Portrait of Andura (Hoga)
From On Monsters and Marvels
by Ambroise Pare


The On Monsters and Marvels
Written by Ambroise Pare (1510-1590)

Although the biologic link has yet to be confirmed, many feel the Andura (Hoga) is an ancestor ot the Furbearing Trout.

Ambroise Pare was chef surgeon to both Charles IX and Henri III, and widely being considered as the best physician and true Renaissance man of the 16th century in Europe. In his book, Pare wrote, “Monsters are things that appear outside the course of Nature (and are usually signs of some forthcoming misfortune), such as a child who is born with one arm, another who will have two heads, and additional members over and above the ordinary.”

In this book, he gave 13 reasons that cause monsters. (At that time, word the “monster” was used to address the today’s word “freak”.) The job of scientists at the time was not the construction of model of the universe as is for them today. The job of scientists in the 16th century was to discover, translate, and understand the symbolic messages in nature sent by God. The science, nature, magic, art, politics, and religion were one.

From the book On Monsters and Marvels
(translation by Janis L. Pallister)

In the huge, deep, fresh water lake – on which the large city of Themistitan, in the Kingdom of Mexico, is built on pilings, like Venice – is found a fish as big as a sea-calf. The savages of the Antarctic call it Andura; the barbarians of the country and the Spaniards – who have made themselves masters of this place by conquests of their new lands – call it Hoga. Its head and ears are not different from a terrestrial swine; it has five whiskers a half-a foot long or thereabouts, similar to those of a big barbell; its flesh is very good and delicious.
  This fish produces live offspring, in the fashion of a whale. If you contemplate it while it is disporting itself swimming in the water, you would say that it is now green, now yellow, and then, red, just like the chameleon; it keeps more to the edge of the lake than elsewhere, where it feeds on leaves of a tree called Hoga, from which it took its name. It is very toothy and savage, killing and devouring other fish, indeed [those] bigger than it is; that is why people pursue it, hunt it and kill it, because if it entered into the conduits it wouldn’t leave a single one of them alive; whereby the person who kills the most of them is most welcome.
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