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0333 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 333 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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house a plant of twigs as thick as a pillar would be here, and this never withers as long as it gets water. And many other strange things are there which it would be pretty to hear tell.'

[The women go naked there, and when a woman is married she is set on a horse, and the husband gets on the crupper and holds a knife pointed at her throat ; and they have nothing on except a high cap on their head like a mitre, wrought with white flowers, and all the maidens of the place go singing in a row in front of them till they reach the house, and there the bride and bridegroom are left alone, and when they get up in the morning they go naked as before.]

[In this country there are trees which give wine which they call loahc,3 and which is very intoxicating. And here they do not bury the dead, but carry them with great pomp to the fields, and cast them to the beasts and birds to be de-

meant. Nottola in Italian means not an owl but a bat ; and the MIN. RAM., and PAL. confirm this. They also say " as big as our ducks", which is more germane than pigeons. The " black lions" are tigers, we may presume. Polo always calls tigers lions. Nigri leones, apparently for tigers, will be found in the Latin translation of Arabshah's Life of Timur, i, p. 466.

1 This passage must have been mangled in the dictation. But it is evident that what is spoken of is the sacred Tulasi or Basil (Ocymum Sanctum). The following extract describes intelligibly and correctly

what Odoric's amanuensis apparently did not understand.   Almost

all the Hindus   adore a plant like our Basilico Gentile, but of more

pungent odour   Everyone before his house has a little altar, girt with

a wall half an ell high, in the middle of which they erect certain pedestals like little towers, and in these the shrub is grown. They recite their prayers daily before it, with repeated prostrations, sprinklings of water, etc. There are also many of these maintained at the bathing places, and in the courts of their pagodas." (Vincenzo Maria, p. 300; see also Ward's I-lindoos, iii, 203).

z From MIN. RAM.

s This may be the term which is used by the old materia medica writers for an essence or extract, Lohoc and Loch. It is doubtless, as suggested by Mr. Badger, the Arabic Rühh, generally pronounced Rûahh, a spirit, an essence.