Ostrich Struthio camelus, Autruche.

1 occurrence

Tilley (I97) has many examples to give of this popular belief which originated in early scientific works, often based on Pliny. SEAGER quotes Bartholomew (Chap. 12, § 33):

The ostrich hath a body as a beast, and feathers as a fowl, and also hath two feet and a bill as a fowl. [...]; and is so hot, that it swalloweth, and digesteth and wasteth iron.

Hence, Cade in 2 Henry VI threatens Iden:

- Ah, villain, thou wilt betray me, and get a thou-

sand crowns of the King by carrying my head to him;

but I'll make thee eat iron like an ostrich, and swal-

low my sword like a great pin, ere thou and I part.

(4 10 26-9)

This natural phenomenon associated with an act of violence produces an element of violence, but even more so, one of irony, resulting from the discrepancy thus created.