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Metamorphoses
Ovid

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Bk XV:361-390 Pythagoras's Teachings: Autogenesis.

"However if trust is only placed in proven things, do you not see that whenever corpses putrefy, due to time or melting heat, they generate tiny creatures? Bury the carcases of sacrificed bulls (it is a known experiment) in the ditch where you have thrown them, and flower-sipping bees, will be born, here and there, from the putrid entrails. After the custom of their parent bodies, they frequent the fields, are devoted to work, and labour in hope of harvest.
        
A war-horse dug into the earth is the source of hornets: If you remove the hollow claws of land-crabs, and put the rest under the soil, a scorpion, with its curved and threatening tail, will emerge from the parts interred: and the caterpillars that are accustomed to weave their white cocoons, on uncultivated leaves (a thing observed by farmers) change to a butterfly's form, symbol of the soul.
        
Mud contains the generative seeds of green frogs, and generates them without legs, soon giving them legs for swimming, and, at the same time, with hind legs longer than their forelegs, so that they are fit to take long leaps. The cub that a she-bear has just produced is not a cub but a scarcely living lump of flesh: the mother gives it a body, by licking it, and shapes it into a form like that she has herself. Do you not see how the larvae of the honey-carrying bees, protected by the hexagonal waxen cells, are born as limbless bodies, and later acquire legs, and later still wings?
        
Who would believe, if he did not know, that Juno's bird, the peacock, that bears eyes, like stars, on its tail; and Jupiter's eagle, carrying his lightning-bolt; and Cytherea's doves; all the bird species; are born from the inside of an egg? There are those who believe that when the spine decomposes, interred in the tomb, human marrow forms a snake."
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