MYNA, MINA, &c. s. Hind. maina. A name applied to several birds of the family of starlings. The common myna is the Acridotheres tristis of Linn.; the southern Hill-Myna is the Gracula, also Eulabes religiosa of Linn.; the Northern Hill-Myna, Eulabes intermedia of Hay (see Jerdon’s Birds, ii. Pt. i. 325, 337, 339). Of both the first and last it may be said that they are among the most teachable of imitative birds, articulating words with great distinctness, and without Polly’s nasal tone. We have heard a wild one (probably the first), on a tree in a field, spontaneously echoing the very peculiar call of the black partridge from an adjoining jungle, with unmistakable truth. There is a curious description in Aelian (De Nat. An. xvi. 2) of an Indian talking bird which we thought at one time to be the Myna; but it seems to be nearer the Shama, and under that head the quotation will be found. [Mr. M’Crindle (Invasion of India, 186) is in favour of the Myna.]

[1590.—“The Mynah is twice the size of the Shárak, with glossy black plumage, but with the bill, wattles and tail coverts yellow. It imitates the human voice and speaks with great distinctness.”—Ain, ed. Jarrett, iii. 121.]

1631.—Jac. Bontius describes a kind of Myna in Java, which he calls Pica, seu potius Sturnus Indicus. “The owner, an old Mussulman woman, only lent it to the author to be drawn, after great persuasion, and on a stipulation that the beloved bird should get no swine’s flesh to eat. And when he had promised accordingly, the avis pessima immediately began to chaunt: Orang Nasarani catjor macan babi! i.e. ‘Dog of a Christian, eater of swine!’ ”—Lib. v. cap. 14, p. 67.

[1664.—“In the Duke’s chamber there is a bird, given him by Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, comes from the East Indys, black the greatest part, with the finest collar of white about the neck; but talks many things and neyes like the horse, and other things, the best almost that ever I heard bird in my life.”—Pepys, Diary, April 25. Prof. Newton in Mr. Wheatley’s ed. (iv. 118) is inclined to identify this with the Myna, and notes that one of the earliest figures of the bird is by Eleazar Albin (Nat. Hist. of Birds, ii. pl. 38) in 1738.

[1703.—“Among singing birds that which in Bengall is called the Minaw is the only one that comes within my knowledge.” —In Yule, Hedges’ Diary, Hak. Soc. ii. cccxxxiv.]

1803.—“During the whole of our stay two minahs were talking almost incessantly, to the great delight of the old lady, who often laughed at what they said, and praised their talents. Her hookah filled up the interval.” —Ld. Valentia, i. 227–8.

1813.—“The myneh is a very entertaining bird, hopping about the house, and articulating several words in the manner of the starling.”—Forbes, Or. Mem. i. 47; [2nd ed. i. 32.]

1817.—“Of all birds the chiong (miner) is the most highly prized.”—Raffles, Java, i. 260.

1875.—“A talking mina in a cage, and a rat-trap, completed the adornments of the veranda.”—The Dilemma, ch. xii.

1878.—“The myna has no wit.…His only way of catching a worm is to lay hold of its tail and pull it out of its hole,— generally breaking it in the middle and losing the bigger half.”—Ph. Robinson, In My Indian Garden, 28.

1879.—“So the dog went to a mainá, and said: ‘What shall I do to hurt this cat!’”— Miss Stokes Indian Fairy Tales, 18.

Striped squirrels raced, the mynas perked
and picked.
The nine brown sisters chattered in the

E. Arnold, The Light of Asia, Book. i.

See SEVEN SISTERS in Gloss. Mr. Arnold makes too many!

MYROBALAN, s. A name applied to certain dried fruits and kernels of astringent flavour, but of several species, and not even all belonging to the same Natural Order, which were from an early date exported from India, and had a high reputation in the medieval pharmacopoeia. This they appear (some of them) to retain in native Indian medicine; though they seem to have disappeared from English use and have no place in Hanbury and Flückiger’s great work, the Pharmacographia. They are still, to some extent, imported into England, but for use in tanning and dyeing, not in pharmacy.

It is not quite clear how the term myrobalan, in this sense, came into use. For the people of India do not seem to have any single name denoting these fruits or drugs as a group; nor do the Arabic dictionaries afford one either (but see further on). [Greek Text] MurobalavoV is spoken of by some ancient authors, e.g. Aristotle, Dioscorides and Pliny, but it was applied by them to one or more fruits1 entirely unconnected with the subjects of this article. This name had probably been preserved in the laboratories, and was applied by some early translator of the Arabic writers on Materia Medica to these Indian products. Though we have said that (so far as we can discover) the dictionaries afford no word with the comprehensive sense of Myrobalan, it is probable that the physicians had such a word, and Garcia de Orta, who is trustworthy, says explicitly

  By PanEris using Melati.

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