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0157 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 157 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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beasts. At end of a week they must take food for a month for themselves and for v

their beasts, because they take so long to pass across that great desert . • And there they load va P

strong asses and camels with merchandise and with victuals and so take their way through the

desert ; • and if they are used up before they can cross it, • when they free the asses or camels from R P

their loads of victuals they kill them . and eat them, • or let them go in the desert, because they R P

could not provide them with food up to the end. They are more willing however to keep the camels,

and they take camels for the most part, • because they eat little and carry great loads. And then R P

one starts from this town and they enter into the desert.' And I tell you that it is

so long, according to what they of the district say, that one would hardly go riding VA VA FB

from the one end to the other cnd in a year, and where it is less broad he works hard FB

to cross it in a month. But lengthwise it cannot be passed because of the great length of it, VB

for it would be impossible to carry enough food. Across, as has been said, one travels for a

month of marches never finding any dwelling. It is all barren mountains and plains of sand VB P

and valleys, [23e] and nothing to eat is found there. But I tell you that when one

is gone a day and a night he finds sweet water to drink in the winter, but no water FB VA

which a sufficiently large company could take, but as much as is needed for quite fifty FB

or a hundred men, but yet not with their beasts,' but not for more.. And so it is necessary VA FB VB

to cross with a small company, not more than fifty persons at one time. And through all the

desert you must always go a day and a night finding nothing before you find water VA

to drink. in this way. Moreover I tell you that in three places or in four one finds VA FB

bitter and salt and evil water, and all the others are good to drink. but by no means FB VA FB

plentiful, which are about twenty-eight waters. And there are no beasts of any sort FB VB

nor birds, because they would find nothing to cat there. But yet I tell you that in FB L

the crossing of this desert one finds there such a wonder as I shall relate to you. They R

tell for a manifest thing that in the said desert there dwell many spirits which snake for the

wayfarers great and wonderful illusions to make them perish. . For while any company of z

merchants or others is crossing the desert, it is true that when one rides by night' through

this desert and a thing happens that anyone stays behind the others • and goes off the VA FB

road and is separated from his companions to sleep or for other cause, and if the P

company goes on till for mountains or hills it cannot be seen, and then he wishes to go to

join his companions, then often it happens that they hear spirits malignant in the air VA LT


1 entrent len en desert FB: entrent ou desert

2 sen troue eiue deueres nies nin aigue que peust bestes The tentative version of deueres by inuenit aquam dulcem; but alternatively read,

3 R: h tempo di giorno

auoir asez grant iens mes cinquant ou cent homes con for "in the winter" is supported by L: yemis tempore with B., "water to drink in the winter-time" (L).