No, I shall only call you silly if you do what some little boys are apt to do call other boys, and, still worse, servants or poor people, silly for not knowing what they cannot know. But are not poor people often very silly about animals and plants? The boys at the village school say that slowworms are poisonous; is not that silly? Not at all.
Observing that the starlings, stornelli, which bred in an old tower in Piedmont, carried something from their nests and dropped it upon the ground about as often they brought food to their young, I watched their proceedings, and found every day lying near the tower numbers of dead or dying slowworms, and, in a few cases, small lizards, which had, in every Instance, lost about two inches of the tail.
They know that adders bite, and so they think that slowworms bite too. They are wrong; and they must be told that they are wrong, and scolded if they kill a slowworm. But silly they are not. But is it not silly to fancy that swallows sleep all the winter at the bottom of the pond? I do not think so.