Of Castore. cap. 29.
*CAstor is a wonderous beast, & liueth and goeth in land among foure footed beasts, and swimmeth vnder water, and dwelleth with Fish that swimme ther∣in, and hath that name Castor, of Ca∣strando, gelding, as Isidore sayeth, libro 12. for their gendering stones accorde to medicine, and because of the same stones they geld themselues when they be ware of the hunter, & bite off their gendering stones, as hée sayth. Cicero speaketh of him and sayth, that they raunsome them∣selues with that parte of the bodye, for the which they bée most pursued. And Iuuenal sayth, that they geld themselues and loose theyr stones, for they desire to scape. And the Castor is called Fiber also, and is called a sea hound of Pontus. Huc vsque Isidor. Of Castoris Plinius spea∣keth, libro. 11. capitulo. 3. In Pontus hée sayth, is a manner kinde of beastes, that dwelleth now in lande and now in wa∣ter, and maketh houses and dens arayed with wonderfull craft in the brinkes of riuers and of waters. For these beastes liue together in flockes, and loue beastes of the same kinde, and commeth together and cutteth rods and stickes with theyr téeth, and bringeth them hoame to theyr dens in a wonderfull wise, for they laye one of them on the grounde vpryght in stéed of a slead or of a dray, with his legs and féete reared vpward, and lay & loade the stickes and wood betwéene his legges and thighes, and draweth him home to their dens, and vnlade and discarge him then, and make them dwelling places ryght strong by great subtiltye of craft. In theyr houses bée two chambers or thrée distinguished, as it were thrée cel∣lers, & they dwell in the ouer place when the water ariseth, & in the neather when the water is away, and each of them hath a certeine hole properly made in the cel∣ler, by the which hole he putteth out his taile in the water, for the taile is of fishy kind, he may not without water be long kept without corruption. And the beast is wonderfull and wonderfully shaped, for his taile onely is fish, and all the other deale of his bodye hath the kinde of a foure footed beast, and is shaped as a lit∣tle hounde, and his hinder feete bée as it were the féete of an hound, & therwith he goeth principallye in the lande, and his two fore feete be as it were Goose féet, & therewith he swimmeth principallye in water. His skinne is full precious and hath téeth longer and shorter as a hound, and is not swift of moouing, for his legs be full short. And Castor hath two gen∣dering stones that be greate in compari∣son to his little bodye, and we call these stones Castorea. And of these stones Pli∣nius speaketh li. 32. ca. 3. and sayth, That the Castor biteth off his gendring stones that we call Castoria, and that least he be taken of hunters. And Sextinus, a most diligent sercher of medicine, denieth this: For he saith, that those gendring stones cleaue so nigh & so fast to the ridge bone, yt they may not take them from the beast, but his life is taken also. Also Plat. sayth the same, and Dioscorides also: that that Page 357 beast is not so wary nor so witty, that he could helpe himselfe in yt manner. And that is known all day in Castoris that be found in diuers places. And so this that Isidore and Phisiologus tell of their gel∣ding, shall not so be vnderstood of the cō∣mon Castoris: But of some other beast yt be like Castores in gendering stones. And very Castorium & not feined, helpeth against the greatest euill of the bodye, as Plinius saith there, & namely if ye stones be of a Castor that is not too young nor too olde. And Castoria these stones be cho∣sen in this manner: For they be double, & hang by one string, and coupled by one sinew, for such may not soone be feined. And many men take ye bladder of a beast, and fill it full of Castoris bloud, and put thereto a little of ye Castor to haue smel, & a little pepper for to haue sharp sauour: and bindeth the necke of the bladder, for it should séeme a sinew, but it is impossi∣ble yt two bladders shoulde hang by one neck: and therefore ye Castorium is best, yt is double, & hangeth by one sinew. And ye Castorium is best that is meanly sharp in sauour. For if it be too sharpe, & as it were earthie, then it is feined, & namely if it haue not sinewes medled, as Diosc. saith. And so good Castorium is meanely sharp of sauour & glewie, without strong or salt sauour: for with Sal aromaticum oft Castorium is feined, as Pli. saith ther: The more feesh & new Castorium is, the better it is, & the more vertuous in me∣dicine. And it is a token that it is not feined, when the stones haue certeine skins yt cleaue essentially thereto full of vnctuous fatnesse, and may be kept seuen yeares in greate vertue, & shall be put in medicine without the vtter skin, and shal he weighed in due manner: and hath ver∣tue to dissolue and temper, to consume & to wast, and to abate euill humours, and namely to comfort sinewy members: and so Castorium helpeth against many sick∣nesses & euills, for it accordeth to them yt haue the falling euill, and helpeth against colde euills of the head, and doth awaye sodeine palsie of the tongue, and restoreth ye speech, if it be onely tempered in moy∣sture vnder the tongue, & helpeth against vniuersall & generall palsie of the body, if it be sod in wine with Rew and with Sage. And oft in meat & in drinke, exci∣teth, moueth, & comforteth the brain, and maketh to sneese: and therfore the Litar∣gike man, yt hath the sléeping euill, is a∣waked therwith, & prouoketh and causeth sléepe, if the head be anointed therwith, & Oleum Rosaceum, and helpeth against strong venim, & against the venim of scor∣pions, & of the serpent Cerastes, & of the Serpent Prester, as Plinius saith, libr. 8. cap. 3. Also his vrine helpeth in all the foresaid things, as he saith, and exciteth menstruall bloud, and helpeth concepti∣on, and many other dooings, & his grease is most effectuall and vertuous in Oint∣ments.
(*The Beuer is a greate deuourer of fish; as is the Otter.)