of the other dwellers in these regions, unless it be the
Issedonians. But in my opinion, even the Issedonians are silent
concerning them; otherwise the Scythians would have repeated their
statements, as they do those concerning the one-eyed men. Hesiod,
however, mentions them, and Homer also in the Epigoni, if that be
really a work of his.
But the persons who have by far the most to say on this subject
are the Delians. They declare that certain offerings, packed in
wheaten straw, were brought from the country of the Hyperboreans
into Scythia, and that the Scythians received them and passed them
on to their neighbours upon the west, who continued to pass them on
until at last they reached the Adriatic. From hence they were sent
southward, and when they came to Greece, were received first of all by
the Dodonaeans. Thence they descended to the Maliac Gulf, from which
they were carried across into Euboea, where the people handed them
on from city to city, till they came at length to Carystus. The
Carystians took them over to Tenos, without stopping at Andros; and
the Tenians brought them finally to Delos. Such, according to their
own account, was the road by which the offerings reached the
Delians. Two damsels, they say, named Hyperoche and Laodice, brought
the first offerings from the Hyperboreans; and with them the
Hyperboreans sent five men to keep them from all harm by the way;
these are the persons whom the Delians call "Perpherees," and to
whom great honours are paid at Delos. Afterwards the Hyperboreans,
when they found that their messengers did not return, thinking it
would be a grievous thing always to be liable to lose the envoys
they should send, adopted the following plan:- they wrapped their
offerings in the wheaten straw, and bearing them to their borders,
charged their neighbours to send them forward from one nation to
another, which was done accordingly, and in this way the offerings
reached Delos. I myself know of a practice like this, which obtains
with the women of Thrace and Paeonia. They in their sacrifices to
the queenly Diana bring wheaten straw always with their offerings.
Of my own knowledge I can testify that this is so.
The damsels sent by the Hyperboreans died in Delos; and in their
honour all the Delian girls and youths are wont to cut off their hair.
The girls, before their marriage-day, cut off a curl, and twining it
round a distaff, lay it upon the grave of the strangers. This grave is
on the left as one enters the precinct of Diana, and has an olive-tree
growing on it. The youths wind some of their hair round a kind of
grass, and, like the girls, place it upon the tomb. Such are the

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