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A slothful man hideth his hand in the tjelachit ; but, his mouth, if he does not rather totally forego the enIt grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.
joyment of them, as costing too great exertion ! SureMeaning, he sees a dish, deep and capacious, filled ly this picture of sloth is greatly heightened by this with confectionary, sweetmeats, &c. whatever his ap- notion of the tjelachit. petite can desire in respect to relish ; of this he is It seems to be sufficiently striking, that two words, greedy. Thus excited, he takes his hand from his rendered by translators lap, or bosom (Prov. xvi. 33. mouth, thrusts it deep into the dish, loads it with del and the word before us,) should both signify vases, or icacies : but, alas ! the labour of lifting it up to his vessels. The first denotes the lot vase, used for conmouth again is too great, too excessive, too fatiguing: taining the lot pebbles, &c. to be drawn out by the he therefore does not enjoy or taste what is before hand: the other, as we have seen above, a dish for him, though his appetite be so far allured as to desire, meat; neither of them referring to any part of the and his hand as to grasp. He suffers the viands to person, as our version seems to imply, which reads, become cold, and thereby to lose their flavour; while
A slothful man hideth his hand in his BOSOM, he debates the important movement of his hand to
And will not bring it to his mouth again.
OF THE SAPHAN, OR CONEY; AND THE MOUSE. PROVERBS XXX. 26.
Extract from the Appendix to Bruce's Travels.
that this can ever be removed by the strength or opThis curious animal is found in Ethiopia, in the erations of man. caverns of the rocks, or under the great stones in the The ashkoko are gregarious, and frequently sevmountain of the sun, behind the queen's palace at eral dozens of them sit upon the great stones at the Koscam. It is also frequent in the deep caverns in mouth of caves, and warm themselves in the sun, or the rock in many places in Abyssinia. It does not even come out and enjoy the freshness of the summer burrow or make holes, as the rat or rabbit, nature evening. They do not stand upright upon their feet, having interdicted him this practice by furnishing him but seem to steal along as in fear, their belly being with feet, the toes of which are perfectly round, and nearly close to the ground, advancing a few steps at of a soft, pulpy, tender substance ; the fleshy parts a time and then pausing. They have something very of the toes project beyond the nails, which are rather mild, feeble like, and timid in their deportment ; are sharp, much similar to a man's nails ill grown, and gentle and easily tamed ; though, when roughly these appear given him rather for the defence of his handled at the first, they bite very severely. soft toes, than for any active use in digging, to which This animal is found plentifully on mount Libanus. they are by no means adapted.
I have seen him also among the rocks at the Pharan His hind foot is long and narrow, divided into two Promontorium, or cape Mahomet, which divides the deep wrinkles, or clefts, in the middle, drawn across Elanitic from the Heroopolitic gulf, or gulf of Suez. the centre, on each side of which the flesh rises with In all places they seem to be the same ; if there is a considerable protuberancy, and is terminated by any difference, it is in favour of the size and fatness, three claws, the middle one the longest. The fore which those in the mountain of the sun seem to enjoy foot has four toes, three disposed in the same propor- above the others. What is his food I cannot detertion as the hind foot ; the fourth, the largest of the mine with any degree of certainty. When in my poswhole, is placed lower down on the side of the foot, session, he ate bread and milk, and seemed rather to so that the top of it arrives no further than the bottom be a moderate than a voracious feeder.
a I suppose he of the toe next to it. The sole of the foot is divided lives upon grain, fruit, and roots. He seemed too in the centre by deep clefts, like the other, and this timid and backward in his own nature to feed upon cleft reaches down to the heel, which it nearly divides. living food, or to catch it hy hunting. The whole of the fore foot is very thick, fleshy, and The total length of this animal as he sits, from the soft, and of a deep black colour, altogether void of point of his nose to his anus, is 171 inches. The hair, though the back, or upper part of it, is thick cov. Jength of his snout, from the extremity of his nose to ered like the rest of its body, down to where the toes the occiput, is 3; inches. His upper jaw is longer divide ; there the hair ends, so that these long toes than his under ; his nose stretches half an inch bevery much resemble the fingers of a man.
yond his chin. The aperture of the mouth, when he In place of holes, it seems to delight in less close, keeps it close in profile, is a little more than an inch. or more airy places, in the mouths of caves, or clefts The circumference of his snout around both his jaws in the rock, or where one projecting, and being open is 3.5 inches, and round his head, just above his before, affords a long retreat under it, without fear ears, 8 inches; the circumference of his neck is 8
inches, and its length one inch and a half. He and Sinai, where the children of Israel made their seems more willing to turn his body altogether, than forty years peregrination; perhaps this name obtains his neck alone. The circumference of his body, only among the Arabians. I apprehend he is known measured behind his fore legs, is 9 inches, and that by that of saphan in the Hebrew, and is the animal of his body where greatest, 11 inches; the length of erroneously called by our translators cuniculus, “the his fore leg and toe is 3; inches; the length of his rabbit,” or “coney." bind thigh is 31 inches, and the length of his hind leg Many are the reasons against admitting this anito the toe taken together, is 2 feet 2 inches. The mal, mentioned by Scripture, i.e. the saphan, to be length of the fore foot is 1 inches; the length of the the rabbit. We know that this last was an animal pemiddle toe 6 lines, and its breadth 6 lines also. The culiar to Spain, and therefore could not be supposed distance between the point of the nose and the first to be either in Judea or Arabia. They are gregaricorner of the eye, is if inch ; and the length of his ous indeed, and so far resemble each other, as also in eye, from one angle to the other, 4 lines. The differ: point of size; but in place of seeking houses in the ence from the fore angle of his eye to the root of his rocks, we know the cuniculus' desire is constantly ear is 11.5 inches, and the opening of his eye 2} lines. sand. They have claws indeed, or nails, with which His upper lip is covered with a pencil of strong
pencil of strong they dig holes or burrows, but there is nothing rehairs for mustaches, the length of which are 34 in markable in them, or their frequenting rocks, so as to ches, and those of his eyebrows, 24 inches.
be described by that circumstance; neither is there He has no tail, and gives at first sight the idea of a any thing in the character of the rabbit that denotes rat, rather than of any other creature. His colour is excellent wisdom, or that they supply the want of a gray mixed with a reddish brown, perfectly like the strength by any remarkable sagacity. The saphan wild or warren rabbit. His belly is white, from the then is not the rabbit, which last, unless it was brought point of the lower jaw, to where his tail would begin, to him by his ships from Europe, Solomon never saw. if he had one. All over his body he has scattered It was not the rabbit's peculiar character to haunt the hairs, strong and polished like his mustaches ; these rocks. He was by no means distinguished by feebleare for the most part two inches and a quarter in ness, or being any way unprovided with means of diglength. His ears are round, not pointed; he makes ging for himself holes. On the contrary, he was armno noise that ever I heard, but certainly chews the ed with claws, and it was his character to dig such, cud. To discover this was my principal reason for not in the rock, but in the sands. Nor was be any keeping him alive ; those with whom he is acquaint- way distinguished for wisdom, more than the hare, ed he follows with great assiduity; The arrival of the hedgehog, or any of his neighbours. any living creature, even of a bird, makes him seek Let us, now apply these characters to the ashfor a hiding place, and I shut him up in a cage with a koko. small chicken, after omitting feeding him a whole day; He is above all other animals so much attached to the the next morning the chicken was unhurt, though the rock, that I never once saw him on the ground, or ashkoko came to me with great signs of having suffer from among large stones in the mouth of caves, where ed with hunger. I likewise made a second experi- is his constant residence; he is gregarious, and lives ment, by enclosing two smaller birds with him for the in families. He is in Judea, Palestine, and Arabia, space of several weeks ; neither were these hurt, and consequently must have been familiar to Solo· though both of them fed without impediment, of the mon. For David describes him very pertinently, meat that was thrown into his cage, and the smallest and joins him with other animals perfectly known to of these a kind of titmouse, seemed to be advancing all men. “The hills are a refuge for the wild goats, in a sort of familiarity with him, though I never saw it and the rocks for the saphan, or ashkoko,” Psalm civ. venture to perch upon him, yet it would eat frequently, 18. And Solomon says, “There be four things which and at the same time, of the food on which the ashko are little upon earth, but they are exceeding wise." ko was feeding; and in this consisted chiefly the fa- “The saphanim are a feeble fólk, yet they make their miliarity I speak of, for the ashkoko himself never houses in rocks,” Prov. xxx. 24, 26. Now this, I showed any alteration of behaviour on the presence think, very obviously fixes the ashkoko to be the saof the bird, but treated it with a kind of absolute in- phan, for this weakness seems to allude to his feet, difference. The cage, indeed, was large, and the and how inadequate these are to dig holes in the rock, birds having a perch to sit upon in the upper part of where yet, however, he lodges. These are, as I have it, they did not annoy one another.
already observed, perfectly round; very pulpy, or In Amhara this animal is called ashkoko, which I fleshy, so liable to be excoriated or hurt, and of a apprehend is derived from the singularity of those soft, fleshy substance. Notwithstanding which, they long herinacious hairs, which, like small thorns, grow build houses in the very hardest rocks, more inaccesabout his back, and which in Amhara are called ashok. sible than those of the rabbit, and in which they abide In Arabia and Syria he is called Israel's sheep, or in greater safety; not by exertion of strength, for Gannim Israel, for what reason I know not, unless they have it not, but are truly, as Solomon says, a it is chiefly from his frequenting the rocks of Horeb feeble folk, but by their own sagacity and judgment,
and are therefore justly described as wise. Lastly, tween the Don and Volga, the hills south of the Irtish, what leaves the thing without doubt is, that some of from fort Janiyschera to the seven palaces, where the the Arabs, particularly Damir, say, that the sa Altaic mountains begin : as singular in its motions as phan has no tail; that it is less than a cat, and lives in its form : always stands on its hind feet; the fore in houses, that is, not houses with men, as there are feet performing the office of hands : runs fast; and few of these in the country where the saphan is; but when pursued, jumps five or six feet from the ground: that he builds houses, or nests of straw, as Solomon burrows like rabbits : keeps close in the day: sleeps has said of him, in contradistinction to the rabbit, and rolled up : lively during night: when taken, emits rat, and those other animals that burrow in the ground, a plaintive feeble note : feeds on vegetables : has who cannot be said to build houses, as is expressly great strength in its fore feet. Two, which I saw said of him.
living in London, burrowed almost through the brick The Christians in Abyssinia do not eat the flesh of wall of the room they were in; came out of their hole this animal, as holding it unclean, neither do the Ma- at night for food, and when caught, were much fatter hometans, who in many respects of this kind in absti- and sleeker than when confined to their box. nence from wild meat, have the same scruple as Chris “ This is the diaman Israel, or the lamb of the Istians. The Arabs in Arabia Petrea do eat it, and raelites of the Arabs, and is supposed to be the saI am informed those on mount Libanus also : those of phan; Bochart displays a vast deal of learning on the this kind that I saw were very fat, and their flesh as subject. Vide Hierozoicon, lib. iii. cap. 33. p. 1001. white as that of a chicken. Though I killed them the “coney" of Holy Writ: our rabbit being unfrequently with the gun, yet I never happened to be known in the Holy Land. Dr. Shaw met with this alone so as to be able to eat them. They are quite species on mount Libanus, and distinguishes it from devoid of all smell and rankness, which cannot be said the next species, Travels, 376. It is also the mouse of the rabbit.
of Isaiah, chap. Ixvi. 17; Bochart, 1015. This aniI have no doubt that the el akbar and the el we mal was a forbidden food with the Israelites. Achbro of the Arabs, are both the same animal. The bar in the original signifies a male jerboa. el akbar only means the largest of the mus-montanus, “ Middle species ; of the size of a rat: of the col. under which they have classed the jerboa. The jerd, our of the former, except that the rump on each side and el webro, as also the ashkoko or akbar, answer to is crossed with a white line. the character of having no tail, vol. v. p.p. 139 to 146. “ There is again a variety of this with a more
Such is the account, and such the opinion of Mr. lengthened nose, shorter ears, and broader : tail Bruce, whose figure, with its feeble feet, occupies thicker, and not so elegantly tufted: the hind legs the upper part of our Plate. I must acknowledge I shorter: the coat longer and thicker. think many of his coincidences are striking, and might “ This middle species is found only in the eastern lead to the adoption of his opinion: but before we de- deserts of Siberia and Tartary, beyond lake Baikal ; termine decisively, let us hear counsel on the other also in Barbary, Shaw's Travels, and Syria, Haym's side. The following extracts are from Mr. Pennant, Tesoro Brit. ii.
and tab. 124. and even as far as InHist. Quad. p. 427, &c. quarto edit.
dia, Pallas. “ The Egyptian jerboa, with thin, erect, and broad “ These three agree in manners : burrow in hard ears: full and dark eyes : long whiskers : fore legs ground, clay, or indurated mud : not only in high and an inch long; five toes on each; the inner, or thumiodry spots, but even in low and salt places. They scarce apparent; but that, as well as the rest, fur- dig their holes very speedily, not only with their fore nished with a sharp claw: hind legs two inches and feet but with their teeth, and fling the earth back a quarter long, thin, covered with short hair, and ex with their hind feet, so as to form a heap at the enactly resembling those of a bird ; three toes on each, trance. The burrows are many yards long, and run covered above and below with hair; the middle toe the obliquely and winding, but not above half a yard longest; on each a pretty long sharp claw: length, from deep below the surface. They end in a large space nose to tail, seven inches and one quarter : tail ten or nest, the receptacle of the purest herbs. They inches, terminated with a thick black tuft of hair; the have usually but one entrance ; yet by a wonderful tip white; the rest of the tail covered with very short sagacity they work from their nest another passage coarse hair : the upper part of the body thin, or com to within a very small space of the surface, which in pressed sideways: the part about the rump and loins case of necessity they can burst through, and so eslarge : the head, back, sides, and thighs, covered with
cape. long hair, ash coloured at the bottom, pale tawny at « It is singular, that an animal of a very chilly nathe ends: breast and belly whitish: across the upper ture, should keep within its hole the whole day, and part of the thighs is an obscure dusky band : the hair wander about only in the night. long and soft.
“ They are the prey of all lesser rapacious beasts. « Jnhabits Egypt, Barbary, Palestine, the deserts The Arabs, who are forbidden all other kinds of between Balsora and Aleppo, the sandy tracts be- mice, esteem these the greatest delicacies : as those