Archaic Definition of the Week – Picus (Woodpecker)

publishingThe PICUS (woodpecker) gets its name from Picus the son of Saturn, because he used the creature in auguries. For they say that this bird is something of a soothsayer by the following evidence, viz: in the trees on which it builds its nest, one cannot stick a nail where it sat, or anything else that remains fixed for a long time, without its falling out at once.

The Book of Beasts : Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century Made and Edited by T. H. White (1954).

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