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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 18

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most of them have the head and feet cut off, are scalded, and then put into vinegar with certain drugs. Thus prepared they keep for a year, and are sold at the same price as the fresh birds. The sale of these little birds is in the hands of the Europeans at Larnaca, who continually receive commissions from England, Holland, France, and some parts of the Turkish dominions, from correspondents who desire them for their own use. Every year 400 little barrels are exported, some containing 200, others 400 birds. The way they are generally prepared here for the table is to cut them in two, and put them on the gridiron with bread crumbs and a little parsley which gives them an excellent flavour. In the months of July and August one sees many vultures standing in the fields like flocks of sheep ; but they are only birds of passage, whilst all the other creatures we have mentioned are natives : unless we should except the woodcock, whose nest has never been found in any part of the island, nor indeed, so they say, elsewhere. Among the venomous beasts there is a kind of snake, which the Greeks call κουφή, or deaf, whose bite is mortal. The longest are two feet in length, and their thickness across about a thumb's length. They are yellow and black, and have two little horns on the head. The Greeks err in calling it the deaf snake, as it is certainly not deaf, for the peasants when they reap the corn, among which it chiefly lives, to guard themselves from its attacks, besides keeping their boots always on their feet, have also little bells bound to their sickles to alarm and scare them away. A useless precaution, were the snakes really deaf. I ought to add before leaving the subject that at Tremitiu, a village in the island, is a Greek family which is said to enjoy the hereditary virtue of curing persons bitten by these serpents. I have seen myself two persons who within twenty-four hours after the bite presented themselves to one of this family, and by a simple pressure of the wound were healed. On the other hand others have died who did not 14 A General View of the [CH.

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