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0259 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 259 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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I have told you and described how the great lord has great wealth of all FB FB things in time of dearth made for his people, because he provides himself in FB FB time of cheapness, now I shall tell you how he does great charity and provision . and alms R FB to the poor people who are in the town of Cambaluc, another work worthy of no P small praise. It is true that he has many families chosen from[the]town of Cambaluc,

likewise in the suburbs and in the neighbourhood, who are poor and who have nothing vB to eat & cannot buy; and such a family will be six in one house and such a one eight VA FB and such a one ten and such a one more and such a one less, as they are, so that FB altogether it is a great number of people. The great lord has wheat and other corn given them from his granaries, • to each family so much that they may have what to eat for the P FB FB whole year. And he has this done to very great numbers always every year. • When he FB R

hears that some fancily of people honourable and of substance has become poor through some

misfortune, or cannot work through some illness, and have no means of reaping any kind of

grain; he causes to be given to such families as these enough for them to be able to pay their

expenses for the whole year. And the said families go at the usual time to the officials who are

appointed over all the expenditures which are made by the great Kaan, who stay in a palace

set apart for that office, and each shows a note of how much was given them in the past year

for living, and according to that they provide them that year. They provide them also with

their clothes, because the great Kaan has the tenth of all the wool, and silk, and hemp, of

which clothes can be made; and he makes them weave such things as these and make cloth in a

house set apart for this, where they are stored. An.i because all crafts are obliged by bond to

work for him one day a week, the great Kaan has clothes made of these stuffs, which he has

given to the aforesaid families of poor people, according as is required in winter time and in

summer time. He provides also clothing for his armies, and in every city he has woollen cloth

woven, which is paid out of the tithe of that. And it is to be known that the Tartars according

to their first customs, before they knew the idol law, did no alms. But when some poor man

went to them they drove him away with abuse, saying to hirer, Go with the bad year which

God give thee; for if he had loved thee as he loves me he would have done thee some good. But

because the wise men of the idolaters, and specially the aforesaid bacsi, suggested to the great

Kaan that the provision for the poor was a good work _for him, and that their idols would greatly rejoice at it, he thereupon provides like this for the poor, as is said above. And [47e] again I tell you that all those who wish to go to the court for the lord's bread daily FB can have a hot loaf; it is refused to none, but some is given to all those who go, and VA it is sold to none. And you may know that I believe I tell no lie, I believe that •the poor vB P men and women, more than thirty thousand of them go there every day for bread; • P

and there is not a day when there are not distributed and given away twenty thousand bowls R

  • 104.