Of his first Reception by the Tartars.
On the first Saturday after Ash-Wednesday, while we were taking up our quarters for the night, near sunset, a number of armed Tartars came suddenly upon us, in a threatening manner, demanding who we were. Having told them that we were messengers from the Pope, and giving them some victuals, they immediately went away. When we proceeded on our journey next morning, the chiefs of this guard met us, and demanded to know the purpose of our journey. We answered “That we were messengers from our Lord the Pope, the father and lord of the Christians, going to their emperor and princes, and the whole Tartar nation, to desire peace and friendship between the Tartars and the Christians: And as the Pope wished the Tartars to become great, and to acquire the favour of God, he admonished them by us, and by his letters, to embrace the faith of Christ, without which they could not be saved: That the Pope was astonished to hear of their monstrous slaughter of mankind, more especially of the Hungarians, Mountaineers, and Polanders, who were his subjects, and who had neither injured, or attempted to injure the Tartars; and as God is sore offended by such proceedings, the Pope admonished them to refrain in future, and to repent of what they had done, and requested an answer as to their future intentions.” On which they promised us horses and a guide to Corrensa, but for which favour they demanded presents. Some of them rode swiftly on before, to inform Corrensa of our message, and we followed. This Corrensa is general or duke of all the Tartars who are placed as a guard against the people of the West, lest some enemy might suddenly invade them; and is said to have 60,000 men under his command.
His Reception at the Court of Corrensa.
On our arrival at the residence of Corrensa, our tent was ordered to be pitched at a considerable distance, and his agents came to demand what gifts we would offer in paying our obeisance to him. We answered that our lord the Pope had sent no gifts, as he was uncertain if we should ever arrive at their country, considering the dangerous places we had to pass through; but that we should honour him with part of those things which had been given us to defray the charges of our journey. Having received our gifts, we were conducted to the orda or tent of the duke Corrensa, and instructed to bow our left knee thrice before his door, taking great care not to set our feet on the threshold; and when entered, we were to repeat on our knees the words which we had said before. This done, we presented the letters of the Pope; but the interpreter whom we had hired at Kiow, was not able to explain them sufficiently, nor could any one be found equal to the task.