When the latter desired to double the number of the equestrian centuries, Navius opposed him, declaring that it must not be done unless the omens were propitious, and, as a proof of his powers of divination, cut through a whetstone with a razor. Navius's statue, with head veiled (capite velato), stood in the Comitium (Livy 1.36.5); the whetstone and razor were buried in the same place, and a puteal placed over them. According to Dionysius it was Tarquinius Priscus who set the statue up, 'in front of the senate-house near the sacred fig-tree; it was shorter than a man of average height and the head was covered'. The sacred fig-tree was named after Attius Navius: Navian.
It was reported that Navius was subsequently put to death by Tarquinius. According to Schwegler, the puteal originally indicated that the place had been struck by lightning, and the story is a reminiscence of the early struggle between the state and ecclesiasticism.
A nearly identical story of Accius Navius the source has been attributed to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, originally published in 1898.