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shall return to their former pasture; and again return to a finer wool, being fed in the fine-wool ground. Which I tell you, that you may the better believe that I am certain, if I catch a trout in one meadow he shall be white and faint, and very like to be lousy; and as certainly, if I catch a trout in the next meadow, he shall be strong, and red, and lusty, and much better meat. Trust me, scholar, I have caught many a trout in a particular meadow, that the very shape and the enamelled colour of him hath been such as have joyed me to look on him; and I have then with much pleasure concluded with Solomon, "Everything is beautiful in his season.
I should by promise speak next of the salmon; but I will by your favour say a little of the umber or grayling, which is so like a trout for his shape and feeding, that I desire I may exercise your patience with a short discourse of him, and then the next shall be of the salmon.
Observations of the Umber or Grayling, and Directions
ISC. The umber and grayling are thought by some to differ, as the herring and pilchard do. But though they may do so in other nations, I think those in England differ in nothing but their names. Aldrovandus says they be of a trout kind; and Gesner says, that in his country (which is in Switzerland) he is accounted the choicest of all fish. And in Italy, he is in the month of May so highly valued, that he is sold at a much higher rate than any other fish. The French (which call the chub un vilain) call the umber of the lake Leman un umble chevalier; and they value the umber or grayling so highly, that they say he feeds on gold, and say that many have been caught out of their famous river Loire, and of whose bellies grains of gold have been often taken. And some think that he feeds on
water-thyme, and smells of it at his first taking out of the water; and they may think so with as good reason as we do that our smelts smell like violets at their first being caught, which I think is a truth. Aldrovandus says, the salmon, the grayling, and trout, and all fish that live in clear and sharp streams, are made by their mother nature of such exact shape and pleasant colours purposely to invite us to a joy and contentedness in feasting with her. Whether this is a truth or not it is not my purpose to dispute; but 'tis certain, all that write of the umber declare him to be very medicinable. medicinable. And Gesner says, that the fat of an umber or grayling, being set, with a little honey, a day or two in the sun, in a little glass, is very excellent against redness, or swarthiness, or anything that breeds in the eyes. Salvian takes him to be called umber from his swift swimming, or gliding out of sight, more like a shadow or a ghost than a fish. Much more might be said both of his smell and taste; but I shall only tell you, that St. Ambrose, the glorious bishop of Milan (who lived when the church kept fasting days) calls him the flower-fish, or flower of fishes: and that he was so far in love with him that he would not let him pass without the honour of a long discourse; but I must, and pass on to tell you how to take this dainty fish.
First, note, that he grows not to the bigness of a trout; for the biggest of them do not usually exceed eighteen inches. He lives in such rivers as the trout does, and is usually taken with the same baits as the trout is, and after the same manner; for he will bite both at the minnow, or worm, or fly; though he bites not often at the minnow, and is very gamesome at the fly, and much simpler, and therefore bolder than a trout; for he will rise twenty times at a fly, if you miss him, and yet rise again. He has been taken with a fly made of the red feathers of a parakita, a strange outlandish bird; and he will rise at a fly not unlike a gnat or a small moth, or indeed at most flies that are not too big. He is a fish that lurks close all winter, but is very pleasant and jolly after mid-April, and in May, and in the hot months: he is of a very fine shape, his flesh is white; his teeth, those little ones that he has, are in his throat, yet he has so tender a mouth, that he is oftener lost after an angler has hooked him, than any other fish. Though there be many of these fishes in