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0191 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 191 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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after tying up the blood collected in the navel, cut it off. For this is the fragrant part of the beast, or what we call the musk. The rest of the body they throw away.

" The Unicorn.

" This creature is called a Unicorn. I. can't say I ever saw him, but I have seen bronze figures of him in the four-towered palace of the King of Ethiopia, and so I have been able to make this drawing of him. They say he is a terrible beast, and quite invincible, and that all his strength lies in his horn. And when he is encompassed by many hunters so that he is hard put to it, he makes a leap over some high precipice, and as he falls he turns over, so that his horn bears the whole force of the fall, and he escapes unhurt.' So also the Scripture discourses of him, saying : Save me from the months of lions and my humility from the horns of the Unicorns ;'2 and again in the blessings wherewith Balaam blessed Israel, he saith twice over : ` Thus hath God led him out of Egypt like the glory of the unicorn ;'3 in all these passages testifying to the strength and audacity and glory of the creature.

" The Hog-stag and Hippopotamus.

" The Chcerelaphus (or Hog-stag) I have both seen and eaten. The hippopotamus I have not seen indeed, but I had some great teeth of his that weighed thirteen pounds which I sold here [in Alexandria]. And I have seen many such teeth in Ethiopia and in Egypt.4

" Pepper.

"This is the pepper-tree. Every plant of it is twined round some lofty forest tree, for it is weak and slim like the slender stems of the vine. And every bunch of fruit has a double leaf as a shield ;5 and it is very green like the green of rue.

316 ; and iii, 45). This author says that in the Himalya Kasturi is also applied to the animal. He observes that " Cosmas is the first to men-

tion the musk animal and musk as products of India, but he is wrong in representing the animal as living in Taprobane." Cosmas does nothing of the kind.

I From this story some kind of Ibex or Oryx would seem to be meant. The practice is asserted of animals of that class in parts of the world so remote from each other that it can scarcely be other than true.

2 " Save me from the lion's mouth : for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns" (Ps. xxii, 21).

3 " God brought him out of Egypt : He hath as it were the strength of an unicorn" (Numbers xxiii, 22 ; xxiv, 8).

4 The Chcerelaphus is represented in the drawing as a long-legged hog with very long tusks. It has certainly nothing to do with the so-called

hog-deer of India, which has no resemblance to a hog. It looks a good deal like the I3abirussa, but that is I believe peculiar to the Archipelago. Yet this description by Pliny of a kind of swine in India comes very near that animal: "In Indiâ cubitales dentium flexus gemini ex rostro, totidem a fronte ceu vituli cornua, exeunt" (viii, 78).

5 I do not find any confirmation of this in modern accounts. But Ibn Khurdadbah (see ante, p. cix) says : " The mariners say every bunch of