Precisely the same incident occurs in the Comte de Caylus' interesting collection of Contes Orientaux, with, strange to say, instead of a snake, a black bull (“un taureau noir”), and the hero, “having been brought up in the midst of jewels,” knew that the stone was a real carbuncle, and it was of a size he had never before seen.*

I have already offered some remarks on the common belief in the East from the most ancient times that serpents have precious stones in their heads and are the guardians of treasures concealed in the earth (pp. 232 and 297), but the subject is so interesting as being a survival, or rather relic, of serpent-worship, that I think the following observations by Mr. M. J. Walhouse, the veteran scholar, in the Indian Antiquary for 1875, pp. 45, 46, may be reproduced here:

“In the Life of Apollonius Tyanæus [B.C. 3—A.D. 98] are some marvellous stories of large Indian serpents, which the Indians are said to destroy as follows: ‘They spread a silken robe, inwoven with golden letters, before the entrance of the serpent's cave, and those letters, being magical, bring on sleep, so that the eyes of the serpent are overcome. Then with powerful incantations they so allure it as to be able to cast over it the magical robe, which induces sound sleep. Rushing in, the Indians cut off its head with an iron axe and take out certain stones found therein; for the heads of most serpents are said to contain small stones, very beautiful and endowed with a peculiar lustre and wonderful virtues. Such a stone was in the ring that Gyges is said to have possessed.’ This is probably an exaggerated version of the Indian snake-charming, and one of the earliest notices of it… The American Indian tribes believe that in the mountains is a secret valley, inhabited by chiefs of the rattlesnake species, which grow to the size of large trees and bear in their foreheads brilliant gems. In Peru is an animal called carbunculo, which appears only at night. When pursued a valve opens in its forehead, and a brilliant object becomes visible, dispelling the darkness and dazzling the pursuers.”