The Elphants Love of Flowers-Ancient India as described by Megasthenês and Arrian By Mégasthénès, Arrian, E. A. Schwanbeck



Mti&n, Hist. Anim. XII. 8. Of Elephants. (Conf. Fragm. xxxvi. 10, xxxvii. 10.) The elephant when feeding large ordinarily drinks water, but when undergoing the fatigues of war is allowed wine,—not that sort, however, which comes from the grape, but another which is prepared from rice.|| The attendants even go in advance of their elephants and gather them flowers; for they are very fond of sweet perfumes, and they are accordingly taken out to the meadows, there to be trained under the influence of the sweetest fragrance. The animal selects the flowers according to their smell, and throws them as they are gathered into a basket which is held out by the trainer. This being filled, and harvest-work, so to speak, completed, he then bathes, and enjoys his bath with all the zest of a consummate voluptuary. On returning from bathing he is impatient to have his flowers, and if there is delay in bringing them he begins roaring, and will not taste a morsel of food till all the flowers he gathered are placed before him. This done, he takes the flowers out of the basket with his trunk and scatters them over the edge of his manger, and makes by this device their fine scent be, as it were, a relish to his food. He strews also a good quantity of them as litter over his stall, for he loves to have his sleep made sweet and pleasant.

The Indian elephants were nine cubits in height and five in breadth. The largest elephants in all the land were those called the Praisian, and next to these the Taxilan.
Ancient India as described by Megasthenês and Arrian
By Mégasthénès, Arrian, E. A. Schwanbeck