The employments of the women are, to lead the waggons, to load and unload the horses, to milk the cows, to make butter and gryut, to dress skins, and to sew them together, which they generally do with sinews finely split and twisted into long threads. They likewise make sandals, and socks, and other garments, and felts for covering their houses. They never wash their garments, alleging that it would offend God, and that hanging them up to dry would occasion thunder; and they even beat any person who pretends to wash their garments, and take their clothes from them. They are astonishingly afraid of thunder, during which they turn all strangers from their dwellings, and wrapping themselves in black felt, remain covered up till it is over. They never wash their bowls or dishes; or if they do wash the platters into which the boiled meat is to be put, they do it merely with the scalding broth, which they throw back into the pot.
The men make bows and arrows, saddles, bridles, and stirrups, construct houses and carts, takes care of the horses, and milk the mares, agitate the cosmos or mares milk, make leather sacks, in which these are kept, take care of, and load the camels, tend the cows, sheep, and goats, and these are sometimes milked by the men, sometimes by the women. They dress hides with sheeps milk, thickened and salted. When they mean to wash their head and hands, they fill their mouths with water, which they squirt out gradually on their hands, and moisten their hair or wash their heads.
No man can have a wife unless by purchase; so that many maids are rather old before marriage, as their parents always keep them till they can get a good market. They keep the first and second degrees of consanguinity inviolate, but pay no regard to affinity, as one man may have either at once, or successively two sisters. Widows never marry, as their belief is, that all who have served a man in this life, shall do so in the next; so that widows believe that they shall return after death to their husbands. Hence arises an abominable custom among them, that the son sometimes marries all his father’s wives except his own mother; for the court or household of the father and mother always devolves to the younger son, and he has to provide for all his father’s wives, which fall to his share along with the inheritance; and he considers, that if he takes his father’s wives, it will be no injury or disgrace to him though they went to his father in the next world. When any one has made a bargain with another for his daughter, the father of the maid gives a feast to the bridegroom, and the bride runs away and hides herself in the house of one of her relations. Then the father says to the bridegroom, “My daughter is now yours, take her wherever you can find her.” On which he seeks for her, with the assistance of his friends, till he discovers her concealment, and then leads her as if by violence to his house.