@ Fables on plants.

(Of the Avaricious.)

There will be many who will eagerly and with great care and solicitude follow up a thing, which, if they only knew its malignity, would always terrify them.

(Of those men, who, the older they grow, the more avaricious they become, whereas, having but little time to stay, they should become more liberal.)

We see those who are regarded as being most experienced and judicious, when they least need a thing, seek and cherish it with most avidity.

(Of the Ditch.)

Many will be busied in taking away from a thing, which will grow in proportion as it is diminished.

(Of a Weight placed on a Feather-pillow.)

And it will be seen in many bodies that by raising the head they swell visibly; and by laying the raised head down again, their size will immediately be diminished.

(Of catching Lice.)

And many will be hunters of animals, which, the fewer there are the more will be taken; and conversely, the more there are, the fewer will be taken.

(Of Drawing Water in two Buckets with a single Rope.)

And many will be busily occupied, though the more of the thing they draw up, the more will escape at the other end.

(Of the Tongues of Pigs and Calves in Sausage-skins.)

Oh! how foul a thing, that we should see the tongue of one animal in the guts of another.

(Of Sieves made of the Hair of Animals.)

We shall see the food of animals pass through their skin everyway excepting through their mouths, and penetrate from the outside downwards to the ground.

(Of Lanterns.)

[Footnote 35: Lanterns were in Italy formerly made of horn.] The cruel horns of powerful bulls will screen the lights of night against the wild fury of the winds.

(Of Feather-beds.)

Flying creatures will give their very feathers to support men.

(Of Animals which walk on Trees—wearing wooden Shoes.)

The mire will be so great that men will walk on the trees of their country.

(Of the Soles of Shoes, which are made from the Ox.)

And in many parts of the country men will be seen walking on the skins of large beasts.

(Of Sailing in Ships.)

There will be great winds by reason of which things of the East will become things of the West; and those of the South, being involved in the course of the winds, will follow them to distant lands.

(Of Worshipping the Pictures of Saints.)

Men will speak to men who hear not; having their eyes open, they will not see; they will speak to these, and they will not be answered. They will implore favours of those who have ears and hear not; they will make light for the blind.

(Of Sawyers.)

There will be many men who will move one against another, holding in their hands a cutting tool. But these will not do each other any injury beyond tiring each other; for, when one pushes forward the other will draw back. But woe to him who comes between them! For he will end by being cut in pieces.

(Of Silk-spinning.)

Dismal cries will be heard loud, shrieking with anguish, and the hoarse and smothered tones of those who will be despoiled, and at last left naked and motionless; and this by reason of the mover, which makes every thing turn round.

(Of putting Bread into the Mouth of the Oven and taking it out again.)

In every city, land, castle and house, men shall be seen, who for want of food will take it out of the mouths of others, who will not be able to resist in any way.

(Of tilled Land.)

The Earth will be seen turned up side down and facing the opposite hemispheres, uncovering the lurking holes of the fiercest animals.

(Of Sowing Seed.)

Then many of the men who will remain alive, will throw the victuals they have preserved out of their houses, a free prey to the birds and beasts of the earth, without taking any care of them at all.

(Of the Rains, which, by making the Rivers muddy, wash away the Land.)

[Footnote 81: Compare No. 945.] Something will fall from the sky which will transport a large part of Africa which lies under that sky towards Europe, and that of Europe towards Africa, and that of the Scythian countries will meet with tremendous revolutions [Footnote 84: Compare No. 945.].

(Of Wood that burns.)

The trees and shrubs in the great forests will be converted into cinder.

(Of Kilns for Bricks and Lime.)

Finally the earth will turn red from a conflagration of many days and the stones will be turned to cinders.

(Of boiled Fish.)

The natives of the waters will die in the boiling flood.

(Of the Olives which fall from the Olive trees, shedding oil which makes light.)

And things will fall with great force from above, which will give us nourishment and light.

(Of Owls and screech owls and what will happen to certain birds.)

Many will perish of dashing their heads in pieces, and the eyes of many will jump out of their heads by reason of fearful creatures come out of the darkness.

(Of flax which works the cure of men.)

That which was at first bound, cast out and rent by many and various beaters will be respected and honoured, and its precepts will be listened to with reverence and love.

(Of Books which teach Precepts.)

Bodies without souls will, by their contents give us precepts by which to die well.

(Of Flagellants.)

Men will hide themselves under the bark of trees, and, screaming, they will make themselves martyrs, by striking their own limbs.

(Of the Handles of Knives made of the Horns of Sheep.)

We shall see the horns of certain beasts fitted to iron tools, which will take the lives of many of their kind.

(Of Night when no Colour can be discerned.)

There will come a time when no difference can be discerned between colours, on the contrary, everything will be black alike.

(Of Swords and Spears which by themselves never hurt any one.)

One who by himself is mild enough and void of all offence will become terrible and fierce by being in bad company, and will most cruelly take the life of many men, and would kill many more if they were not hindered by bodies having no soul, that have come out of caverns—that is, breastplates of iron.

(Of Snares and Traps.)

Many dead things will move furiously, and will take and bind the living, and will ensnare them for the enemies who seek their death and destruction.

(Of Metals.)

That shall be brought forth out of dark and obscure caves, which will put the whole human race in great anxiety, peril and death. To many that seek them, after many sorrows they will give delight, and to those who are not in their company, death with want and misfortune. This will lead to the commission of endless crimes; this will increase and persuade bad men to assassinations, robberies and treachery, and by reason of it each will be suspicious of his partner. This will deprive free cities of their happy condition; this will take away the lives of many; this will make men torment each other with many artifices deceptions and treasons. O monstrous creature! How much better would it be for men that every thing should return to Hell! For this the vast forests will be devastated of their trees; for this endless animals will lose their lives.

(Of Fire.)

One shall be born from small beginnings which will rapidly become vast. This will respect no created thing, rather will it, by its power, transform almost every thing from its own nature into another.

(Of Ships which sink.)

Huge bodies will be seen, devoid of life, carrying, in fierce haste, a multitude of men to the destruction of their lives.

(Of Oxen, which are eaten.)

The masters of estates will eat their own labourers.

(Of beating Beds to renew them.)

Men will be seen so deeply ungrateful that they will turn upon that which has harboured them, for nothing at all; they will so load it with blows that a great part of its inside will come out of its place, and will be turned over and over in its body.

(Of Things which are eaten and which first are killed.)

Those who nourish them will be killed by them and afflicted by merciless deaths.

(Of the Reflection of Walls of Cities in the Water of their Ditches.)

The high walls of great cities will be seen up side down in their ditches.

(Of Water, which flows turbid and mixed with Soil and Dust; and of Mist, which is mixed with the Air; and of Fire which is mixed with its own, and each with each.)

All the elements will be seen mixed together in a great whirling mass, now borne towards the centre of the world, now towards the sky; and now furiously rushing from the South towards the frozen North, and sometimes from the East towards the West, and then again from this hemisphere to the other.

(The World may be divided into two Hemispheres at any Point.)

All men will suddenly be transferred into opposite hemispheres.

(The division of the East from the West may be made at any point.)

All living creatures will be moved from the East to the West; and in the same way from North to South, and vice versa.

(Of the Motion of Water which carries wood, which is dead.)

Bodies devoid of life will move by themselves and carry with them endless generations of the dead, taking the wealth from the bystanders.

(Of Eggs which being eaten cannot form Chickens.)

Oh! how many will they be that never come to the birth!

(Of Fishes which are eaten unborn.)

Endless generations will be lost by the death of the pregnant.

(Of the Lamentation on Good Friday.)

Throughout Europe there will be a lamentation of great nations over the death of one man who died in the East.

(Of Dreaming.)

Men will walk and not stir, they will talk to those who are not present, and hear those who do not speak.

(Of a Man’s Shadow which moves with him.)

Shapes and figures of men and animals will be seen following these animals and men wherever they flee. And exactly as the one moves the other moves; but what seems so wonderful is the variety of height they assume.

(Of our Shadow cast by the Sun, and our Reflection in the Water at one and the same time.)

Many a time will one man be seen as three and all three move together, and often the most real one quits him.

(Of wooden Chests which contain great Treasures.)

Within walnuts and trees and other plants vast treasures will be found, which lie hidden there and well guarded.

(Of putting out the Light when going to Bed.)

Many persons puffing out a breath with too much haste, will thereby lose their sight, and soon after all consciousness.

(Of the Bells of Mules, which are close to their Ears.)

In many parts of Europe instruments of various sizes will be heard making divers harmonies, with great labour to those who hear them most closely.

(Of Asses.)

The severest labour will be repaid with hunger and thirst, and discomfort, and blows, and goadings, and curses, and great abuse.

(Of Soldiers on horseback.)

Many men will be seen carried by large animals, swift of pace, to the loss of their lives and immediate death.

In the air and on earth animals will be seen of divers colours furiously carrying men to the destruction of their lives.

(Of the Stars of Spurs.)

By the aid of the stars men will be seen who will be as swift as any swift animal.

(Of a Stick, which is dead.)

The motions of a dead thing will make many living ones flee with pain and lamentation and cries.

(Of Tinder.)

With a stone and with iron things will be made visible which before were not seen.

Taken from The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci edited by Jean Paul Richter, 1880.

Notebooks of Leonoardo da Vinci
XX: Humorous Writings.
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@ Fables on plants.
Schemes for fables, etc..
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