Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Bursa (a bull’s hide).

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E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Bursa (a bull’s hide).
 
So the citadel of Carthage was called. The tale is that when Dido came to Africa she bought of the natives “as much land as could be encompassed by a bull’s hide.” The agreement was made, and Dido cut the hide into thongs, so as to enclose a space sufficient for a citadel.   1
   The following is a similar story: The Yakutsks granted to the Russian explorers as much land as they could encompass with a cow’s hide; but the Russians, cutting the hide into strips, obtained land enough for the port and town of Yakutsk.   2
   The Indians have a somewhat similar tradition. The fifth incarnation of Vishnu was in the form of a dwarf called Vamen. Vamen, presenting himself before the giant Baly, asked as a reward for services as much land as he could measure in three paces to build a hut on. Baly laughed at the request, and freely granted it. Whereupon the dwarf grew so prodigiously large that, with three paces, he strode over the whole world. (Sonnerat: Voyages, vol. i. p. 24.)   3
 


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