210 LETTERS AND REPORTS
And because I wot of the great curiosity that you have in
regard to all science, and that, much as you do know, you would fain know everything and especially things that are new to you ; and in truth that you are one whose desire is to have knowledge and information of all kinds ; therefore transcribe I for you certain matters just as they have been written from India by a certain Minorite Friar (the travelling companion of Brother Nicolas of Pistoia, who died in Upper India), when on his way to the court of the Lord of all India. The bringer of the letter I have seen and spoken with, and it was in his arms that the said Brother Nicholas did die. The letter was to the effect following :1
"The state of things [with regard to climate] in the Indies is such as shall now be related.
"In India it is always warm, and there never is any winter; yet the heat is not extravagant. And the reason is, that there be at all times winds which temper the heat of the air. And the reason why there can be no winter is the position of the country with respect to the zodiac, as I shall now tell. That is to say, the sun when entering Virgo, i.e. on the 24th day of August, sends down his rays, as I have seen and in particular noted with my own eyes, quite perpendicularly, so as to cast no shadow on either side. And in like manner when he is entering Aries, i.e. at the end of March. And when he has gone through Aries he passes towards the north, and casts shadows towards the south until ... [the summer
e cognoscienzia di tutte le cose; imperciô scrivo a voi ceste cose le quali aguale sono scritte delle parte d' India Superiore per uno frate Minore, lo quale fue compagno di frate Nicolaio da Pistoia, lo quale moritte in India Superiore, andando al Signore di tutta l'India. Lo messo viddi e pariai con lui, in delle cui braccia lo ditto frate Nicolaio moritte. E cosi testificava."
Professor Kunstmann speaks of Menentillus having met John of Montecorvino at the court of the Khan and got the information that follows from him. But this must surely rest on some misunderstanding. Menentillus is merely a monk in Italy, who chances on a letter of John's and sends it to a learned friend to gratify his curiosity.