Tales From Herodotus XVII. How Gold is Procured in India from Ant-hills

Translated from Tales From Herodotus.

In the land of the Indians there is a wasteland on account of the sand. And in this wasted and sandy region there are giant ants that are smaller than dogs but larger than foxes. Some of them are even with the king of the Persians, there to be hunted. And so when these ants make a home under the earth, they bore up sand just as do ants in the Hellas, and these ants are the very similar in appearance. But the sand that is brought up contains gold; and the Indians are sent into the wasteland for this sand. Each man yokes three camels, a male led by a rope on each side to pull, and a female in the middle. It is upon this one that he mounts, having taken care that he took her away in the yoke from her infancy, as young as possible, for camels are no lesser than horses in speed, and they are much more able to bear a burden besides.

And so the Indians, using means such as this, and this sort of yoke, ride for the gold, having calculated just when, with the heat at its hottest, they will go for their plunder. For due to the heat, the ants are unseen under the earth. So whenever the Indians come to the land, they carry small bags, and after filling these with the sand, they quickly run back; for the ants immediately smell them, so it is said by the Persians, and once aware, they pursue. And in speed, they are like no other, so much so that unless the Indians get a head start, none of them would get away safely. And now the male camels, for they run more slowly than the females, are loosed when they drag behind, but not both at the same time.  And the females, remembering the offspring they left behind, surrender no sign of flagging.

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