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0388 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 388 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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    VB rubies are produced in this island, nor are they produced so good in any other part FB VB of the world but there. And there the sapphire also is produced and the topaz in z L z plenty and the amethyst, garnets and also very many other precious and good stones. R Moreover I tell you that the king of this province has, it is said, the most beautiful FB Z and the largest ruby that is to be found in all the world or that ever was seen or that

  •  ought to be seen; and I will describe to you its size, how it is made. Now you may FB know that it is about a large palm long and quite as thick as the arm of a man. v v z And it is the most splendid thing in the world to see. [78a] And it has no flaw in it. R Z And it is red like burning fire. And it is of so great value that it could hardly be bought v VB for money. Moreover I tell you for truth that when he knew•of this most notable R ruby, • Cublai the great Kaan sends his messengers to this king and sends to him v FB saying that he wished to buy this ruby, and that if he would give it him of his FB courtesy he would have the value of a city given him for it, or what he should wish VB Z to have. This king of Sedan. answering him said that he would not give it for anything z vB in the world nor would he part with it, because he says that it belonged to his father VB and to his ancestors for a very long time, and for this reason he cannot have it for VB anything in the world; that it would be to his great shame and dishonour that the ruby which was come to hint through the hands of so many of his forefathers and which by right he should hand down to his sons and descendants for ever,—that he should be so mean as to give it to another; and that he prayed his lord not to wish nor ask of him a thing of so much dishonour and shame and disgrace; nor would it be by his consent, as he considered this jewel a very great honour of his dominion. With this answer and without the ruby the ambassadors returned to their master. And I Marc Pol was one of the ambassadors and saw the said ruby with my eyes; and when that lord was holding it in his closed hand it projected below and above

  •  the fist, the which lord put it to his eyes and to his mouth.' The men of this island are not

  •  men of arms but they are cowardly & mean. But if it happens that they need to

1 This addition of VB is not merely "irritante loquacità" nor wholly imaginary, for it preserves a tradition which 'as certainly current in the thirteenth century. cf. Y. II. pp. 315, 316; and CORDIER Les Merveilles de l'Asie p. 116 (Pl. IXb): In insula de Sylen supradicta est Rex ... baba rubinos duos. quorum vnum tenet ad collum appensum et alium in manu cum quo tergit labia & barbam qui est major in longitudine quam quatuor digiti per transuersum quircum continetur in manu tantum excedit riel apparet ab utraque parte quantum grossitudo vnius digiti. non credo munduni habere vniuersum tales duos lapides nec tanti precii eiusdem speciei.; and HIRTH & ROCKHILL Chau Ju-kua p. 73, (Chu fan chih, 1914, fol. Ioro), "The king holds in his hand a jewel five inches in diameter, which cannot be burnt by fire, and which shines in the night like a torch. The king rubs his face with it daily, and though he were passed ninety he would retain his youthful looks." cf. also PAUTHIER Marco Polo p. 587(5).