The Salamander is so named because it prevails against fire. Of all the venomous creatures its force is the greatest; the others kill people one at a time, but the salamander can slay many people at once – for if it should creep in among the trees, it injects its venom into all the fruit, and so it kills whoever eats the fruit. Again if it falls into a well, the force of its venom kills whoever drinks from it. This animal fights back against fire; it alone of all the animals will extinguish fire, for it can live in the midst of flames without feeling pain or being consumed – not only because it is not burned but also because it extinguishes the fire.
Isidore of Seville ~ 0630
From: The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville
Edited and translated by Stephen A. Barney University of California, Irvine W. J. Lewis University of California, Irvine J. A. Beach California State University, San Marcos Oliver Berghof California State University, San Marcos
Published 2006 by Cambridge University Press, New York
ISBN-13: 9780521837491 http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521837491