Of the Court of Zagathai, and how the Christians drink no Cosmos.
Next morning, we met the carts of Zagathai, laden with houses, and I thought that a great city was travelling towards us. I was astonished at the prodigious droves of oxen and horses, and the immense flocks of sheep, though I saw very few men to guide them; which made me inquire how many men he had under his command, and I was told he had not above 500 in all, half of whom we had already passed at another station. Then the servant who conducted us, informed me that it was requisite for us to make a present to Zagathai, and desired us to stop while he went forwards, to announce our arrival. It was then past three o’clock, and the Tartars unladed their houses near a certain water. After this, the interpreter of Zagathai came to us, and learning that we had not been before among them, he demanded some of our victuals, which we gave him; he also required to have some garments, as a reward for his trouble in interpreting for us to his master; but we excused ourselves on account of our poverty. He then asked us what we intended to present to his lord, when we shewed him a flaggon of wine, and filled a basket with biscuit, and a platter with apples and other fruits; but he was not satisfied, as we had not bought him some rich stuffs. However, we entered into the presence of Zagathai with fear and bashfulness; he was sitting on a bed, having a small citern or lute in his hand, and his wife sat beside him, who, I really believe, had amputated her nose, between the eyes, that it might be the flatter, for she had no nose in that part of her face, which was smeared over with black ointment, as were also her eyebrows, which seemed very filthy in our eyes. I then repeated to him the exact same words which I had used before, respecting the object of our journey, as we had been admonished by some who had been among them formerly, never to vary in our words. I requested that he would deign to accept our small gift; for, being monks, it was contrary to the rules of our order to possess gold or silver or rich garments; on which account, we had no such things to offer, and hoped he would accept some portion of our victuals as a blessing. He received those things, and immediately distributed them among his men, who were met in his