The largest of webfooted birds, called by sailors the Cape
Sheep, from its frequenting the Cape of Good Hope. It gorges
itself, and then sits motionless upon the waves. It is said to sleep in
the air, because its flight is a gliding without any apparent motion of
its long wings. Sailors say it is fatal to shoot an albatross.
Coleridge's Ancient Mariner is founded on this superstition.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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