102. There are others of the Indians who are neighbors of the city of
Caspatyrus and the Pactyic country, north of the rest of India, and these
live much like the Bactrians. They are the most warlike of the Indians,
and it is they who go in quest of the gold; for in these parts all is desert
because of the sand. In this desert, and sand, there are ants that are
in bigness lesser than dogs but larger than foxes. Some of them have been
hunted and captured and kept at the palace of the Persian king. These ants
make their dwelling underground, digging out the sand in much the same
fashion as ants do in Greece, and they are also very like them in form.
The sand that they dig out has gold in it. The Indians start off into the
desert to get at this sand. Each of the hunters harnesses together three
camels, a male on either side, on a trace, and the female in the middle,
on which the rider is mounted. He takes care that this mare camel should
have offspring as young as possible, from which she has been taken away
for the ride. Among these people, camels are every bit as quick as horses,
apart from being far more capable of carrying burdens.
103. The Greeks know camels, so I will not write to describe their shape;
but I will tell somehting that is not known. The camel in the hind legs
has four thighs and four knees, and its genitals are turned toward the
tail, between its hind legs.
104. Such is the gear of the Indians and such their method of harnessing
when they go after the gold. They go expressly at that hour of day that
will allow them to be in their hunt for gold when the heat is greatest;
for by reason of the heat the ants will have vanished underground. In India
the sun is hottest early in the morning - not, as among other people, at
midday; in India it is hottest from sunrise till the breaking-up of the
market. During this period it is far hotter than at midday in Greece, so
that it is said the inhabitants at this time wet themselves over with water.
The midday heat is in India about the same as it is among other men. But,
as the afternoon comes on, the Indian sun becomes much as it is elsewhere
in the early morning, and from then it grows cooler and cooler, till at
sunset it is indeed exceedingly cold.
105. The Indians then come to the place with bags, and after they have
filled their bags with sand, they make off for home as fast as they can.
For, as the Persians say, the ants become aware of them by smell and pursue
them. There is nothing quicker than these ants, and so, if the Indians
did not get well ahead of them while the ants were collecting, not one
of the men would escape alive. The male camels, which are inferior to the
females in quickness, begin to lag behind and are cut loose by the riders,
one at a time. But the mare camels, as they think of their young, do not
slack off at all. This is how, say the Persians, the most of the gold is
won by the Indians. The rest of it, a smaller amount, is mined in their