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0489 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 489 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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black, but of an olive colour, and exceedingly well formed both women and men. They go barefoot and naked, except

that they wear a cloth round the loins, and boys and girls

up to eight years of age wear nothing whatever, but go naked as they came from their mother's womb. They shave not the beard ; many times a day they wash ; bread and

wine they have none. Of the fruits that we make use of they have few or none ; but for their daily food they use rice and a little milk ; and they eat grossly like pigs, to wit, with the whole hand or fist, and without a spoon. In fact, when at their food they do look more like pigs than men !

"There is great security in the country. Bandits and robbers are seldom met with ; but they have many exactions to pay.' There are few craftsmen, for craft and craftsmen have little remuneration, and there is little room for them. They commonly use swords and daggers like ourselves ; and if actually they have a battle they make short work of it, however great the forces be, for they go to battle naked, with nothing but sword and dagger. They have among them a few Saracen mercenaries, who carry bows.

"The state of things in regard to the Sea of India is this. The sea aboundeth greatly with fish ; and in some parts of it they fish for pearls and precious stones. The havens are few and bad; and you must know that the sea here is the Middle Sea or Ocean. Traversing it towards the south there is no continent found but islands alone, but in that sea the islands are many, more than 12,000 in number. And many of these are inhabited, and many are not.

"You can sail (upon that sea) between these islands and ORMES and (from Ormes) to those parts which are called [MINIBAR] is a distance of 2,000 miles in a direction between south and south-east; then 300 miles between east and southeast from Minibar to Maabar, which (latter however) you enter

1 "Pedaggi molli vi si Pagano." This I take from Kunstmann. My transcript has Per arts molli vi si Pagano."