Dear to this Mahomet was a hermit who dwelt two miles from Mount Sinai in the desert on the great road between Arabia and Chaldea, a day's journey from the land of Judea, where cometh merchandise from Venice and from other countries. This Mahomet used to go so often to visit the hermit and to hear him preachfor this hermit was dear to him,that his men were displeased; and Mahomet's people were fain that the hermit should die, since from him it came to pass that they were often sleepless all night. One day when Mahomet went to visit his comrade the hermit, he remained that night with him in his own house, and the hermit gave him good wine, and Mahomet became drunk and fell asleep. Then Mahomet's people followed him to the hermit's house, and found him, and took his sword out of its sheath and therewith they slew the hermit. Then they put the sword all bloody into its sheath again. When Mahomet rose out of his sleep, he found the hermit dead, and he said that he would hang all his people
p.237because of the hermit's death. But they said that he himself when he was drunk, had slain the hermit, wherefore Mahomet cursed the wine and everyone who should ever drink it. And hence the Saracens never drink wine openly, though they drink it in private; and they have another good beverage made of the roots of the cane whereof men make the sugar.