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0189 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 189 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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wilderness in its quiet as a kind of school for them, and allowed them there to practise their letters for forty years. And you may see in that desert of Sinai, at every place where you halt, that all the stones which have rolled down from the mountains are written over with Hebrew characters. And to this I can myself bear witness, having travelled that ground on foot. And these inscriptions were explained to us by certain Jews who could read them, and they were to this effect : " The departure of So-and-so of such a tribe, in such a year and such a month ;" just such things in fact as you often find scribbled on the walls of inns by people among ourselves. But the Israelites, as is the way of people who have but recently learned to write, were always making use of their new accomplishment, and were constantly writing, so that all those places are quite covered with Hebrew characters. And these have been preserved to this day,—for the sake of unbelievers as I think. And anyone who likes may go there and see for himself, or may ask from those who have been there, and learn that I am saying what is true." (Pp. 205206.)

Nearly the whole of Book xi is worth translating. It contains "Details regarding Indian. Animals, and the Island of Taprobane."


"This animal is called Rhinoceros because he has horns over his nostrils ; when he walks his horns jog about, but when he is enraged with what he is looking at he erects his horns, and they become so rigid that he is able to uproot trees with them, especially if they are straight before him.' His eyes are placed low down near his jaws. He is altogether a fearful beast, and he is somehow especially hostile to the elephant. His feet and his skin are, however, very like those of the elephant. His skin when dried is four fingers thick, and some people have used it instead of iron to put in the plough, and have ploughed the ground with it ! The Ethiopians in their own dialect call him Arue Harisi, using in the second word an aspirated a with rhisi added. The word Arne expresses the beast as such, but Rarisi expresses ploughing, a nickname that they give him from his form about the nose, and also from the use to which his skin is turned.z I saw this creature alive

?Tâ Év abroîs p. AcvTa Ta ɵ1rpoQ9ev. The fact about the animals carrying the horn loose when not irritated is confirmed by Salt (2a Travels, French Trans., 1516, ii, 191).

Ludolf mentions Arweharis as a great and fierce beast, of which his friend Abba Gregory often used to speak. He quotes Arab. Hharash, Hharshan, "Unicorn," but I do not find these in the dictionaries. Salt again says : " The name by which the rhinoceros (two horned) is designated to this day all over Abyssinia is absolutely the same as that given by Cosinas. In the Gheez it is written Aruê H4ris, pronounced with a

strong aspiration of the Ha   Arue, signifying always fern or bestia in
genere ; a coincidence so extraordinary as to convince me that the lan-