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0331 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 331 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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done piping she sat down ; and so they went on all night. And in the morning they carried him to the tomb] .1

5. Of ships that have no iron in their frame ; and in such an one
Fr. Odoric passeth to Tana in India.

In this country men make use of a kind of vessel which they call Jase,2 which is fastened only with stitching of twine. On one of these vessels I embarked, and I could find no iron at all therein. And having thus embarked, I passed over in twenty-eight days to TANA,3 where for the faith of Christ four of our Minor Friars had suffered a glorious martyrdom. The city is excellent in position, and hath great store of bread and wine,4 and aboundeth in trees. This was a great place in days of old, for it was the city of King Porus, who waged so great a battle with King Alexander. The people thereof are idolaters, for they worship fire, and serpents, and trees

1 This passage is only in the PAL. An account of the ceremonies of a wake at Baghdad very like this is given by Tavernier.

Here follows in all the Latin MSS. an untranslatable statement of the marvellous effects of the heat at Hormuz. It seems like a confusion of some complaint like hernia with the guinea-worm, which did prevail at Hormuz, or as if some one had hoaxed the friar as to the nature of the latter malady. It is worthy of note that Mandeville here omits this statement of Odoric's and substitutes another as to the inhabitants being obliged by the heat to sleep in water, which he does not seem to have copied from Polo. This custom prevailed long after, and is mentioned by Peter della Valle among others. Even monks followed it in his day. Punkahs of our Anglo-Indian fashion were already in use at Hormuz in the end of the sixteenth century. Linschoten calls them cattaventos (Polo, ii, 14; Pietro dellaValle, ed. Brighton, 1843, ii, 471; Iiinschoten, p. 16).

2 Jahâz (Pers.), a ship.

8 An ancient city at the north end of the island of Salsette, once the capital of Konkan and a haven of importance, but long superseded by Bombay; it is mentioned as a cotton port by Marco Polo.

How Porus was brought to these parts it is hard to say. But Gasparo Balbi (1580), speaking of the Cave of Elephanta "at Cape Bombain", says that it was formed by Alexander the Great to mark his furthest conquest. This may have been a current Mahomedan story, and might account for Porus being translated to Tana.

4 PAL. has " abundance of victual, but specially of butter, of susuan (susine? or sesamo ?), and of rice.