The possible help of interpreters may not necessarily make such conversations
more valid. An explorer, keen to find evidence of horrible stories heard elsewhere, will be only too quick to confirm the alleged habits of the little fish. In addition, it is very hard to know what fish the “natives” and the white “experts” referred to, given that the culprit is not only a very small and fragile creature but also one of many in this genus. The validity of translations of original Latin, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French reports needs to be revisited. Updated cross-translations without a sensationalized agenda could ensure that crucial nuances are interpreted correctly and so the blurred line between embellishment and fact is captured precisely. For
example, “I VX-765 know of three cases” may be understood as “I know three cases,” which some may interpret as knowing three cases this website personally, ie, having seen them as patients. Suddenly, a story becomes a confirmed report. Also, historical handwritten German accounts will most likely be written in Kurrent script; some of its letters, eg, “g,” “p,” or “q,” can easily confuse a translator. Spotte’s two chapters “Culmination of Evils” and “Urinary Misconduct” are particularly helpful as they also provide some original language excerpts. Finally, there may be particular reasons why locals told white visitors about the candiru. Were they kind and concerned Thalidomide about the explorers’ well-being? Were they exaggerating a very rare occurrence to keep intruders out? To conclude this section, it should be fascinating to see what the great explorers of the time wrote about the fish. It has been said that Alexander von Humboldt, Henry Walter Bates, and Alfred Russel Wallace, despite their long years in the area, did not mention the candiru at all. Bates’ classic work reports on the locals’ frequent bathing, fishing, hunting, and cooling down in the river (he calls them “almost amphibious people”),
suggesting an absence of the dreaded fish. His book is devoid of any reference to genitals; this may have influenced his selection of reported information. Von den Steinen, on the other hand, switched for such passages to Latin, presumably to avoid leading young readers’ minds astray. However, Regan mentions Wallace’s loss of about 200 preserved fish on his journey home and cites a short unreferenced note by the explorer about the peculiar habits of the candiru, a note confirmed by sighting the original document and a modern reproduction. Therefore, until further confirmation, it may be premature to suggest that neither von Humboldt nor Bates ever mentioned the candiru. Admittedly, many native people have not been aware of the fish either.