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0486 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 486 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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But because of the continual haze on the horizon in that quarter, caused by the heat and the winds, and because of the stars being so low, I never could satisfy myself. However India is a very extensive region, and perhaps in some places it would be seen at a greater elevation, in others at a less. I have examined the matter to the best of my ability. So much as to [the climate of] Upper India, which is called MAEBAR, in the territory of St. Thomas.

"Concerning the state of things as to the country itself in Upper India. The condition of the country of India aforesaid is this. The land is well enough peopled ; and there be great cities therein, but the houses are wretched, being built of sandy mud, and usually thatched with leaves of trees. Hills there are few ; rivers in some places are many, in others few. Springs there are few or none ; wells in plenty; and the reason is this, that water is generally to be found at the depth of two or three paces, or even less. This well water is indeed not very good to drink, for it is somewhat soft and loosens the bowels ; so they generally have tanks or excavations like ponds, in which they collect the rain water, and this they drink. They keep few beasts. Horses there are none, except it be in possession of the king and great barons. Flies there be few, and fleas none at all.' And they have trees which produce fruit continually, so that on them you find fruit in every stage up to perfect ripeness at one time.2 In like manner they sow and reap at almost. all seasons, and this because it is always warm and never cold. Aromatic spices are to be had good cheap, some more so and some less so, according to what spices they be. They have trees that produce sugar, and others that produce honey, and others that produce a liquor that has a smack of wine. And

The words underlined are read by Prof. Kunstmann Conobbi and Sottane. The last I have adopted, but not the former, which he understands to be the name (Canopi) given to the stars, certainly a misapprehension.

1 They must have come with the Portuguese then!

2 The sentence is apparently corrupt, but this seems to be the meaning.