70 THE MAGIC OF JEWELS AND CHARMS
for if placed on a hairy spot of man or beast the hair was extracted,
while if it were rubbed over a bald spot the hair was made to grow.127
Probably the appearance of certain minerals covered with fine,
hair-like spines, suggested the idea that the body of the stone had
attracted hair to itself, and thus gave rise to this strange belief in
the depilatory power of the stone, or it may have been a form of amber
that, owing to its opacity, was not recognized as being the same as the
The Arabic Aristotle relates many wonderful tales of stones found by Alexander the Great during his Asiatic campaigns (327-323 b.c.). While
these are all apocryphal, there can be no doubt that it was subsequent
to these campaigns that western Europe was first made familiar with
many of the precious stones of Persia and India. One of the stones
reported by "Aristotle" bore the name el behacte or baddare, rendered in a Hebrew version dar (pearl?).
This was the stone that attracted men, as the loadstone attracted iron.
A quantity of these stones were found on the seashore by the soldiers
of Alexander's army, but the men were so fascinated by their aspect as
to be unable to gather them up. Therefore Alexander ordered that the
soldiers should veil their faces, or close their eyes, and, after
covering the marvellous stones with a cloth, should take them away
without once looking at them. Hereupon Alexander gave commands that a
wall should be built around ''a certain city.''128 Possibly we have here a distant echo of the pearl gates of the New Jerusalem.
other strange stones are described, one of these appearing on the
surface of the water only during the night, while the other shows
itself during the daytime and sinks beneath the surface as soon as the
sun sets. The "day-
" Ibid., p. 370. "Ibid., p. 379.