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0487 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 487 (Color Image)

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OF MISSIONARY FRIARS.   213

this the natives of those countries use for drink. And those three things are to be had at very small cost. And the pepper plant is here also. It is slender and knotty like a vine ; and indeed 'tis altogether very like a vine, excepting that it is more slender, and bears transplanting.

"Ginger is a reed-like plant, and, like a cane-root, it can be dug and transplanted. But their canes here are more like trees, being sometimes a cubit in girth and more, with slender prickly branches round about, and small leaves.

"The Brazil tree' is a slender lofty and thorny tree, all red as it were, with leaves like fern. The Indian nuts are as big as melons, and in colour green like gourds.2 Their leaves and branches are like those of the date tree.

" The cinnamon tree is of a medium bulk, not very high, and in trunk, bark, and foliage, is like the laurel ; indeed, altogether it resembleth the laurel greatly in appearance. Great store of it is carried forth of the island which is hard-by Maabar.3

" As regards men of a marvellous kind, to wit, men of a different make from the rest of us, and as regards animals of like description, and as regards the Terrestrial Paradise, much have I asked and sought, but nothing have I been. able to discover.

"Oxen are with these people sacred animals, and they eat not their flesh for the worship they bear them. But they make use of cows' milk, and put their cattle to labour like other folk.

" The rain falleth at fixed seasons.

" The state of things as regards the inhabitants of India

Bersi.

2 The word is chocosse. I can find nothing nearer than cocuzza, which is given as a South Italian word for a gourd (cucurbita). The comparison seems probable.

3 Ceylon. I believe this is one of the earliest notices of the Ceylon cinnamon trade. Sir Emerson Tennent, I think, quotes Ibn Batuta as the earliest.

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