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0247 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 247 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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127. CATORS   231

genuine », YULE added, «it is adverse to my Mongol etymology, as Chand lived before the Mongol era ».

CORDIER has no comment on this etymology, which YULE, however, had rightly renounced later in Hobson-Jobson 2, s. v. « chickore ». The reasons for this change of opinion were twofold : SCHIEFNER had told YULE that Mong. e'ogor was only applied to horses; and secondly, «chakdr» seemed to go back to Skr. cakora. The first reason had no great weight : coqor also occurs in the names of fish (cf. KOWALEWSKI, 2196) and of birds (cf. Ssii-t'i ho pi wên-chien, 30, 43 a : éogor boljumur, corresponding to Ross, loc. cit. No. 344). But the derivation of eakor from Skr. éakora is evident, and confirms the doubts which the use of ëakor by Chand had already raised in YULE'S mind.

Even then, however, YULE maintained in Hobson-Jobson his hypothesis that Polo's cator stood for *çacor or *ciacor. This would imply that 5akor, instead of passing direct from Central Asia to India, had spread at an early date from India to Persia and Central Asia. But this again finds no support in the texts. Between the date of Polo's cator and the Anglo-Indian quotations of the 19th cent., YULE could only adduce a passage in Bâbur's Memoirs as translated from the Persian by ERSKINE (p. 282), and this at least would carry us back to the beginning of the 16th cent. Unfortunately the mention of the word in Bâbur's Memoirs is extremely doubtful. In the Turki original text (ILMINSKIÏ ed., 321; Haidarabad ms., 249 a), Bâbur speaks not of eakor, but of lG~y~- Jiürtkä, clearly identical with Turk. ëigürtkä, «locust» (on which cf. my note in BSOS, vi, 567), and correctly translated as such by PAVET DE COURTEILLE (Mémoires de Bâber, ii, 122). A. S. BEVERIDGE (The Memoirs of Bäbur, 422) did not translate the word, leaving a blank space, since she was in doubt whether «locusts» could be found in the mountains in January. But the Turki text is quite unambiguous, whereas the Persian translation, as is seen from Mrs BEVERIDGE'S own note, betrays the embarrassment of a translator confronted with an unknown or corrupt word.

It may be that «chikur» or « chakor » is now more or less in use in eastern Persia (cf.

ABBOTT, in JRGS, xxv, 41, alluded to in Y, i, 298, and more completely quoted in HobsonJobson 2, 195), but the fact remains that no form of the word is known to Persian lexicographers, nor is it found in any Turkish or Mongol dialect. Only the Tibetans know of ca-ko-ra in a bookish way (S. C. DAS'S Dictionary, 995; KOWALEWSKI, 695). I must add, however, that Chinese nomenclature here raises a curious problem. Our dictionaries (GILEs, TARANZANO, etc.) agree in

giving   athe-ku (* t'sta-kuo) as the ordinary modern name of the « common partridge ». The
term occurs first in post-Han, though pre-T'ang times as that of a bird of the « southern countries» (nan fang) which « flies towards the sun » and is afraid of the dew and the hoar-frost (the Mongol, Tibetan and Turki names given in Ssû-t'i ho pi wen-chien, 30, 41 b, and Ross, loc. cit. No. 314, seem to be fanciful terms based on that tradition). The Indian tradition is that the cakora drinks in the moonbeams (cf. the water produced by the rays of the moon in Chinese texts?). Quite evidently, legends were current about both birds, but it is difficult to connect the names; the phonetic resemblance may perhaps be rather of an onomatopoeic order. Nor can the fact that the cakora is a sort of francolin and that the-ku is also sometimes used, according to TARANZANO, as a name of the Chinese francolin be adduced outright as an additional link between