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Batrachites, Toadstone

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BATRACHITES.
127
Many Toadstones are still preserved in collections of antique jewels, set in silver rings, the metal appropriated seemingly to that purpose, being generally prescribed for the setting of all amulets. I have lately had an opportunity of examining several of these toadstones, some in their original settings, some ex­tracted. They are hemispherical, or sometimes oval, hollow within, of an apparently petrified bony substance, whity brown, or variegated with darker shades. The most probable explana­tion of their origin is, that they were the bony embossed plates lining the palate, and serving instead of teeth to a fossil fish, an arrangement observable in the recent representatives of the same species.8
Pliny indeed includes in his alphabetical list (though with frequent sneers at the credulity or roguery3 of his authorities) numerous " stones of virtue " found inside various animals, viz., the Alectorias, like a crystal, as big as a bean, found in the belly of a cock, by the virtue of which they pretend that Milo of Crotona gained his reputation for being invincible. Mediaeval naturalists added that this stone prevented the wearer from ever feeling thirst, and that the cock containing it was betrayed by his never drinking with his food like other fowls. There is no doubt that crystalline stones are often found in a fowl's gizzard, as they pick up anything shining in preference, for which reason in Brazil their gizzards sometimes contain diamonds.
The Brontias, from the tortoise's brain, extinguished fires occa­sioned by lightning.
The Cinaedia, found in the brains of the fish so called, of a white colour and oblong shape, foreshowed tempests by a change of colour, being clear in fine, but cloudy in stormy weather.
The Chelidonia was of two kinds, in colour like the swallow, on the one side entirely purple, on the other purple dappled with black spots. But Isidores, improving upon this simple state-
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King. Natural History of Precious Stones.