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0373 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 373 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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rived from the tears shed by Adam and Eve ; but I do not believe that to be the truth, seeing that the water naturally springs from the soil.'

The bottom of this pool is full of precious stones, and the water greatly aboundeth in leeches. The king taketh not those gems for himself, but for the good of his soul once or twice a-year he suffereth the poor to search the water, and take away whatever stones they can find. But that they may

be able to enter the water in safety they take lemons2 and bruise them well, and then copiously anoint the whole body

therewith, and after that when they dive into the water the

leeches do not meddle with them. And so it-is that the poor folk go down into the pool and carry off precious stones if they can find them.3

The water which comes down from the mountain issues forth by this lake. And the finest rubies are dug there ;

1 This " pulchra planities" and lake are afterwards spoken of by Marignolli also (v. infra) where some further remarks as to the place intended will be found. Ibn Batuta also speaks of a pool below the mountain from which gems were extracted. The chief gem locality in Ceylon is still one at a short distance from the base of Adam's Peak, and gem-fishery is the term applied to the search by Pridham. "The tears flowed in such torrents from Adam's eyes that those of his right eye started the Euphrates, while those of his left set the Tigris in motion" (Weil's Biblical Legends of the Mussulmans, p. 16.)

2 UTIN. and RAM. have " take bavoyr, i.e., a certain fruit, which they bruise," etc. This may be intended for some Persian word. There is bajiira, a citron.

3 There are water-leeches in Ceylon, which are annoying to cattle chiefly, by entering their nostrils ; but the land-leeches are the great pest of the island. See a fearful picture in Tennent (i, 304). Ibn Batuta, on his ascent to the Peak, says :—" Here we saw the flying leech, which the natives call zulû.. It holds on by the trees and grass near water, and when a man comes near it drops upon him... The natives take care to keep ready a lemon and to squeeze its juice upon the leech," etc. This name of the flying leech, implying the power ascribed to it of springing upon a passing victim, has come down to our time (see Heber's Journals, ed. 1844, ii, 167), Tennent also corroborates Odoric's mention of lemon-juce as the Ceylonese remedy for leech-bites ; and so does Robert Knox (first edition, p. 25).