There were crude medieval notions that fossils were " freaks " or " sports " of nature (lusus naturae), or that they represented failures of a creative force within the earth (a notion of Greek and Arabic origin), or that larger and smaller fossils represented the remains of races of giants or of pygmies (the mythical idea).
The main portion therefore of the inhabitants of the forest zone are agriculturists, save only the nomad Pygmies, who live in the inmost recesses of the forest and support themselves by hunting the game with which it abounds.
These small individuals present apparently no other differences, and Sergi maintains that the difference is racial, these being the descendants of a race of pygmies who had emigrated from central Africa.
A man, any man, will go considerably out of his way to pick up a silver dollar; but here are golden words, which the wisest men of antiquity have uttered, and whose worth the wise of every succeeding age have assured us of;--and yet we learn to read only as far as Easy Reading, the primers and class-books, and when we leave school, the "Little Reading," and story-books, which are for boys and beginners; and our reading, our conversation and thinking, are all on a very low level, worthy only of pygmies and manikins.
Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can?
For the Pompeian wall-painting representing Solomon's judgment (the figures are pygmies!), see A.
He may have read Joshua Barnes's description of a race of "Pygmies" in his Gerania of 1675.
Still we live meanly, like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men; like pygmies we fight with cranes; it is error upon error, and clout upon clout, and our best virtue has for its occasion a superfluous and evitable wretchedness.