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nymphs of the stream

A Greek ode of the 1st century BC provides an early mention of milling by water power. The poet advises young girls to rest from their labours and let the nymphs of the stream do the work:

'You girls who worked so hard at grinding the corn, you can go back to bed and leave the birds to their dawn chorus. Now the nymphs of the stream leap down on the wheel and turn the axle, and with it the millstone.'

Quoted Eureka!, ed. Edward de Bono, Thames and Hudson 1974, page 70

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