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The salamander is a type of reptile found in Italy and elsewhere, much resembling a lizard. In times past it was believed to possess magical powers and to be able to exist unharmed in the midst of flames. It is not clear, when the gentleman with the thistle-down hair is treating Stephen Black to a feast and offers him 'roasted salamander', whether he means the common kind or the magical. Possibly the latter is more likely[42].