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0360 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 360 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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In this same island towards the south is another kingdom by name suMOLTRA,1 in which is a singular generation of people ; for they brand themselves on the face with a little hot iron in some twelve places ; and this is done by men and women both. And these folk are always at war with the others who go naked. In this country there is great abundance of produce ; [it is a great market for pigs and fowls and for butter and rice, and they have also the excellent fruit called muss'. And here also gold and tin are found in great abundance] .2

so also is cannibalism, though we must expect from Odoric, in regard to such stories, no more than that he repeat them in the current form.

Here is a specimen of the modern evidence :" Persons caught in housebreaking or highway robbery, are publicly executed and immediately

eaten   A man taken in adultery may be eaten piecemeal without

being first deprived of life   Twelve months before, twenty persons

were eaten in one day, in a village where the authors resided. Prisoners

taken in a great war (not a mere broil) were allowed to be eaten." (Burton and Ward, in Trans. R. As. Soc., i, 506, 507 ; see also Jour. R. As. Soc., ii, 49 ; Crawfurd's Dict. of Indian Islands, art. Bata,: ; and Marsden's H. of Sumatra, 1811, p. 392.)

Here is a specimen of the modern current stories:   Some years ago a

Battak servant of a gentleman in Malacca, on seeing his master's child

washed, made the following remark : In our country it would not be necessary to wash that child ; he might be roasted at once.' " (Moor's Notices of the Ind. Archip., p. 117.)

1 Odoric may have the credit of being the first western traveller to give the name of Sumatra so distinctly, though I have little doubt that

the Samara or Samarcha of Polo means the same place, and was prob-

ably uttered by him correctly enough. The city of Samudra, the name of which has extended (no one well knows how) to the whole island, is

frequently mentioned in the Malay annals, and its king became Mussulman under the name of Malik-al-Sâlah about Odoric's time, or a little before. It is believed to have stood between Pasei and Pedir, near the place now called Samarlanga. I do not know whether the tattooing described by Odoric is still practised by any nation of Sumatra, but among the Pagi islanders off the west coast, it is carried to a higher degree of elaboration than perhaps anywhere in the world, and it is practised on both sexes. It is also found among the more civilised people of Nyas on the same, coast.

From PAL. This passage notices the tin, which is so prominent a product of the Malay countries. 1!lussi is, I presume, the (Ar.) Mauzah or plantain.