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0356 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 356 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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just as Christian folk go from far on pilgrimage to St. Peter's. And the manner of those who come is thus :—Some travel with a halter round their necks ; and some with their hands upon a board, which is tied to their necks ; others with a knife stuck in the arm, which they never remove until they arrive before the idol, so that the arm is then all in a slough. And some have quite a different way of doing. For these as they start from their houses take three steps, and at the fourth they make a prostration at full length upon the ground. And then they take a thurible and incense the whole length of that prostration. And thus they do continually until they reach the idol, so that sometimes when they go through this operation it taketh a very great while before they do reach the idol. But when those who are going along in this way wish to turn aside to do anything, they make a mark there to show how far they have gone, and so they (come back upon this, and) continue until they reach the idol.1

19. Concerning other customs of the Idolaters.

And hard by the church of this idol there is a lake, made by hand, into which the pilgrims who come thither cast gold or silver or precious stones, in honour of the idol, and towards the maintenance of the church, so that much gold and silver and many precious stones have been accumulated therein. And thus when it is desired to do any work upon the church, they make search in the lake and find all that hath been cast into it.~

1 The word venia used here is a technical term in the Roman church for a prostration in worship, but being unfamiliar it has perplexed the copyists. It is, however, clearly explained by the parallel passage in PAL., si stende in terra boccone." The performance described is a well-known penance both of Hindus and Tibetan Buddhists. The newspapers lately contained a striking notice of penances of this kind in the Deccan. Omitting the incense the account is almost Odoric's. One man had come 450 miles measuring his length continuously at the rate of about a mile a day. (Allen's Indian Mail, Oct. 11th, 1864, p. 782.)

PAL. has : and they call that place Celai in their tongue. There is a like