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0326 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 326 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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[which is the furthest city of Persia towards India] ,1 from which the Sea of Sand is but one, day distant. Now that sea is a wondrous thing, and right perilous. [And there were none of us who desired to enter on that sea. For it is all of dry sand without the slightest moisture. And it shifteth as the sea Both when in storm, now hither, now thither, and as it shifteth it maketh waves in like manner as the sea Both ; so that countless people travelling thereon have been overwhelmed and drowned and buried in those sands. For when blown about and buffeted by the winds, they are raised into hills, now in this place, now in that, according as the wind chanceth to blow]. In this city of Iest there is very great store of victuals and all other good things that you can mention ; but especially is found there great plenty of figs ; and raisins also, green as grass and very small, are found there in richer profusion than in any other part of the world. This is the third best city which the Emperor of the Persians possesses in his whole realm. The Saracens say of it that no Christian is ever able to live in it beyond one year. And there are many other matters there.

Departing thence, and passing by many cities and towns, I came to a certain city by name CoMERUM,3 which formerly

perhaps from the island of Kishm, from which the trade to India was conducted ?

Yezd is regarded as holy by the Mussulmans ; a sanctity perhaps borrowed from the fire-worshippers who still linger here in degradation and scanty numbers. (Ramusio, ii, 106; Ritter, viii, 265-270; J. R. A. S., viii, 349).

1 From MIN. RAM.

2 From MIN. RAM. Whatever may be the exaggeration in this interpolated passage, as regards the Persian desert, the absolute extravagance of the account will seem less to those who will refer to the description by Baron Wrede of the desert in Southern Arabia, called " The Sea of Saffi", from a king who is said to have perished with his army therein (J. R. G. S., xiv, p. 110-111). Tavernier also speaks of the danger of being lost in the desert of Yezd, on account of the mobility of the sand.

3 The readings of this name are very various (see Latin text). But both Odoric's description and the manner in which I understand his