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0300 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 300 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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state of things is that the original incomplete sketch which forms the substance of the Minor Ramusian, whether written or dictated by Odoric, was handed over to the amanuenses to aid them in the redaction of the longer narrative, and that they interpolated this part about Nicoverra, &c., where they thought most convenient.

This notion is somewhat strengthened by the following circumstance. Under Malabar, in the longer narrative, the practise of Suttee is thus mentioned : " If the dead man had a wife, they burn her alive with him, saying that she should abide with her husband in the other world." And again the same version, in concluding the account of Champa, says : " When a married man dies in this country his body is burnt, and his wife is burnt alive along with him ; for they say that she should go with her husband, to keep him company in another world." And this is immediately followed by the account of Nicoverra.

Now a reference to the translation will show that the passage about Suttee in Champa comes in inappropriately, after the author had apparently done with that country. And I do not think we have any reason to believe that Suttee was practised in Champa or Cambodia, countries whose Indian religion seems to have been Buddhism and not Brahmanism.' The last extract, therefore, I conceive, may have been merely a portion of the shorter narrative relating to India Proper, which was accidentally interpolated into the longer narrative along with the account of Nicoverra and Dondin. And its appearance confirms in some degree my suggestion as to the fact of this interpolation. Other and minor difficulties or exaggerations are, I dare say, to be accounted for by accidents of dictation, and must not be judged too hardly. For instance, the narrative says that Odoric saw at Champa a tortoise as big as the dome of St. Anthony's at Padua. The Friar, be it remembered, was in the convent of St. Anthony, when he dictated the story ; perhaps lying ill as some of his biographers assert. He tells William de Solagna that he

1 I find, however, since writing the above, that the Sommario de' Regni in Ramusio ascribes the practice of suttee to the people of Cambodia. (Ramusio, i, 336.)