Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Gaelic abridgment of the Book of Ser Marco Polo (Author: [Marco Polo])

section 2

Of Cublay Magnus and the revolt of Naim (Bk. 11, c. 2)

¶54] Once upon a time, in the city of Cambalau, Magnus Cam saw envoys approaching him. They salute him. Magnus asked their tidings. ‘We have secret words for thee’, say the envoys. Magnus got up from the throne whereon he was, that they (all) might go on one side. ‘Naim’, say the envoys, ‘a brother of thy father, hath rejected the vassalage of (his) kingdom to thee. And Cadau, a son of his brother, hath made a union (with Naim) against thee. There are also the four kings who are subject to Naim,—Fuci Orcra and Cauli and Barsceel and Suchitengni—and who are marching with all their forces into thy realm. And they say that their right to the realm is better than thine.’

Of the Battle between Cublay and Nairn (Bk. IT, cc. 3, 4)

¶55] That was the beginning of Cublay's reign, after he had routed many countries in numerous battles, wise was he to whom that word was said. A kingly countenance he had, with brilliant eyes. A soldier's bulk and bravery had he. His limbs were proportioned (one) to another. 13 Then he declared that he would never put the royal crown from his head till he had taken vengeance on them (Naim and the rest) for that word. So he sent messengers to his warriors and his kings in the neighbourhood, for he was sure that if he caused his far-off hosts to be


summoned. knowledge thereof would be gotten by Naim, who would then flee from him into woods and strongholds. He (also) sent a guard on the roads for fear of Naim's obtaining news. This was the number of the host that answered Cublay. twelve battalions, with thirty thousand horse men in each battalion, and two footsoldiers with each horseman. If he had summoned his armies that were far off, it would have been impossible to count them. Four elephants were harnessed for the king, with a bartizan of boards upon them. So then he went in the forefront of the battle, with his standard above him. Two and twenty days was he mustering that mighty host.

¶56] To meet Cadau on a very wide plain in Cublay's kingdom, Naim marched, with a huge army, to a lofty mountain on the side thereof. Cadau was not on that plain as he had promised. That night they (Naim and his troops) rested in that stead. They pitch their tents and stretch themselves out on their sides. They had no fear, for they did not suppose that Cublay had tidings of them. Now Cublay marched all that night, for they did not like to move by day for fear of being seen, till the sun's splendour rose upon them on the same road as Naim.

¶57] They saw the beautiful winged standards, and the crimson bossy bucklers, and the radiant hard-rigid helmets on the stalwart soldiers of Cambulu. And they recognised Cublay;'s standard above the helmets. And this it is that wakened the army out of its sleep, the sound of the trumpets and the pipes, and the warriors shouting their battle-cry.

¶58] Cublay sent his wizards to see whether he would have good luck or bad luck in the battle. The warriors began to chill their spears and to whet their blades and spearheads against the flagstones and rocks of the earth. The wizards return with an omen of benefit to him from the battle.

¶59] As to Naim, five hundred thousand was the number of his army. It was excessive (?) for them at that time, for they felt no fear.

¶60] Cadu was then on his way with a hundred thousand warriors, and had not then arrived; and they knew not that Cublay had information of them. Howbeit, not for fear did he march to Naim.


¶61] Those armies took their bright blue greaves of grey iron, and their strong infrangible corslets, and their helmets under their diadems polished, fair to see. They stretch their warlike variegated emblematic banners against the riveted long lances; and every good warrior closed up round his king and his chieftain, and they filled with clamour the hills and the plains on every side. And then the battalions joined with each other, and a bright cloud rose from their golden-coloured handswords, and from their plaited collars of red gold, so that there was a shining lightning in the roof of heaven above the heads of the heroes on either side. There rose, too, a grey cloud, awful, icy, from the other side of the air, between diadem and greaves, between spear and axe. They break from the battalions into the other division like cataracts against rocks, so that a crash of doom in the cliffs and caves was the roaring of the heroes upheaving their efforts of battle, and the noise of their arrows from the bowstrings, and the rush of their darts through the air, and the screams of their horses at being wounded, and the groans of their warriors at tasting death.

¶62] Naim abode in the forefront of the battle along with the pick of his kings and his chieftains, a multitude of brown shining shields all around him. a wood of stiff hard spears surrounding his standard above him, which had the Cross of the Passion graven upon it (for Naim was a Christian).

¶63] When Cublay saw Naim's standard, he sent forward a dense battalion of his kings and warriors, and dispersed the other battalion to the right and left, and made a prisoner of Naim, after inflicting slaughter on his soldiers. Then he routed (the rest of) Naim's hosts, so that the killed could not be reckoned.

Of Naim's death (Bk. II, c. 5)

¶64] There were Christians in both those battalions. The heathens flouted their God and the figure (of the cross) that was on Naim's standard, and had not helped him, so that a great conflict arose among that host, and heathens and Christians went to the decision of battle with each other on account of their (respective) deities. When Cublay saw that he said (to the heathens): ‘Stay, my good people! despise not Jesus, for 'tis no blame to him not to help Naim. For Naim called himself a


Christian and (yet) his deeds were ungodly, for he rebelled against his liege-lord.’

¶65] By that saying the hosts are appeased, and Naim is brought before the king in the midst of the assembly. ‘What is the thing for him?’ say they. ‘Death is his due’, answered Magnus Cam: ‘and it is not my pleasure to spill his blood on the ground, for fear of throwing back the fruits of the earth. Nor is it my pleasure that the sun or the moon should see his death.’ So this was the tragical death that was inflicted upon him: a cage of closely-joined boards was tied together with ropes and bands. Naim was bound and put in the midst of it, and then it was tossed to and fro, so that he kept falling from its sides; and thus he died.

Of Cublay's rewards to his captains (Bk. II, c. 7)

¶66] Thereafter Cublay remained in his realm, without plundering or violence, without going on a campaign. But he sent his kings and his chiefs with his sons into contests, and to the son who would gain a victory he would give advancement in lordship and treasures. He used, moreover, to give a silver tablet with the name Magnus Cam written upon it in golden letters, and a lion and a gerfalcon graven on one side thereof in token of triumph. The circles of the sun and moon were graven on it. Into every one with whom that tablet was seen in the provinces of the Tartars obedience was rendered by all, and whoever would not render it suffered death by the king's law.

Of Magnus Cam's household (Bk. II, c. 8)

¶67] Now Magnus Cam hath four queens, and the consort with whom he first sleeps is the superior, and the son whom she brings forth is the heir after him. These queens, moreover, have four honourable courts, and ten thousand in each court to wait upon them, both maidens and warriors. A hundred other damsels he hath, and wise, elderly ladies with them to send them to wait on Cublay in illness and disease, and to teach them needlework and morality. Should one of this hundred die, in their place there is put a damsel of the Burgoguna (Kungurat), a tribe of Tartar nobles possessing shapely damsels. And none of these damsels sleeps with another husband, but (only) attends upon the king.


Of the City of Cambalu (Bk. IL cc. 11. 12)

¶68] Magnus Cam hath another city, a city named Cambalu. This is the capital city of all the Tartars. Now there was formerly a river throughout it, till Cublay saw in a vision clouds and circles of sun and moon, an omen that evil would befall him thence if the river should continue (flowing) through it. So by craft and skill he removed the city to the other side of the river.

¶69] There were four backs in that city, and six miles in each of them. Three brazen gates in each quarter of it, and an impregnable palace at each of the gates and angles with shining sollars, with regal halls. Therein are put all their weapons and clothing and armour, to be stored till the hour of battle. A thousand warriors every night sentinelling the king at every gate of those twelve gates. No fear at all hath he: it is only to guard the honour of the kingship.

¶70] Neither trade nor traffic takes place in that city; but outside of it there are forts and cities in which they are earned on. Also no dead body is buried in it. In the midst of Tartary it is. Many lands have an equal right (?) thereto. Not easy is it to reckon the wealth of that city, and all that enters it of precious stones and silken garments and every other goodly thing from the many lands afar and anear. That city is never without a thousand wagons drawn by horses and oxen and asses, moving silk towards it.

¶71] Amidst it is an enormous bell, whereof the sound is heard in its four backs. When the bell is struck at nightfall no one dares to go about without having bright lanterns, till the sun is shining on the morrow.

Of the King's Palace (Bk. II. c. 10)

¶72] The king's palace is in the midst of that city. Four backs it hath, a mile long is each of them. An admirable court have the four kings who are over it, with regal halls and with shining sollars of pure marble, and on its ramparts are impregnable towers, wherein are stored their cups and goblets and other treasures.


¶73] The houses of the damsels and of the warriors besides are athwart the fortress, and cultivated herbgardens at their flanks, with shining fountains, with tameless wild beasts of every type in the world, with herbs that heal every disease.

¶74] A host-house in the midst of it, of marble it was erected. Vast its length and its breadth. The splendour of gold upon it outside and externally. Graven upon it, moreover, with variety of every colour, were the images of the battles and conflicts that were fought in those many countries, and the form of every wild beast on earth, so that to gaze upon it was destruction to the sight of one's eyes.

¶75] Glazed windows it hath, with beautiful adorned arches upon them. Chambers and cells at the sides in that wise. Of the Tartar nobles six thousand would be at meat around the king in that barrack, and twice twenty thousand of their warriors and champions used to have their meals in the houses at its sides.

¶76] Four chieftains guarding it, and three thousand warriors with each chieftain. Three nights for each of these chieftains, one after the other, watching over the king; and thus they are wont to spend their space of time. For the royal dignity this was done by him, and not for fear (of any one) whatever.

¶77] Five doors there are, side by side, in the palace the midmost door with beautiful emblematic arches on it, for no one passes in save the king and his army keeping the doors at his side.

¶78] Cublay would sit on his throne, with his back to the north and his face to the south, and his eldest son on his right hand, and his kings and his chieftains one after the other on that side according to their right, and the queen of his choice on his left hand, and the other queens after her, and the wives of the kings and the chieftains fittingly arranged after the kings. The (great) king is (seated) above the hosts beholding them, and so that the crown of each of his people is on a level with his sole.

¶79] Amidst the palace was a golden tun, at whose sides are four golden tuns of smaller size, and wine drawn into them from the former. Queens and barons are serving those banqueters


with a variety of every viand on earth. Then another set of his chieftains go with great tuns and pitchers of red gold. 'Tis an effort of two warriors to carry them. Those pitchers they range on the backs and corners of the banqueting-hall, and out of those great pitchers they fill, athwart the hall, every one's goblet or golden cup, so that he becomes intoxicated and merry. Every tune and melody is played to them, so that the whole court becomes a sound of music. Another set perform tricks and jugglery for them. Now there is no king nor chieftain among them that does not kneel on the floor while Cublay is at his portion.

¶80] For three months they are wont to be in this wise, namely December. January and February. No kings or hosts on earth are like them.

Of the Green Mount (Bk. TI. c. 10)

¶81] There is a lofty hill outside that city, with tall trees around it that never shed their leaves, and herbs in like wise that change not their colour, so that it is a mental glory to every one to behold it. The Green Mount it is called.

Of Cublay's sons (Bk. II, cc. 9, 17)

¶82] Now Cublay had seven and forty sons. Upon that mount there was builded a royal palace for the most distinguished of those sons. Chem-chini (Chimkin) was his name. He was an excellent warrior. The fortress was given him in token of heirship, and he put his writings and his family treasures into that fortress to preserve them. It was his wont, after leaving the city of Cambalu, to proceed to that fortress and tarry there to his mind's desire. Now he had a law binding all the Tartars, for thirty miles on every side of that fortress, to hunt swine and deer and every merciless wild beast besides, and to bring them undestroyed to that fortress. In the skins of those beasts the king used to keep the weapons and dress of bis household and his soldiers.

¶83] Chem-chini died, and he left a son named Temin (Temur). To him Cublay gave the fortress, for the sovranty of the Tartars was taken in succession to the other.


Of Cublays Birthday Feast (Bk. IT, c. 14)

¶84] Now a festival is kept by Cublay on the day of his birth. Thirteen venerable feasts he would give to the Tartars in the year. Twelve thousand of his kings and chieftains would be at that banquet, with a beautiful golden robe around each of them. After that host-house had been arranged by them, they would drop their knees on the ground, and each of them would entreat the god which he worshipped that Cublay might get prosperity in his kingship. On the twenty-eighth day of the month of December (leg. September) the feasting is held. On every one severally the king would bestow enormous gifts of gold and unknown treasures. They would sit down again in their drinking-places. Dukes and earls would come to attend them in the backs and sides of that banqueting-hall. The king would be above them on his throne, looking at the hosts, until, after (hearing) melodies and (seeing) feats in plenty, they went apart to their cells and chambers.

Of the Feast held on New Year's day (Bk. II, c. 15)

¶85] Another feast was held by Cublay on the first day of the year. The first day of February is what they call New Year's day. No one of their kings or chieftains abstains on that day from going into Cublay's presence, each of them wearing a white dress, for thus they deem the year will be lucky for them, from (one) year to another. On that day they liked not to handle or see aught in the world save something shining. The (whole) kingdom of the Tartars, boys and wives, was in that wise. After those nobles had entered the host-house, Cublay ascends the throne above them, with his face towards the solar light in the south and his back to the north, the kings on his right hand, and the queens on his left. A warrior rises in the midst of the company and exclaims: ‘Arise ye, and worship the king as a god!’ All cast their knees and their heads against tile ground. Then they go before the king, and each king and each chieftain gives him a race-horse, so that their gifts amount to five thousand horses, all of them white.

¶86] In the midst of that palace is a venerable altar, upon which is a crimson tablet with the name of the king graven


thereon in letters of gold. There is incense over golden censers which the king's and chieftains are shaking on the backs and sides of the house. Each of those nobles gives a kiss, with exceeding great reverence, to the name of the king. Then each man returns to his drinking-place.

¶87] On that day neither goblet, nor cup, nor drinkinghorn, nor pitcher is produced to serve them, which is not completely white. Wherefore they call it the White Feast, and 'tis white clothing that every one wears on that day.

¶88] Lions are then brought in before the king: they make obeisance to him, just as yon nobles have done.
At that feast they remain a month.

¶89] After that they go a-hunting, and Cublay hath as masters of the hounds, two brothers named Baym (Baian) and Nuncam (Mingan). Each of them is chief over ten thousand hound-masters, and each of these masters hath five thousand hounds. As to the hunting-forest which they take, they stretch out all around it, hand to hand, so that they leave no stag or boar without being started and killed. The king, too, with the nobles of his kings and his chiefs (is) on a lofty hill watching them in that wise. And besides the pack of hounds, he has lions from which no quarry nor other wild beast on earth would escape; for 'tis on them he has reared them. Bristly hair they have upon them, like nails or teeth on their backs.

¶90] Another kind of hunting—for birds and birdflocks—is carried on by Cublay with many kinds of every hawk in the world. For he had eight and forty taloned gerfalcons trained to hunt the animals of the air; and of his household there is a chief with ten thousand men for hunting and keeping his hawks. Five thousand of them he puts on the hills and the plains of the provinces, afar and anear, so that his hawks, when cast at birds, may not go into distant countries. On the foot of each of these hawks is a little golden bell, with the king's name graven thereon, so that every one recognises it, and if it go into faroff countries may bring it back again.

¶91] As to the king, thus he is at that hunting: his chamber, with splendour of gold thereon and waggon-wheels thereunder, borne on elephants, and lions' skins outside it, shielding him from


cold and storm. In that house he carries a flight of his gerfalcons; his kings and his chiefs and his armies in their rows and in pairs outside thereof. When they see the birdflocks in the air, they lift the skins from the chamber, and the king makes a cast of the gerfalcons at them. and he himself remains seated, watching those feats and diversions; so that both he and his kings have their hearts' delight in looking at both sets of birds.

¶92] In Casi Mordin, then, those hunts are held. A passing wide plain it is, and for a twenty days' journey from the sides thereof the Tartars do not venture to kill wild beasts or birds. On that plain habitations are erected by Cublay, for sake of hunting: ten hundred pavilions is their number. A thousand warriors would eat in the king's pavilion. The splendour of gold is upon it. The skins of lions, white and black and red in their spots, are on it to protect it from snow and storm. Tent ropes of silk outside them. The ladies' pavilions, what covers them is all silk. The tents of the kings and the soldiery are arranged in rows and in streets at their sides in the same way as in the city of Cambalu.

¶93] For the month of March they (tarry) thus. (Then) they proceed to the city of Cambalu.


Of the twelve chieftains (Bk. II, c. )

¶94] Twelve chieftains hath Cublay, and 'tis they that control what is said to him and by him. Four and thirty provinces they have to administer on every side of that city, and by his authority the inhabitants are set free or enslaved by those chieftains.

Of the Money made of Bark (Bk. II, c. 24)

¶95] Three forests grow about that city, and 'tis of their skins that the king makes money for the trade and traffic of the province. And not for want of gold or wealth is that done by him: for he hath more gold and wealth than (all) the kings in the world.

¶96] When a regulation or law has to be promulgated, those twelve chieftains bring it to him, and he gives them writings to be sent throughout the country in order to publish those regulations. Messengers are sped with those writings, (mounted) on swift horses. For the king has more than five thousand horses stationed at the cities afar and anear, prepared


for the messengers, and they do not loose the horse from its course till it is exhausted. They leave that horse, and get another in the city ahead, and gallop upon it with speed and haste. Such is their speed that the riders are tied to their gilded saddles for fear that they would not stick to them. So that from morning to evening Magnus Cam's messengers travel to ten thousand cities with the news of his laws and his regulations.

Of the river Fuli saingium (Bk. II, c. 35)

¶97] Once when Marco Junior was in the presence of Magnus Cam, he said: ‘O Marco, go with my stewards athwart the provinces, and bring information of every part in which they will be.’ So he proceeds on their way till they met a very large river on the road, with a bridge of marble over it, three hundred cubits in length, ten cubits in width, with thirty pillars supporting it, and a variety of every ornament upon them. Arches bowed and covered (extend) from (each) one of these pillars to another.
Images of lions and of every merciless beast on its two sides. Twelve thousand lions carven in marble upon it. Fuli saingium 15 is the name of that river.

¶98] Thereafter they proceed to Caycai: a noble city it is, which was built by king Darius for Prester John, the king of India, when he was cast into slavery by Darius. Prester John one day complained to his troops of the captivity in which he was held by Darius. There were then seven of his household listening to him. ‘If a guerdon were given to us’, say they, ‘we would bring that Darius unto thee in captivity.’ He promised that. They proceed to the place where Darius was dwelling, and they continue in his household for a year. One day Darius went to hunt, and those warriors overtook him when he had but few of his servants along with him. They carry him off to Prester John as they had promised. He remained a year in captivity, when Prester John allowed him to return home, declaring that each should be at peace and friendly with the other; and they abode thus as long as they were alive.

Of the City of Fundifa (Bk. II, c. 44)

¶99] Then they (Marco and the stewards) go to the city of Fundifa (Sindafu) which is twenty miles in compass. After the


death of the king who ruled it, his three sons divided the city among them into three. They draw through it plastered walls, marking out their divisions. Magnus Cam put them under his dominion.

¶100] Through the midst of it runs the river Quianfa (Kiansuy), whose length is eighty days' journey. There is a bridge at that city: of marble it is, both arches and supports: five hundred cubits in length, ten cubits in breadth. Over it is a roofing of noble timbers with chambers and cells under them. wherein folk trade and traffic.

Concerning Thibet (Bk. 11, c. 45)

¶101] The province of Thibet, there is a long desert country in the midst thereof. 'Tis a journey of twenty days in length. Proper provisions men take with them, on oxen and asses, to traverse it. The wood upon that road is bulrushes, fifteen cubits is the length of each reed, and three palms in breadth, when travellers halt at nightfall on the road they kindle fires of the withered wood of those reeds. The venomous wild beasts, on seeing the fires, run swiftly to destroy them (the travellers). But this is the help that the fire-lighters get, a noise breaks out of the withered wood so that the wild beasts flee from that loud report, without doing them scathe.

¶102] After leaving that wilderness they find a province with seven kings under one chief (?). Though they have many husbands, no husband sleeps with a maiden, and their maidens are deflowered thus: when any party of outlanders proceeds on its way for trade or warfare the girls' mothers and (other) kinsfolk come along with them to the place where the travellers are halting, and make the young women over to them. The girls sleep with those companions so long as they remain in those countrysides, but do not go with them any further. On the breast of each of these young women is a silver tablet, with the name of every one with whom she sleeps graven upon it; for in that country the more men girls sleep with the more easily do they get husbands. For folk think that the strangers have chosen them for their charms.

¶103] Coral is their money for trade and traffic. They make a shapely carving (?) on it. They have abundance of wild


boars and deer, and plenty of hounds for hunting. Each of these hounds is as big as an ass. And of the skins of their wild beasts they make admirable garments, with buckram on the outside.

Of the Province of Cariaiam (Bk. II, c. 48)

¶104] On its flank is the province of Cariaiam (Carajan), and it includes seven kingdoms. A son of Cublay's named Cusentemus reigns over it. No vine raises its head through the soil throughout it, so that they make their intoxicating feasts with wine of rice and herbs.

¶105] There is a lake in that same province, a hundred miles in compass: it hath abundance of pearls and precious stones. If Cublay would allow them to be collected, such is their abundance that they would have no value. In the cliffs and edges of that lake is uncountable gold, whereof they make masses and ingots of gold, and these they do not divide into smaller portions, but sell them by weight.

¶106] In that realm no one finds fault it his wife sleep with another man. And when guests or outlanders come to their house or fort, if they love him they will kill him, for they suppose that his soul will not pass over the door of the fort, but stay along with them. And Magnus Cam prohibited that custom.

¶107] As to the province of Cariaiam, again, a son of Magnus Cam's named Iaci is king over it. There are plenty of huge snakes throughout it. Ten cubits is the length of each, and ten feet its length. It swallows a man whole, or a lion or any other untame beast. By day they stay in tunnels of earth, and every night they go throughout the country devouring its herds and its cattle. And thus the men of the country destroy those snakes. They go before the tunnel of earth behind the snakes, and set in it iron stakes. When the serpents turn back to that tunnel the stakes meet them, and penetrate their bodies, and leave them lifeless. The men cook it (the snake) and broil it. Its gall cureth every poison on earth. They give its flesh to the kings and nobles of the country, and get endless honour therefor. Moreover it helpeth women hard in labour.

¶108] In that kingdom no flesh is boiled; but they eat it raw with salt.


Of the Province of Aroandum (Bk. II, c. 50)

¶109] Now the province of Aroandum (Zar-dandan) belongs to the realm of Magnus Cam. Throughout it, when a damsel has been delivered of a child, the husband lies down for the space of forty days and nights. His friends and kinsfolk come to visit him. and the damsel is waiting upon them.

¶110] Each man's ancestor is the god which he worships. They have neither leech nor physician. When illness or disease attacks any one of them they enquire of their wizards whether there is any help for him. The wizards go to summon their devilish deities to meet them, in order to obtain an omen of that disease. When he is like to die, they say there is no help for him. But if there is help for him, they tell him that the anger of the gods is against him, and they say that he must make offerings to them. Then they (the wizards) bring a vessel of the sick man's blood, and rams that have black heads, and they fling the blood high into the air along with the best of the offering. The gods come to converse with them. They offer them the sick man here and there.

Of the War between Miena and Aroandum (Bk. II, c. 51)

¶111] There is another country on the frontier of that country. Its name is Miena, and it had no king. A quarrel grew up between that country and the province of Aroandum. Magnus Cam despatched a chieftain of his household with a vast army to support the province, for Miena was not obedient to him. Niscardin was the chieftain's name. His army numbered twelve thousand horsemen besides infantry. When Bagul, the king of Miena, was told that the Tartar army was marching towards him, he sent messengers to bring his kings and chieftains and soldiers to him, for he feared that the Tartars would invade his country. This was the complement that answered him: sixty thousand warriors, two thousand elephants with bartizans of boards upon them, wherein were warriors for fighting above the hosts. That army marched to Vocia (Vochan), the capital city of Miena, and they pitch their camp beside it.

¶112] Now Niscardin, when he was told of the size of the army that was marching to meet him, drew up his troops on the


edge of an impregnable wood beside the city, (for) they liked not that that huge host should attack them on the rear. He summoned his chieftains and champions. ‘Fear not yon vast armies’, saith he, ‘for your fighting-men are manlier than theirs, and ye have been reared to deeds of valour.’

¶113] On either side the hosts break forth against each other, like billows against a beach. Howbeit, the Tartars, on seeing the elephants, could not get their horses to charge them. For owing to their dread of the elephants the horses turned back to the wood aforesaid, neither rider nor bridle having control over them. Bagul with his forces followed them up. The Tartars halt at the wood, tie their horses to the trees, and face Bagul and his forces.

¶114] Bravely was that battle fought by them on this side hither and thither, so that ‘sole was struck against neck and neck against sole.’ The Tartars wound the elephants with their arrows, for there was not on earth an army that was better than they at archery. The elephants become mad and furious, and escaping from the control of the warriors upon them, rush through the forest; and the war-castles, with the armed men therein, are overthrown by the oaks and trees of the wood: so that in this wise Miena's hosts were destroyed.

¶115] The Tartars, however, could not stop the elephants until they had set their prisoners free as the price of taming the beasts. The prisoners (then) catch two hundred elephants for the Tartars. Niscardin takes them to Magnus Cam. For till then riding on elephants had not been known to his armies.

Of the great descent towards the kingdom of Miena (Bk. II, c. 53)

¶116] In that province is a great plain a two days' journey in length and in breadth. 'Tis a desert with peaks and very lofty mountains around it. They are as high as the roof of heaven. 'Tis on their summits the people of the province dwell. They have gold in abundance. On certain days they descend into that plain to barter their gold for every thing they need. On those days many countries come, from far and near, to meet them on the plain and to buy the gold, when the people of


the province depart, they allow no one on earth (to accompany them so as) to see their abodes; wherefore no one knows anything about their manners or their customs. Such is the elevation of the place in which they reside that their stoutest folk are two days and nights coming from above to yonder plain.

Of the two Towers (Bk. II, c. 54)

¶117] On its frontier is the province of Cangigu. This was subject to an excellent king, who deemed it dishonourable that Magnus Cam should reign over him. So Magnus Cam despatched an army to seize him by dint of battle. Sickness attacked the king of Cangigu, so that his last day arrived. He gave orders that he should be honourably buried and that a tower, ten cubits high, should be erected on each side of his tomb. On one of the towers is a dome, with a plating of gold two inches in thickness, and there are golden bells over it so that the wind makes them tinkle. There are silver bells on the other tower.

¶118] Now the Tartars set to burning and raiding the country till they came to Cangigu's tomb, when they saw the gold and the uncountable treasures on the towers, they send messengers to Magnus Cam for instructions as to what they should do with them; for they would fain divide the treasures among themselves. ‘Nay’, quoth Magnus Cam. ‘when any king's honour abides on his tomb, I do not wish that it should be abated.’ So at the word of Magnus Cam, the armies leave the tomb intact, and accordingly, in the countries of the Tartars, the honour of a tomb is not abated, whether it be a friend's or a foe's.

Of the Province of Cangigu (Bk. II, c. 56)

¶119] Afterwards, then, that king (i.e. the king of Cangigu for the time being) submits to Cublay. Three hundred queens hath the king that rules. Much gold they have. No vine grows through ground therein. They eat flesh and rice. They make an admirable balsam of lions and dragons and wild animals. They put variety of every colours upon it (a tattooing needle?). They make its marks upon them, men, boys, women, so that they never get rid of them, and there is variety of every colour upon their limbs, and the forms of the wild animals are pricked upon


them; and the more this (ornament) is on any person, the more he is honoured by his countrymen.

¶120] When any one dies in that kingdom16 they make ashes of his body, and put them in a covered chest on the peaks of mountains or in the breasts of cliffs, so that neither human beings nor birds ever see him.

Of the Province of Singuy (Bk. II, c. 59)

¶121] The province of Singuy then. They (the inhabitants) manufacture excellent garments of the barks and skins of their trees. There are many lions throughout it, so that no one can travel over it alone. It is on the edge of the sea. The fear of the lions forbids a vessel or barque to remain a night at the bank of the harbour, or to fasten an anchor to the shore. Neither troop nor band of them (the inhabitants) sleeps on the roads. In that country hounds keep off the lion, wherefore no warrior moves on foot or on horseback without having two hounds and a quiver from which the arrows are poured on the lion while the dogs are fighting him: so thus it is that the Warriors of the country destroy them.

Of the River Coramora (Bk. II, c. 64)

¶122] The Province of Cayguy. The river Coramora is flowing (?) throughout it: 'tis in India it rises at first. Vast its length, ten hundred cubits in breadth. At anchor rides the king's fleet wherein he proceeds to sea. Fifteen thousand vessels is its number: twenty fighting men in each, to tend them: fifteen horses in each vessel, and all provided by Magnus Cam with food and drink and clothing or equipments. For he likes not to be unready with an army and a fleet to proceed to the sea-islands and capture them by dint of battle.

Of the Province of Mangna (Bk. II, c. 65)

¶123] There is another province on its frontier, with a king over it. He also is independent of Magnus. This is the province of Mangna (Monzi). Stactur is the name of its sovran lord. In all the world there is no king better than he, save Cublay. For he had no fear of king on earth, because of the multitude of his warriors and the strength of his fortresses and his cities: for each of these fortresses was surrounded by a moat full of water, an arrow-flight in breadth.


¶124] He was compassionate to every one, and throughout his realm no one ventured on robbery or outrage. No house of theirs was ever closed, though it were full of treasures and jewels. He used to send messengers throughout his realm to repair it for the people, to bring to his fortress any poor person among them, to fetch him every fatherless or motherless infant to be tended, and, when they grew up, to endow and wed the boys and girls to each other. So that there were more than ten thousand of them continually being fed and clothed by Stactur.

¶125] He had a capital city called Quinglay. It was the strongest city in the world. Prophets once foretold of it that it would never be overcome by the world's men till the arrival of someone who bore the name ‘Hundred eyes’ before he should come to destroy it. So his mind rejected (the notion that) any king on earth would prevail over it, for he was sure that there never had been, and never would be, born any one with a hundred eyes.

¶126] Stactur, however, made the many lands, afar and anear, afraid of encountering him, so neither battle nor combat was offered to him, and fear of him prevented his law from being perverted, for he did no wrong to anyone on earth. So they abode in that prosperity, and neither king nor chief took thought of anything save feasting and feats and melodies, till their valour melted away, and not a warrior or soldier had a weapon or a battle-dress.

¶127] Now Magnus Cam was grieved at heart that any king on his frontier should be independent of him. So his kings and his chiefs and his champions of battle and bravery were summoned to him, and he said: ‘This is my desire, that you should proceed with innumerable armies to the province of Manguay, to conquer it by dint of battle, for it is dishonourable to me that Stactur should be on my frontier without giving me hostages.’

¶128] One of his household, an excellent leader, was listening to him. and he was Cublay's general in chief. His name was Baiam. This in the tongue of the Tartars is the same as cét súil ‘a hundred eyes’ in the Scotic language. ‘If I obtain the command of armies’, saith Bayam, ‘I will march into Manguay


and bring thee their hostages.’ So Cublay sends an army with Bayam into Manguay. They fell to destroying the country and breaching its fortresses and cities, till they had captured twelve cities of their indestructible strongholds.

¶129] Stactur, then, he himself and his kings and his chiefs were filled with fear of that army; for his champions were (too) aged for battle, and in the pleasantness of peace they had not sent their young men to war. So this is the counsel they believed in, to sail away to the sea-islands which they possessed, for they were not fit for fighting. So the king, leaving a guard over his fortresses, fared forth to those islands with the crews of a thousand vessels.

¶130] The Tartar armies begin the siege of Maunglay, and stretch their tents along its sides, and this was Stactur's royal city. The hosts began to destroy it. When the garrison of the city was told that Baiam was the leader of the destroyers and that his name meant ‘Hundred eyes’, they understood the wizards' former prophecy, and surrendered the city.

Of the capture of Siangfu (Bk. II, c. 70)

¶131] The Tartar host proceed to Siangfu, a strong city of Stactur's, situate by the sea. And it could be attacked only on one little corner, for he had sent from the islands a fleet to succour it. Howbeit those armies suffered a slaughter of fighting-men hither and thither, in storming the city; and for the space of three years during which they were besieging that city, the Tartars failed to overcome it.

¶132] They send messengers to Magnus Cam to tell him that Quinglay was escaping them, Marco and his comrades were along with Magnus Cam. listening to the messengers. To Magnus those tidings were displeasing. The two Marcos and Nicolas ask him for mangonels; and from the wood in front of them they build three mangonels by which huge stones could be hurled, for whilom they had been skilled in destroying cities.

¶133] Magnus Cam sent the messengers back again to Quinglay with the mangonels. On reaching Baiam's army, they cast out of them on the city abundance of stones and huge rocks, so that its battlements and houses were shattered. Fear at those unknown signs seized the folk of the city, so they surrendered it. Then


(the other) cities of Manguay submit to Magnus Cam. But Stactur remained on the sea-islands, without submitting to Magnus Cam; for he deemed it dishonourable to yield to (any) king on earth.

Of the river Quian (Bk. II, c. 71)

¶134] There is a river, named Quian, along the province of Manguay: a hundred days' journey in length, ten miles in width: two hundred cities on its two sides. It has more shipping than (all) the rivers of the world.

Of the City of Sintuy (Bk. II, c. 75)

¶135] In that province is another city, called Sintuy (Suju). 'Tis sixty miles in girth, and in it are seven thousand bridges under which a sailing ship can pass. The folk deem that there is no city in the world that has more fighting men.
Now the city of Singuy (Suju) is the same as the ‘city of the earth.’

Of the City of Quinlay (Bk. II, cc. 76, 77)

¶136] There is another city, five days' journey on that side. Five miles it is in girth. Its name is Quinlay (Kinsay) which in their language is the same as ‘the Heavenly City’: for in the world there is no greater city. Twelve thousand bridges it hath, under which huge ships pass without lowering a sail, and there is a strong tower on each of these bridges, and four of Magnus' soldiers on guard at each bridge, for fear of the city revolting. For it had once been the capital of the kingdom of Manguay.

¶137] In the lake amidst that city they built a royal palace. In the world there is neither its like nor its equal. For it hath twenty host-houses in each of which ten thousand could dine, and in the midst of each banqueting-hall an ever-living fire, and all around it a thousand radiant rooms for sleeping in and waiting, with the splendour of gold upon them, and the form of every wild animal on earth graven upon them with manifold variety of every hue.

¶138] When Magnus Cam conquered that city and the province of Manguay, nine kings of the Tartars were appointed over them; and he distributed among them the twelve thousand cities which were situate in that realm. And none of these cities was without a garrison of Magnus Cam's soldiers, guarding it lest it should revolt against him.


¶139] Amidst that city is a lake, thirty miles in compass. Two islands are on it, and in the midst of each a royal fortress. They do not belong to any one (in especial), and whatever is best of the food and drink and treasures of the city folks put into the centre of the fortresses. And he who desires to hold a feast goes to partake of it therein, and he shall find it. And no one of the city owns any fort or castle throughout it, but each has an equal right thereto. And this is what causes the multitude of those bridges: the city is built on rivers and waters, and save by them (the bridges) there is no passage (from one part) to another.
Forty thousand households: forty times (that number) is the population of that city.

¶140] As soon a child is born therein, his name is written down, as well as the form in which the moon and the stars of heaven are at his birth. And when any of them departs (this life) his name is erased and it is written down again, with the names of his horses and his treasures and his comrades. And both (these documents) are burnt along with his body, and they suppose that all (the persons and things) that have been written down for him will be along with him in the other world.

¶141] There are many venerable churches in that city. But only one of them is for the worship of God.

¶142] Howbeit, if Cublay had no realm save that of the nine kings who were appointed over Stactur's kingdom it would surpass the heritage of the king of the world.

Of the Province of Stucguy (Bk. II, c. 80)

¶143] After leaving Quinglay there is another province on the frontier of Stactur's. This is the province of Stucguy (Fuju). Numerous forts and cities it hath, and excellent fighting-men. They eat the flesh of their warriors and their soldiers, and in battles they drink their blood and choose it in preference to any thirst-quenching draught on earth. But they do not eat (a man's flesh) if he have died of disease.
This is of the province Manguay.

Here endeth the second book.